When adventure calls you, you just can’t hang up but, of course, you can delay – which, incidentally, is a natural trait of the humans and which, also incidentally, I suggest the brave hikers eager to stand on the mighty Himalayas to make. You must understand that the enchanting and lovely trails spun by the Himalayas of Nepal are fraught with dangers. So, I urge you to delay your adventurous journey for a few days or until the period when they are ready. If you go there unprepared, you might as well have signed up a death deal with the Satan. Whether you like it or not, the mountains are going to test you, and you have got to be prepared for the challenges if you are to reap the reward.
1. Gearing Yourself Up For Long Himalayan Treks
You must understand that the bigger a mountain, the longer its trail. And, Nepal, despite being a small country (just 0.003% of the world’s total land coverage), has around fifty giant mountain peaks, eight of which have an intimidating altitude of over 8000m (all eight have been honored with listings in the top ten peaks of the world, with Mount Everest at 8848m securing the #1 place… cheers!).
In other words, a standard Himalayan hike will require more than a week. As far as we know, the Poonhill-Ghandruk trail is the shortest one with just 9 trekking days. But, if your desire is to stand on the base of Mount Everest, then that’s a whole 14 days trek for you.
This goes on to say that an average hiker to the Himalayas has to spend several nights in the cold snow, barren of civilization and luxuries of five star hotels (although the modest houses of the local mountain people and the tea houses or lodges scattered along the trail are quite accommodative and highly hospitable). Are you prepared for this?
Our Advice: Choose the shortest Himalayan trek first, and then progress on to the longer ones. And, if you are a busy person who has works to do at home, then make sure that you have enough days of vacation to cover the long, yet splendid, Himalayan hikes.
2. Training Yourself To Hike With Heavy Backpacks
If you have come in terms with the long trekking days of the Himalayan trails, let me trouble you with another challenge – the Himalayan trails have many twists and turns, with numerable uphill ascents and downhill descents, and the thing is you will be taking each step along this strenuous path with a heavy backpack. Add the fact that you will be carrying that load for around 6 or 7 hours per day on the rough trail, and voila, the Himalayan trail is certainly exhausting.
Our Advice: For the next few morning walks, I suggest you jog with a heavy bag on. Start with carrying low weights and then add up the weight as your strength and endurance level increases. And, since the Himalaya trails are not well paved streets, you better do this exercise in rough trails nearby your home.
The ultimate advice is to hire a porter.
3. Packing Your Bag Smartly With Necessary Gears:
We have told you that your backpack would be heavy but we have yet to tell you how heavy it would actually be. The weight of your backpack depends upon your insight on what to carry and what to leave at the hotel. Some of the necessary gears include a pair of warm clothes, a warm sleeping bag, medicine box and everything you may need in your trek.
Our Advice: To the travelers to the city, we suggest them to “travel light”, but to the hikers eager to walk over the Himalayas, we urge them to “travel smart”. The Himalayan trails are going to be long and remote. So, you better stuff your bag with everything from a handy flashlight to a satellite phone. Check our must have gears for a safe trek over the Himalayas.
4. Seasoning Your Body To Tackle Altitude Sickness
Next in our list of challenges is the highly dreaded and untamable disease, renowned among the Himalayan hikers as the Altitude Sickness. Long you have lived on the ground. Hikers, who have never been exposed to high altitudes, will certainly discover unhealthy for their body system. The air will be thin up above and the cold will be severe.
Our Advice: The only cure we know is acclimatization. Climb a local hill, which is around 3000m, and spend a few days trying to adjust to that environment. In case, there are no hills around, you might look for the tallest building in your city and ask the authority if they be kind enough to allow you camp on their rooftop for training purpose (pun intended).
5. Learning Some Survival Skills
Well, as it happens, altitude sickness is not the only danger lurking in the cold snows and on the perilous cliffs of the mountains. Other sinister perils include, but are not limited to, the avalanche (it can bury you alive), windstorms (cold and cruel wind that can push you off your trail to death’s embrace), the frost bite (do not let the snow eat your toes and fingers) and the sunburn (wear a hat and apply sunscreen to save your body from the malicious UV rays of the sun).
