General info and Preparation

General info and Preparation - Trekking is one of the major forms of adventure tours in Nepal which offer amazing opportunities for trekker’s, both in high altitude and foothills. Nepal Himalayas provides the experience of a lifetime: along with forests of rhododendron, isolated hamlets, small mountains villages, birds, animals, temples, monasteries and breathtaking landscapes. You will also encounter friendly people of different cultures offering a fascinating glimpse of traditional rural life.

Nepal has plenty of trekking routes and trekkers can choose their trekking range in levels depending on their time, interest, price range and ability, either in virgin tracks or beaten trails to reach their desired trekking destination. During the trekking, trekker’s can either stay in simple lodges or homes of local people or camp for the night.

The history tells us that in 1965 Colonel Jimmy Roberts introduced the world to trekking. As a former Gurkha officer and military attaché at the British Embassy in Kathmandu he had spent years of his life walking the hills of Nepal. His idea, revolutionary for the time, was to provide tents together with Sherpas, to guide and cook. This made Nepal and the Himalaya available to a wide community and was an immediate success. A lot of developments have happened over the years until it became a best adventure sport in its own right, and it continues to gain popularity at present.

The best or popular treks you may wish to know the single best trek and do it, but the comparison is often not possible as the landscape, the cultural reward and mountain panorama are different and unique on each treks.

The Everest, Annapurna and Langtang are most famous trekking regions of Nepal Being best and popular, a first timer, trekking on these regions will be the most satisfying experience for you. Similarly, Mustang, Manaslu and Dolpo regions are preserved places which are termed by Nepal government as restricted trekking regions where only a limited number of trekkers are are allowed for trekking. The Makalu and Kanchanjunga are respectively 5th and 3rd highest mountains in the world and is another important trekking region of Nepal. Rara Lake is another important and quite scenic trekking region in western Nepal. It is wild, un-spoilt and has heavenly beauty. In central Nepal lies the Ganesh Himal region that offers excellent trekking trails and a rewarding cultural insight. For those who wish to make their trekking adventure in new developed or non touristy area, Nepal offers innumerable new trekking routes such a Bhairav Kunda, Chepang Hill, Churen Himal, Panch Pokhari, Manaslu Tsum valley and many more trekking different parts of Nepal.

Trekking Season: Trekking in Nepal is possible at any season round the year, depending on the area of interest to visit. The most popular seasons for trekking are autumn and spring. Nepal has two main trekking seasons, from February to May and late August to December. February and March are great times to trek as the days are bright and sunny, minimum rain fall but at night time it can get very cold and some higher places still experience snow. It’s a great time to see the villages preparing for the spring cropping season and to see the mountain areas in snow. A t this time the peaks have a lot of snow and make for some stunning scenery.

From March is coming the spring time bringing milder days and nights, though it can still be cold in the mountains. During spring Nepal is at its pretties with wild flowers and rhododendrons in full bloom and the rivers flow crystal clear from the snow melt. It’s also an industrious time for the villages and a great chance to see the traditional way of farming.

In April and may the weather begins to get hotter and the days can be quite hazy, though on the mountain side the evenings remain cool. It’s a great time for trekking as by now all the trails are clear of snow. Occasional rain fall and persistent clouds make the weather a bit humid. March, April and May are also the high season for peak climbing.

June, July to mid August, is the monsoon season in which the Nepal experiences its most heavy rain fall. Trekking at this time is possible in some low altitude areas, if you don’t mind getting wet and in dry areas like upper mustang and the Dolpa. Road travel can be quite difficult in remote areas during this time due to landslides and road closers esp. if you plan on coming into Nepal from Sikkim of Ladhak.

From late August the monsoon begins to dwindle and the sun comes out again. The days are warm and clear. September onwards offers the best and clearest time for viewing the mountains. Its ideal for trekking as the weather is warm and during the days T-shirts and shorts is adequate. In the lower area expect the weather to be quite hot.

