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Two Catalans become youngest people to cross Himalayas unsupported

Sergi Unanue and Daniel Benedicto complete 1,700-kilometer walk across Nepal unassisted in 99 days

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05 February 2020 11:58 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

Two Catalans have become the youngest people to hike across the Himalayas unsupported, an arduous and risky journey of 1,700 kilometers and with an accumulated difference in elevation of 175,000 meters.

Sergi Unanue, from Banyoles in the northern region of Girona, and Daniel Benedicto, from Barcelona, walked across the famous mountain range in 99 days, arriving in the Tibetan village of Tumkot this week.

For over a year the two 26-year-olds have been travelling the world, but avoiding tourist centers in the search for "freedom" and to become "immersed in nature." They certainly achieved that in their three-month trek across the Himalayan mountains.

Unanue and Benedicto followed the Great Himalaya Trails, a network of difficult and perilous paths within Nepal that covers eight of the world's 8,000-meter high peaks, allowing intrepid walkers to go from the east end to the west end of the country.

In fact, the two men could also be the first Catalans to finish the route, as no one else from Catalonia has been registered as doing so among the hundred or so people who have managed to complete the walk. 

Isolated villages, jungle, desert and glaciers

The two hikers began their journey at the Kanchenjunga base camp, and in the following weeks passed through some of the most isolated settlements in the world, without cars or telephones, as well as braving jungle, desert, lakes, forests and glaciers.

The highest point of their journey was the Tashi Lapsta pass, which is 5,775 meters above sea level, while Unanue and Benedicto also experienced extreme temperatures that went from 30 degrees to -25 degrees.

What's more, the two Catalans completed the trip entirely unsupported and without either ropes or harnesses, which made crossing some dangerous areas, such as glaciers, rock walls and rivers, particularly challenging. 

It is the second time the men have traveled together: "We met in Mongolia, and this is the second adventure we've done together because we thought a trip of this type involves a lot of risks and so it would be safer doing it together," says Unanue.

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  • Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, and other peaks of the Himalayan range are seen through an aircraft window during a mountain flight from Kathmandu, January 15, 2020 (by Reuters/Monika Deupala)

  • Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, and other peaks of the Himalayan range are seen through an aircraft window during a mountain flight from Kathmandu, January 15, 2020 (by Reuters/Monika Deupala)

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