The Adventure in Himalayan Peaks
The Himalayan Peaks of Nepal have the most popular trekking trails for anyone seeking an adventurous vacation. There are monstrous peaks like the Everest going up to 8000 ft high, andthere are comparatively smaller ones which still break many records at 5000-6000 ft, and all have a mixed level of difficulty which means the most inexperienced trekkers as well as the profession mountaineers will find adventure and challenge.
Before you embark on this great adventure however, it is a good idea to plan your trip and know exactly what to expect, so that you are not overwhelmed once your adventure begins.
Planning your Adventure
There is a lot that goes into a mountain trek, especially one as spectacular as the Himalayas have to offer. Starting your planning online is a good idea. Not only do you need to know all about the Himalayas, you need to know all about Nepal and all about trekking peaks, in case you’re an amateur.
It is a good idea to also take a few crash courses, or at least learn a few basics about trekking. It sounds fun and all, but it is hard work even on the easiest of trails, and at the Himalayas, some sort of climbing is usually always involved. Make sure you’re in good shape and have a high level of endurance.
You would also need to know a bit about the technical aspects of trekking. It is not just about getting to a mountain and climbing it. The high altitude and extreme weather conditions atop these mountains can result in altitude sickness and other conditions, which are not to be taken lightly. Another thing to arrange in advance is a trekking permit, which this area requires. There are 18 peaks that are considered suitable for the general public, and getting a permit for these is fairly easy.
Because of these issues, most treks would take anything from 8-20 days at least to complete, depending on the trek in question. To allow for acclimatization, you will need to climb no more than 300 ft per day, so your body slowly gets used to the altitude, instead of receiving the shock of its life with a sudden rise. The duration of your trip to Nepal and all necessary lodgings in Khatmandu will have to be planned accordingly.
When to Go
While all year round is perfect for trekking in Nepal, the best time to go is in the autumn, October and November, due to the clear blue skies and tolerable weather. This is the time that gets most traffic, and it would be smart to plan ahead and book early. However, spring time, which is March to May, can also be a nice time, and you will also get to see some natural beauty in the form of flowers along trekking trails.
Under no circumstances, plan your trip during the monsoon season, June – mid September, as excessive rains that make trekking and climbing impossible and will make for a mucked up trekking experience. Similarly, the winter would be too cold to bear and extra precautions and gear would be needed.
What to Take
On trekking trips it is always a good idea to pack light, as chances are you’re going to have to drag it along. Even if you hire porters, it is just an added hassle having too much to pack and unpack. Only take the barest of necessities along.
That being said, there are a few things that must be in your backpack, such as:
- a warm jacket or down jacket
- water and windproof jacket
- long sleeved synthetic fleece in windproof material
- thermal underwear
- pair of gloves and scarf
- comfortable hiking trousers
- warm wool-blend socks as well as running or liner socks
- proper hiking boots
- running shoes
This along with 2-3 normal comfortable clothing items will help you traverse the harsh weather conditions on these mountains
Apart from this, equipment such as polarizing sunglasses, map of area, head torch, and sleeping bags are also a must. Cameras, toiletries, compass, altimeter, and first-aid kits should also be carried to make your experience a pleasant one.
Who to Go with?
While most people would love to go solo and enjoy the solitude, it is always recommended to go with friends or find trekking partners. These are rough terrains and in case things go wrong, you will be safer in numbers. Plus, it can also be a much more fun trekking experience if you have like-minded people doing it with you.
Another choice to make is whether to go on your own or hire a trekking company. Again, it is always recommended to hire a professional company, as this is much more convenient. They take care of your permits, lodgings, arrange for food, provide preparatory lessons, and are not only NMA certified mountaineers, but are usually locals who are familiar with the trails and surrounding areas, and can make your trek much more comfortable and enjoyable. They also know what to do and who to call in case of emergencies, injuries, or altitude sickness.
The only thing to be careful of is hiring the right company, as there are many half-baked jobs with guides who are less than qualified and prices that are unreasonably high. Be sure to do good research before hiring; some of the best ones are Adventure Discovery Treks, Himalaya Expeditions INC and Green Valley Nepal Treks.
Choosing a Trek
There are just so many different trekking experiences available that it is next to impossible to choose. All these mountains are unique and beautiful, and offer breathtaking views, and amazingly challenging trekking adventures. The most popular is probably the Everest Base Camp, which is of medium difficulty and price, and offers a luxurious and comfortable experience for people looking for an entry level trekking. You will get to see some of the highest peaks of the Himalayas including the Everest, and will have guesthouse lodgings. The Annapurna Circuit is another Medium level guesthouse trek with breathtaking views and exciting terrain.
For a more remote and secluded experience without any crowds of tourists, the Uppar Dolpo and the Lang Tang Trek are great options. These are also easy-medium level treks so great for first-timers, and also give you a chance to experience the local culture through villages and monasteries along the way. They are camping treks, so if you want a real full-out adventure, these a great choices.
Making the Most of your Trek
While the act of trekking itself offers a wealth of adventures, new experiences, and the development of new friendships, you should definitely make the most of your trek and enjoy it to the fullest by making sure to stop and enjoy the view. You are probably at one of the highest points in the world, and the view laid out before is unparalleled. Breathe in the crisp mountain air, enjoy the ice and snow, and feel all your worries lift away.
Also be sure to not be in a hurry to reach the top, and enjoy the various Tibetan and Nepali cultural experiences along the way. Go off-route to visit the local mountain villages and learn about the local way of life. Have conversations with the Sherpa people and learn about the region, and listen to their stories. Visit the monasteries and tap into your spiritual side. Also, enjoy the camping experience of roughing it, sitting beside warm campfires telling stories and singing songs and sleeping in tents and sleeping bags.
Don’t be fooled though, trekking the Himalayas can be extremely difficult. It is a demanding job and you need to be physically fit to be able to enjoy it without just being tired and in pain the whole time. The weather conditions are also harsh, and there are many risks involved. However, with the right attitude to overcome all challenges, you will be able to enjoy the difficult trekking and climbing experience as well, and will be able to have a true adventure in Nepal.