In October the weather begins to cool esp. in the evening. Anywhere from the end of October you can expect the snows. Still it’s the best time for trekking because the air is clean and clear and it’s generally sunny and the clear views are mostly guaranteed.

In November and December the trekking is still very good though in the high passes and altitude areas you should be prepared for snow.

December and January are the coldest parts of the year, the mountains down to about 2500 meters get heavy snow and the high passes are mostly closed for trekking, as well as routes like Annapurna base camp and Everest base camp. It is possible in these times to do lower altitude trekking around Kathmandu or Pohkara, Dhading district and Ghorka. In fact it’s a good time of year to do these kinds of treks as the days are dry and sunny without being hot, though the evening are quite cold and normally the views are good.

Trekking Grades: Trekking grades means explanation and description of the route where the trekkers are travelling. In order to enjoy trekking in Nepal it is necessary to know which trek matches most with your physical capabilities. Thus, we have graded all our treks in the following ranks; they are as follows: Easy, Moderate, Fairly strenuous and strenuous.

All our trekking trips are rated from easy to challenging per the elevation and terrain severity

Easy: A trek with an easy grade is suitable for all levels of fitness and age groups. However, good physical condition, a love of walking, and a desire to enjoying the spectacular views of the mountains and encounter village life are essential. We offer a diverse range of easy treks. Categorizing a trek as easy means there are not difficult climbing or ascents to high altitudes is involved. They take usually no more than a week and are suitable for anyone. Be assured that a loss of altitude in no way means a loss of interesting things to see and experience. While our more challenging treks get you closer to a small number of mountain ranges, lower altitude treks often provide better viewpoints from which to enjoy the colorful horizons of a whole series of ranges. The duration of a trek can be from 4 to 9 days with an average of 4 to 5 hours walking per day. The elevation of the trail will be between 800m/2624ft and 2800m/ 9240ft above sea level.

Moderate: These treks are suitable for any walker looking for something a little more challenging and energetic. They are a combination of some longer and shorter walks and hill-walking experience is desirable. The duration is usually from 10 to 15 days. Following the up and down terrain of Nepal and walking to higher elevations contrasts these treks to those in the easy classification. However, you will be rewarded for your efforts with spectacular close-up views of glaciers and of the high Himalayas. Although the terrain is not difficult, some vigorous hiking experience is useful. There may be up to 6 hours a day on the trail and the elevation rises and falls from 800m/ 2624ft to 4000m/13210ft above sea level.

Fairly Strenuous: Since the terrain can be hard and the days long, hikers on these treks should be in good physical condition and have some previous mountain walking experience. Steep climbing may be involved, although it is never necessary to use ropes. Treks at this level can he arranged for periods of 16 to 21 days. Typically, a gradual ascent through a green river valley will lead you up to a number of high passes, where you will reach the altitude of 5416m. Often times, you will get a close insight into the Tibetan culture. Participants should except to trek above 5416m/17872ft.

Strenuous: Since the terrain can be hard and the days long, hikers on these treks should be in good physical condition and have some previous mountain walking experience. Steep climbing may be involved, although it is never necessary to use ropes. Treks at this level can he arranged for periods of 16 to 21 days. Typically, a gradual ascent through a green river valley will lead you up to a number of high passes, where you will reach the altitude of 5416m. Often times, you will get a close insight into the Tibetan culture. Participants should except to trek above 5416m/17872ft.

Types of Trekking and operation details: Trekkers’ have chosen two types of trekking as best trekking approaches in Nepal based on how they are arranged: they are Teahouse/Lodge Trek and Camping Trek. Nepal Adventure Point carries out both types of treks according to the nature of trekking destination, its landscape, and trekkers’ choice. In our various treks and tours we have a fixed rate. The cost of the trek is depends on the quality or level of service and sizes of groups that we offer to our clients.

We offer two types of treks-Lodge/tea house and Full board camping in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India. Both treks are led by our professional guides and other crew licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of Nepal.

