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Nepal Trek

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Apr 3rd, 2012, 01:36 PM
  #1
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Nepal Trek

I do not see much activity regarding trekking on this forum but wanted to briefly describe a trip my husband and I just completed . Fodors has always been helpful in the past but we did not post questions about Nepal for this trip. We traveled this time with help of Himalayan High Treks out of San Francisco and Three Jewels Adventures out of Kathmandu because we have never traveled to Nepal before and felt we should tap the expertise of people who would give good advice about logistics, staying healthy, avoiding altitude sickness, and gastrointestinal problems.

We traveled from March 13-31 which was a perfect time to avoid the crowds that develop in late March-April. We were booked into Shakti Hotel for the beginning and end of the stay.

Our trek began in Lukla, up to Gokyo Ri to see the glaciers and Cho-yu, back down to Phortse and up to Lobuche and Gorak Shep to see Everest and it's surrounding peaks.

This was a fairly demanding trek. Our guide was careful to be sure we did acclimatized as we proceeded. We remained healthy the entire two weeks which speaks to careful attention to hygiene for example drinking only treated water, drinking plenty of water, using a hand sanitizer diligently before, after and even during meals.

It is surprising that more discussion does not take place before travel about AMS (altitude mountain sickness) in the Himalayas, which can be life-threatening. A guide/travel vendor should highlight this issue (as did ours) foremost when discussing itineraries and schedules. One should not climb (ascend) more than 1000 feet in a day; ideally one should have a layover day every three days; taking a medication called diamox is highly recommended for all except those who are allergic to it.

We saw a part of Nepal that is populated mostly by the Sherpa ethnic communities. This was as much a trekking trip as a cultural view into a way of life appreciated only by traveling on foot.

We felt fortunate to have gotten a glimpse of a culture that is surely changing. With a commitment to get into appropriate condition this is a trip that can be completed by those who long for a journey of a lifetime.
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 02:01 PM
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Okoshi - we are considering this trip for next year having just completed the Inca Trail in January. I have read probably 100 trip reports on the subject. The one thing that would keep my wife from going is being cold a good portion of the time ... something that many trip reports mention. How did you find the temperatures?
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 03:52 PM
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I have not been to the Inca trails so cannot compare the two treks. The altitude is the major difference I believe. You can reach 18000 feet (5550 m)on the EBC trail.

We arrived on March 15 to Lukla (2840 m) and it hailed that evening. During the rest of the ascent the weather was impeccable- clear and sunny. We shed our heavy jackets everyday by 1000AM and hiked in long sleeves.

It does get chilly once the sun sets and we slept in our down sleeping bags every night (rated to 0F).

We began our trek a bit early in the season which seems most popular beginning the end of March. We did note the trails were becoming congested near places like Namche on our return leg.

I would say it was worth the cool nights of early season just to avoid the crowds.

Hope you decide to take the trek !
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Apr 10th, 2012, 08:31 PM
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I've done both Everest (as well as Makalu and Kangchenjunga) and Inca Trail treks, though a number of years ago.

Most of my Nepal treks were post-monsoon, October-November, which is colder but slightly more stable weather than pre-monsoon March-May. The Inca trail was in late May, slightly before peak season. However I did a trek in Langtang region of Nepal in March, where highest elevation was about 4000m.

There is no question that higher altitudes in the Himalaya will be colder at night than the Inca Trail. BUT, and this is a big but, you can stay in teahouse lodges instead of tents. That will help keep you warm(er) when you need it. During the day temperatures will be pleasant enough if there is not much wind.

With decent gear the cold shouldn't scare you off. Good luck!

Thanks for the report okoshi2002.
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Apr 10th, 2012, 10:09 PM
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I, for one, am happy to see any reports and information here on Nepalese trekking. There's a common misconception that trekking is for backpackers only and belongs strictly on forums like Lonely Planet's.

I disagree. I'm not a backpacker (I think I disqualified for that designation about 15 years ago) and trekking in Nepal is high on our list of things to do. So I love any info I can find here about it from adults who have done this.

Did you fly into Lukla? I often wonder if my better half could take the flight there. I figure if you survive that, the trek is a cakewalk!

Thanks for your report. I hope we get more of these in the future!
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Apr 11th, 2012, 03:03 AM
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Thanks for your posts Okoshi2002 and Nelson. We had great weather on the Inca Trail this past January. That was a surprise given all we had heard about rainy season. Now my wife finds a trip report a day where someone reports freezing on the base camp trek. I am thinking of posting fake trip reports where the people report too much sun, 70 degrees and wine and cheese served on the side of the trail.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 07:38 AM
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Actually, you are not that far from the truth with the 70 degrees and wine and cheese. This is especially the case on the Everest tea house circuit, where one is amazed at the quality of food the sometimes comes out of a Sherpa kitchen.

I'll share one photo from one of my treks. People are not bundled up or freezing. It's pleasant temperatures and this is at 5,000 meters.

filmwill, I still backpack at age 62 and you might be surprised to see the age demographic on backpack trips these days. Lots of older dudes like me!
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Apr 11th, 2012, 07:39 AM
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Oh, here's the photo:
http://www.pbase.com/mangoman/image/111075910/original
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Apr 11th, 2012, 10:03 AM
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Nelson that is the most beautiful photo. I would blow that up to cover a wall if it were mine.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 08:22 PM
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I am with filmwill, how did you find the flight into Lukla? I recently watched a documentary and it stated that it was the worlds number one most dangerous runway. Thats the only thing that scares me about the entire trip. Funny thing is that I am a flight attendant and spend my days flying around the country! Weird or what?!
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Apr 11th, 2012, 08:29 PM
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Not weird, LMF. I think I'd need some serious Xanax with a vodka chaser to get through that landing and take off. Something about seeing the wreckage of other planes that didn't make it alongside the runway isn't too reassuring either.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 09:42 PM
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Thanks for the kind words on my photo, colduphere. It's an easy place to get good photos, like if you drop your camera and the shutter goes off it's probably a decent shot! Of course I did see the nice line of follow-trekkers and scrambled to get a good angle as they passed by.

Flown into Lukla a few times, once with a guy who was a world class mountaineer, hard routes on big mountains all over the world. He was white-knuckled on that flight.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 08:38 AM
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The flight to Lukla takes about 30 minutes from KTM. They are very efficient(Tara Airlines, among others) and will get you in and out quickly , and because the scenery is so amazing you forget about the logistics of the flight. They will only fly generally in the morning because the clouds roll in by mid day and visibility is reduced. They will not fly if weather is questionable.

I wouldn't let fear of this flight keep you from going.It's not much worse than flying into places like Aspen Airport.
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Dec 10th, 2015, 06:12 AM
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Okoshi - I am going trekking to Nepal. How was your experience with Three Jewels Adventures? Would you recommend them?
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Jan 1st, 2016, 05:49 PM
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Peterl552

I'm sorry I have not been check this forum regularly and just saw your question.
Three Jewels (if still run by Amber Tamang ) was a good vendor. I see he continues to also work with Himalayan High Trek based out of Berkley as mentioned in my original post.
Good luck !
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Feb 23rd, 2016, 12:30 AM
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Good information regardin trekking! Your trip sounded great! Do you have any pictures or videos from your trekking adventures?

Mike
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