Potential 1st timer in Nepal

Posted by in Treks in Nepal 2014-04-16 04:20:51

Dear everyone,
I have never tried trekking in this "format" before (most was 5 days up Mount Cameroun in West Africa), so am interested in some "reference" points.
Fitness, for something like one of the 14-16 days treks, what (for non-trekkers) fitness level is normal? I'm 32, run 3-4 times per week, active technical diver, yacht sailing and some other things so would think ok, but hope for some comments on this to relate to something I know from the outside world.

Booking, how far in advance do people normally book? I think I'm only looking at Q2 2015 (but could book/confirm in the near future).

"remote", if doing fx. the Goyko trek in April, would you expect to see other groups each day or a few times during the trip?
Everest base camp is getting a lot of publicity for being very crowded so understand that these high profile locations draw a lot of people (And rubbish I hear), but how is it for other locations?

Group size, I will probably be joined by 1 other (maybe), but otherwise, if I sign up with an agency, how large a group should I expect?

Gear, some of the agencies write "jacket, sleeping back etc available on request". Is it common to rent (and comfortable) equipment.

(appreciate that many of these questions are very general, but appreciate any experiences/input

Thank you in advance,

3 replies

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  • Rasmus Juul Olsen
    Hi Mikkel,

    Thanks for the questions raised. Please allow me to address the questions one by one:

    a) Fitness level: It sounds like you are definitely in a good enough shape to do this, especially since you running quite a bit. Trekking is not hard at an instant, but it requires stamina and walking of up to 8-10 hours on some of the harder days. There are also days where you due to altitude will not be walking more than 3-5 hours. This is rather standard for most of the treks in Nepal, perhaps with the exception of the Langtang area since the altitude gain is not much.

    In addition to the number of hours you are walking you furthermore have to consider that you will be carrying a backpack not likely to weigh below 13 kgs. Moreover, while a trekking route may in total give you an altitude gain of 400-600 meters in one day, the trekking routes will often take you up and down, so the total altitude hiked will be more than the total "gained" in one day. All of the above said, I am confident that you will be able to do very fine, even on harder treks in Nepal.

    b) In principle you will be able to book with only 1 month in advance. April and May are, however, rather busy trekking seasons here in Nepal so it is recommended to book earlier as it will ensure:
    1) that you are likely to get a better guide
    2) that flight tickets are ensured (this counts for especially the Everest region where Lukla airport is the entrance point)

    c) Gokyo is a "fairly remote" trekking region, but yes, you will still be meeting trekkers on the trail every day and you will also meet trekkers at guesthouses during the evenings. In some ways, its actually rather nice and pleasant to meet a few other trekkers enroute the trail. Everest might be a bit too much, but even in the everest base camp trek there will still be quite a few times where you are walking entirely alone, without being 'disturbed' by other trekkers on the trail. In some of the very remote trekking regions such as Makalu Base Camp and Kanchenjunga you can easily walk a day without meeting other trekkers. These are, however, camping treks so also slightly more pricy as porters and a private cook will accompany you with the camping equipment, food supplies etc. If you are looking for a trek of "medium" remoteness Gokyo, Manaslu, and even the Everest 3 Passes trek, are very good ones! All 3 of these can be done as a "Guest house" trek (meaning that no camping gear is needed).

    d) when signing up with a trekking agency you will get your "own" guide and not be joined by other trekkers. You can, however, join a group tour with a trekking agency if they have any suitable departure dates for the trekking region that you are seeking.

    e) while I cannot guarantee the equipment for all trekking agencies, a good trekking agency should also provide you with a decent downjacket, dufflebag etc. (if they advertise with it!). Alternatively, you will be able to find very decent downjackets, sleeping bags etc in Thamel, the tourist area of Kathmandu, for cheap money. For sleeping bags in particular I would personally recommend to go to "Shonas" a trekking shop renting out very good and clean sleeping bags for only USD 1 per day in Thamel. They have 5 different types of sleeping bags, pending the time of your you want to trek. That shop is also very good for other trekking gear that you may need. They have fixed, but very fair prices!

    I hope the above was helpful. Feel free to raise any further questions you may have.

  • Mikkel
    Hi Rasmus,
    thanks, much appreciated the comments.

    About the guide, so I should understand it so that the cost (most agencies) they quote in principle is for a "private" tour, even if you are only 1-2 people? They will not normally bundle us up (at least without warning)?

    Clothing, thanks. Why exactly is it that down is the recommended option rather than a goretex shell with wool or fleece underneath? Would expect wind chill to be a factor?

    Guess better start looking at dates for next year ;)
  • Rasmus Juul Olsen
    Hi Mikkel

    No worries, we are here to help you get the best trekking experience in Nepal so thanks for the questions.

    Yes, your understanding of the guide is correct. A trekking agency will provide you with your own guide and will not bundle you up with other trekkers, unless you confirm to them that you are okay with that.

    Good question about the clothing. During winter months in Nepal I'd say a down jacket is a must as it gets very cold "up there" (in Kathmandu it can get down to 2-4 degrees during winter, at an altitude of 1300 m. This means that at an altitude of 5300 meter, which many of the treks will take you up to, you can expect down to -18 to -20 degrees during winter). However, as you correctly point out yourself a good fleece and wind/water proof jacket, such as e.g. a goretex shell will be more than fine during Spring and Fall. In fact, that is the recommended gear during these times of year. Please just make sure that you have a good and warm fleece.

    For a further reference regarding trekking gears, please see the following link:

    Indeed, better get started looking for dates to visit the wonderful Himalayas :)

    All the best,
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