Our advice: Seek out a professional hiker, who has been to the Himalayas and came back. He can teach you how to make tents in safe and strategic places (not under a cliff or glacier which can crash upon you anytime). Likewise, you will also learn how to quickly dig a hole to make shelter against an unavoidable storm or weather elements. By the time, your training completes, you will be confident to walk over the Himalayas.
6. Precautions For Not Getting Lost
Imagine you wandered down the wrong path and get lost in the wilderness of the Himalayas with no chance of getting out (say a windstorm blocks your path). Now, if the local beasts do not attack you for trespassing in their private property, then slowly your food supply and drinking water will deplete and you will begin to hear the groans of your stomach and feel your parched and dry throat. If no search parties come to get you, you can consider yourself a citizen of heaven (or is it hell that you prefer?).
To not get lost, a hiker is wise enough to carry a magnetic compass and a map of the place he is navigating but you also need a GPS mobile and should tell someone, friend or the caretaker of the hotel you are staying at, where you are going and when you will be back. This way if you get lost and do not arrive by the time you mentioned, the friend might send a search party to seek you out.
Our Advice: We recommend you hire a guide from a local trekking company like ours. With a guide leading the way, there’s no way you are gonna get lost. And to brag of our own guide, well, he not only knows the way (and shortcuts) around the trails but is also well acquainted on how to deal with the local people (be polite) and the local beasts (run!). Trust him to make your trek safe and exciting.
7. Getting Travel and Health Insurance
The Himalayas, while spectacular and lovely, are nevertheless fraught with great perils. Not even the hikers, who call themselves expert, can be confident of getting back without a scratch. If you are lucky, you may get away with a few scratches (easily fixed with the medicine kit you will carry) but if you broke your limbs, get stuck by rough weather, stumble down from the cliff, then the last thing you will wish is – I should have applied for my travel and health insurance (when you are just wounded and there’s chance of you being saved… these insurance policies will save you lots of money) or I wished I had called my lawyer and created a will, and a obituary too (when you know you are going to die).
8. Managing Your Travel Budget
Money. Ah, the very word makes me want to rob the bank (don’t worry… I will ignore your bank account). Putting aside my fantasies, let’s give a few wise words on the topic about your travel budget. The suggestion is to find out how much a Himalayan trekking package costs (for example, the Everest Base Camp is a “$1600 worth package”), then you haggle with the trekking company over discounts (Guidea Treks can give you 10% off… but understand that large groups attract further discounts), and the next chore would be to separate a small amount for your personal expenses (for shopping and food adventures).
9. Deciding Where to Trek and With Whom To Trek
You are the master of your own will when it comes to deciding the destination and company for your adventurous hike. But, if you want us to butt in and give you an advice, then we wish you would take one of your friends (maybe your beloved… FYI, the Himalayas provide a chance to spend cold nights in warm tents, and the trails are all lovely and magical; just the right environment for love to blossom). Or, you could consult the trekking company and try to squeeze into a group of hikers (the more, the merrier). Or, you could always trek in the company of a cheerful guide.
Now, to tickle the matter of the destination, you could first discover what trekking packages are being offered, compare their price and major highlights, and then take the decision. It’s as simple as that. But, in case, you need help, then all you have to do is tell us about your trekking fantasy, and we will arrange for you the adventure of your lifetime.
10. Constructing Your Travel Plan
When you have all factors into consideration (the trekking destination and the money required as well as the number of days you can allow for the trek), then you can design an itinerary of yours or maybe you could go along with the standard itinerary provided by the trekking company of your choice.
Of course, you could always consult with the staff of the reliable trekking company (did someone whisper “Guidea Treks”?), and then the two of you can figure out an ideal itinerary on the basis of your budget, hiking fantasy and your vacation days. And, remember that constructing a plan is just the half part… the other half is to share it with friends or family just in case you get into trouble.