Teahouse/Lodge Trekking: A teahouse is a locally run guesthouse. Teahouse treks can be done in popular area such as Annapurna, Everest and Langtang region, where teahouses are more like hotels, with hot water, western food, private rooms spare with twin beds. But in high altitude places, teahouses are more simple ones with just dormitories, clean toilets and dining rooms. Blankets are generally provided. Standards of teahouses may vary depending upon the area. These types of treks service are the most common choice in popular trekking regions of Nepal. In these teahouses, you will meet peoples from different corners of the world and can exchange experiences of your trip, trek, culture, and activities.

Teahouse Trekking Daily Feature: Normally you will be woken at around 6:30 – 7:00AM with a cup up “Good Morning” tea brought to your room. Before breakfast you pack your gear into your kit bag which is then taken by the porters. Having had breakfast we usually on the trail between 7.00AM - 7.30AM. Following a good morning's few hours walking before lunch around 11.00 - 12.00 PM, at any of the tea houses or other lodges along the trail. We have an hour lunch break to allow for the trekker's. After lunch, our assistant guide will go ahead and reserve the lodge en-route for over night stop. The afternoon walk is generally a little shorter and we usually reached by around 3PM to 4PM. When you reached at the lodge, everything will be ready. Until dinner there is time to rest, explore the surrounding area and villages or sit and chat with the crew and local people. The dinner is usually served around 7:00 PM to 7:30PM. In the evening afford some of the best memories of your trek, whether it is talking, playing cards, chatting with the crew or joining in some singing and dancing with your trekking crews or with the local people, its always a special time till around 9PM then the time to sleep.

Meals and Drinks on a Lodge Trekking: Similar to camping trek, in teahouse trek also the meals are prepared to a similar hygiene and may be repeated several times during the trek but are always hot, tasty and filling. With your breakfast, lunch and three-course dinner, tea will also be included. Your leader/guide will help with menu selection and ensure that you get the best standard of meals in best value possible. Although the food is usually plentiful and delicious, you should be aware that the menu is not normally extensive. Most of the teahouses offer a variety of rice and noodle dishes, as well as soup and seasonal vegetables. In general, a variety of cereals, bread and egg dishes are offered for breakfast. Plenty of snacks such as biscuits, chocolate and soft drinks, and locally grown fresh fruits are available in some places. You can bottle mineral water from local teahouse or you can also ask your guide to fill your water bottle with boiled water and treat with water purification pills.

On tea house trek you will be accompanied by a team of local crew whose aim is to make the trek as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. The crew consists of a local leader (Sirdar) and a team of porters to carry all your gear. On average, there will be a ratio of one porter to every two group members. Sirdar speaks reasonable amount of English, good enough to explain you about the places, local culture or any sight that catches your eyes.

Camping Trekking: Camping treks is for those who do not want to be on the main trails and want to experience the joys of camping in backwoods of Nepal. For example, generally in investigative or mountaineering expeditions, camping trek is organized. On camping trek, you will be sleeping and eating on tents. Camping trek team includes a team of leader/guide, cook, Sherpa, kitchen staffs and porters. It will be in the leadership of a leader/guide who speak reasonable amount of English, good enough to explain you about the places, local culture or any sight that draws your attention. The crew consists of several Sherpa assistants who will ensure you don't take the wrong path, a cook and kitchen crew to keep you well fed with delicious and nutritious meals and the porters to transport all the gear from camp to camp. Nepal Adventure Point organizes every camping trek according to your interest taking into account your time limitations.

