Advice on Trekking in Nepal?

I might go to Nepal next year , most likely to trek near Mt. Everest. Can anyone give me advice? I will go with a trekking company , not on my own.

I know the 2 main times to go are spring and fall. I have heard Spring (May) is warmer but has the chance of rain while Fall (October) is very clear but the nights can be very cold. I have a lot of experience camping and hiking so I am used to roughing it outdoors.

Most trekking in Nepal only has a passing resemblance to roughing it, especially on guided treks. It’s pretty easy to go on your own and personally that’s what I’d recommend. In the trekking regions (Everest and Annapurna) it’s trivially easy to handle everything on your own. Each town has guest houses and it’s simple to find a place to stay and food to eat. Certainly it’s easier with a guided tour, but you really don’t interact with any locals that way.

I carried all my own stuff, without a porter, so I packed fairly light. Just sleeping bag and pad, hiking clothes, non-hiking clothes, hat/gloves, headlamp, F/A kit, iodine (don’t bother with bottled water if you can avoid it) and not much else. We did the Annapurna Circuit in Oct/Nov and it was chilly up high, but nothing too bad.

I have a back that causes me trouble so I can’t carry much more than a light day pack. I know going on my own is cheaper but I don’t mind paying extra to have someone carry my stuff and handle the logistics.

I went trekking in the Annapurna region in March. The weather was brilliant, the sky clear and beautiful, but cold.

We arranged the whole thing through a hotel in Kathmandu, including rafting on the Trisuli river, an elephant safari at Chitwan, and the trek, and all travel and accommodation - and knew we got ripped off but didn’t mind - that ripoff only constituted a few dollars - Nepal is cheap cheap cheap.

My party of six had a guide and two sherpas, who were, IMO, redundant, and I was a trifle embarrassed by their presence. But it gave them employment.

I carried my own stuff - 13kg - and we could have made our way on our own with a simple map. The only time I was grateful for the guide was for arranging accommodation, which would have been a pain in the ass doing it ourselves.

Definitely needed a down jacket, and definitely needed a down sleeping bag, and gloves, and a hat. And a flashlight. Don’t bank on washing too much either - just bring a few days’ worth of spare underwear and some warm evening clothes. Firewood is scarce and a hot shower is a serious luxury.

The “tea house” accommodation was often a platform in a barn-like structure. There’s no heating in the villages, nor lighting.

The higher the altitude the more the pizzas tasted of dirt.

Yes, pizzas. If you’re worried about authenticity, believe me, dhal bat is OK once, but you don’t want to eat it every day. The beer was good too!

You’ll feel like a fat overprivileged foreign bastard as you puff up the mountainside and get overtaken on your trek by a little old lady wearing flip-flops, with a keg of Guinness on her head.

But it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

And the sunrise over the Annapurna range from Poon Hill is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.

ETA: if you see a mule train approaching, get the hell out of the way. Those little buggers are stubborn and solid, and will happily push you over the edge of a cliff or squish you against a cliff wall as they pass.

Did either one of you have trouble with altitude sickness? (or did anyone with you have trouble) From what I have heard AMS causes more problems for people who are really in shape than regular people. I plan to get into better shape before I go but I won’t over do it.

I threw up once above 3,000 metres on the way up Poon Hill, but that could have been food poisoning.

That said, I’ve since been to 5,200 metres at Everest Base Camp (Tibet side) and apart from waking up every ten minutes gasping for air, I didn’t get any other symptoms - and I went to 5,600 in the Transhimalaya and didn’t get any problems there either.

IANAD, but from everything I’ve read, I don’t believe AMS and fitness have any bearing on each other. I think you have more chance of avoiding it if you’re trekking, rather than going by vehicle, or by doing a superfit mountain climber’s ascent, because you simply can’t achieve the dramatic ascents that often trigger it.

Remember, though, it’s very serious, and only descent will properly sort you out - though my ex got some symptoms in Lhasa and she got over it with an oxygen cannister and three days’ rest.

BTW I was in really bad shape when I started the trek, but I lost about 15 lbs and got super-fit over the course of just ten days. My legs and feet hurt like crazy over the first two or three days - but pushing on through the pain fixed them up. My stamina increased day by day, until I could do a 700 metre vertical ascent without panting or having to stop at all.

AMS and fitness really don’t have much relationship to each other. It comes down to acclimatization, preparation, and luck. I went over Thorong La (17,800’) without problems; just needed to walk slowly. I saw other with early symptoms but rest, water, and aspirin took care of most of them. Headaches are commonplace and something to look out for, but they are not the same thing as AMS.

jjimm did you do the normal circuit or some side treks? We did the standard loop then I went up into the Sanctuary on my own and my accommodations were a step above yours. No heat, but we never slept on a platform in a barn. We always had rooms and something that resembled a bed except the last night in the Sanctuary.

Did you really have Sherpas or did you hire porters? Sherpas are an ethnic group that handles all the high altitude work. They’re rarely in the Annapurna region. Small point, but one that gets confused a lot.

I trained a lot during the summer before my trip and still lost 25 lbs on the trek. You lose a lot of your appetite at altitude and those things they call pizza really don’t help. I switch to dal bhat after a while and had eggs often. A flat, bread-like substance does not a pizza make. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I misspoke re. sherpas. They were porters from Pokara.

Didn’t do the whole circuit because one of our party collapsed - not from altitude sickness, but from exhaustion brought on by obesity. We had to leave him and retrace our steps to pick him up, at which point the villagers where he’d been staying complained that he’d eaten them out of chickens.

We had saved some chocolate to consume in celebration at the top of Thorong La, but by the time I got to the top I felt like utter crap with what I presume was initial stages of altitude sickness - headache, etc. By the time they set in I was pretty much at the peak, though, and it made far more sense to go down the other side instead of turning around. Didn’t make for much celebration, though.

Here I am attempting to play Hacky Sack at the pass. It was a sad little game, my head was a little fuddled and I would watch the ball fall to the ground, then move my leg. :smack:

Here’s the full trip report if you are interested.