Camping Trekking Daily Feature: Normally you will be woken at around 6AM with a cup up hot tea and followed by a small bowl of hot water to wash your face brought to your tent. Before breakfast you pack your gear into your kit bag which is then taken by the porters and will not usually be available to you until camp that afternoon. We are usually on the trail between 7.00AM - 7.30AM. Following a good morning's walk around 3-hrs lunches will service en-route each day at a picturesque sport at around 12/01 PM usually an hour lunch break to allow for the trekker's. After lunch, our tents builder Sherpa will go ahead and set up the camp. The afternoon walk is generally a little shorter and camp is usually reached by around 3PM to 4PM. When you reached at the camp, everything will be ready and afternoon tea will be served. Until dinner there is time to rest, explore the surrounding area and villages or sit and chat with the crew and local people. The dinner is usually served around 7:00 PM to 7:30PM. In the evening afford some of the best memories of your trek, whether it is talking, playing cards, chatting with the crew or joining in some singing and dancing with your trekking crews or with the local people, its always a special time till around 9PM then the time to sleep.

Meals and Drinks on a Camping Trekking: We provide plenty of hygienic, tasty and nutritious meals three times a day which could be in form of a variety of local and western dishes. Breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads. After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a plain dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided with all meals. Nepal Adventure Point always encourages using locally produced grains and vegetables to make sure they are fresh enough. Our experienced staffs always make sure to feed you with hygienic and well cooked food of remarkably high standards as they know good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. The vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate/iodine and you are always served with boiled water. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing.

Altitude Sickness: Altitude sickness if a serious consideration if you are trekking or climbing in Nepal and it's essential that you investigate the causes, symptoms and treatment of altitude sickness before you travel to Nepal. There are approximately three deaths per year in Nepal from altitude sickness, but with the right precautions there is no reason why you should become one of these statistics.

Acclimatization's the word used to describe the adjustments your body makes as it ascends. You should adjust your schedule so that you average no more than 400 meters per day of ascent above 3,000 meters. If you fail to allow time for acclimatization, you may develop symptoms of Attitude mountaineering System. The AMS may be mild enough to go away with a day's rest or if ignored may lead to death. All that is required to ensure a safe trekking is basic awareness of AMS, and a willingness to rest or descend if you develop symptoms. As a result of the growing awareness of altitude problems there is only one death from AMS in Nepal out of every 30,000 trekker’s and climbers. Even these deaths would be avoidable if everyone knew how to respond to AMS. There are no reliable figures for casualties among porters.

What is Altitude Sickness?
Altitude sickness occurs when someone has been unable to acclimatize to the point to which they have ascended. As ascent increases, then levels of oxygen decrease. It is asserted that there is half the amount of oxygen above 5000m like Everest Base camp, Annapurna Circuit as there is there is in the sea. During ascents in Nepal an individual will typically find that their breathing increases to account for the decrease in oxygen. This is a positive response by the body and seems to be genetic as individuals who are more prone to altitude sickness typically manifest this response less readily than those who are less prone to altitude sickness. Altitude sickness in Nepal happens when fluid collects in cells around the body as the result of failure to acclimatize. More severe forms of Altitude sickness occur when this fluid buildup subsequently builds up in the lungs and brain - the two most susceptible parts of the body.

What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of Altitude sickness in Nepal are nausea, irritability, headaches, a dry cough and in more severe cases of Altitude sickness the victim may start to cough up a pink frothy substance and lose their balance as though drunk.

What is the prevention?
It is essential that you give your body time to acclimatize as you ascend. If you fly into high altitudes during your trip to Nepal, then you should spend two to three nights at that place enjoying the local attractions and resting. This should give you time to acclimatize. You should take great note of your body at all times and if you feel the slightest of Altitude sickness symptoms then you should remain where you are until these have passed. As you ascend take frequent breaks at each 1000 meters and, again do not continue to ascend if you are feeling the slightest of Altitude sickness symptoms.

What is the treatment?

If you are experiencing Altitude sickness during your trip to Nepal then it is essential that you ascend immediately and do not attempt to climb again until your body has acclimatized.
Severe cases may need to be flown out, so ensure that you have adequate travel insurance during your Nepal trip

Three golden rules to avoid dying from altitude illness: Learn the early symptoms of altitude illness and recognize when you have them. Remember, you may be the only person in a group with symptoms.

Never ascend to sleep at a new altitude with any symptoms of AMS.
Descend if your symptoms are getting worse while resting at the same altitude.

Normal AMS Symptoms: Should expect but not worry. Following are the normal altitude symptoms that you should expect but not worry about. Every trekker will experience some or all of these, no matter how slowly they ascend.

Periods of sleeplessness
Need more sleep than normal (often 10 hours or more)
Occasional loss of appetite
Vivid, wild dreams especially at around 2500-3800 meters in altitude
Periodic breathing
The need to rest/catch your breath frequently while trekking, especially above 3500 meters
Runny nose
Increasing urination while moving to/at higher altitudes (a good sign) Dizziness.

Mild AMS Symptoms – Never go higher: Many trekkers in the high valleys of the Himalaya get mild AMS, admit or acknowledge that you are having symptoms. You need have only one of the following symptoms to be getting altitude sickness.

Mild headache.
Nausea Dizziness
Weakness
Sleeplessness
Dry Raspy cough
Fatigue/Tired
Loss of apatite
Runny nose
Hard to breath

Dangerous cases of AMS: High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) this is a build-up of fluid around the brain. It cases the first five symptoms on the mild and severe lists previously. Coma from HACE can lead to unconsciousness are death within 12 hours from the onset of symptoms, but normally takes 1-2 days to develop. At the first sign of ataxia begin treatment with medication, oxygen and descent. Usually 4 to 8mg of dexamethasone is given as a first does, then 4mg every six hours, Diamox every 12 hours and 2-4 liters /minute oxygen. Descent is necessary but a PAC (portable altitude chamber) bag will often be used first if available. High

Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE): This is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs and is very serious. It is responsible for all the other mild and serious symptoms and it is often accompanied by a mild fever. By far the treatment is oxygen at 4 liters a minute but using PAC (portable altitude chamber) bag treatment is a good substitute. If there is no PAC bag or oxygen then descent will be life saving. HAPE can lead to unconsciousness are death very quick.

Prevention of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
Allow sufficient time for acclimatization (After 3000 meters)
Don’t make rapid Ascent. Don’t go too far too fast
No Alcohol, Sleeping pills and Smoking
Drink more fluid 3-4 Liters a day, clean water-boiled or treated / tea / coffee / soup / juice etc.
Climb high and sleep low
Do not trek/travel alone, take guide/porter
Follow the advice from your guide, hotel, local, guide book
Descent if mild symptoms rapidly getting worse.
Never leave or descent sick person along.
Avoid getting cold.
Take easy and comfortable trekking rout even it is longer.

First Aid Kit: This is the basic list to cover the more common ailments that afflict trekkers. Climbing group, expeditions and trekkers going to isolated areas will need a more comprehensive kit.

Bandage for sprains
Plasters/Band-aids
Lodine or water filter (optional)
Moleskin/Second skin - for blisters
Antiseptic ointment for cuts
Anti-bacterial throat lozenges (with antiseptic)
Aspirin/Paracetamol - general painkiller
Oral rehydration salts Broad-spectrum antibiotic (norfloxacin or ciprofloxin)
Anti-diarrhea medication (antibiotic)
Diarrhea stopper (Imodium - optional)
Antibiotic for Guardia or similar microbe or bacteria
Diamox 250/500mg (for altitude sickness - can be bought in Kathmandu)
Sterile Syringe set (anti-AIDS precaution)
Gel hand cleaner

Other treatment modalities to help during descent: Diamox - Diamox is generally useful for mild to moderate AMS. Dosage: One 250 mg tablet two or three times a day. Dexamethasone - is a very potent steroid used in HACE temporarily to facilitate descent. This drug improves the symptoms but does not help acclimatization. It is not recommended to ascend while still taking this drug even if one is symptom free. Dosage: 4 mg every 6 hours. Nifedipine - is useful in HAPE by lowering pressure in the pulmonary blood vessels and thereby decreasing fluid in the lungs. This drug also lowers blood pressure. Sildenafil (Viagra) is increasingly being used in treating HAPE. Oxygen - is very useful particularly for HAPE.