Trekking in an unknown landscape can be FUN, most of the times, however, the shortsightedness of understanding essential things during the trek can land you in #Disaster.
I personally learned many life-changing lessons while making trips to few popular trek routes in Nepal Himalaya, the recent one being Annapurna Circuit.
Other things remaining the same (trekking shoes, jackets, backpack etc) here are some essentials you must consider rechecking prior to starting a trek in Nepal.
#1 Sleeping Bag
Trekking in Nepal is a popular activity. Almost 60% of international tourists seeking adventure in Nepal unanimously choose trekking over any other options. The favorable time to trek starts during pre-monsoon (March-April) and ends during post-monsoon (September-November), where the latter is considered peak season. At this time traffic in Himalaya tends to be unusually higher.
You can’t be sure, how many trekkers in a day will end up in which of the tea-houses. With limited accommodation and higher number of occupants to cater, the blankets (sometimes bed) can become scarce (imminent during Peak seasons). Therefore, carrying your personal sleeping bag along with other goodies can prove to be a Life saving option.
During my trek in last September, I spent most of my nights in Annapurna inside a sleeping bag. I was offered blanket only once during the entire trek.
Ranging from -10°C to 0°C, Sleeping bags come in variety. Get known to possible temperatures of the region during whole span of trek and choose an appropriate bag.
Altitude sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is very common during high-altitude trekking, and can be fatal most of the times. Failure in measuring proper acclimatization with proper precaution can land you up in big trouble.
With limited commute in Himalaya region (Zero Four-wheeler and limited Porters/Beasts of Burden), transporting you out can prove to be a Herculean task. Flying out is one option, however, the regret may always hunt you for not completing the trek.
Taking Diamox (Acetazolamide) prior to reaching an altitude of 3,000 meters (9,845 feet) can help prevent altitude sickness, seizure and even Glaucoma, or you can try taking one on the first day after landing in Kathmandu itself to ensure your body adapts to the antibiotic.
People from low-lands, such as, England, US Coastal areas and other island nations, are prevalent to suffer from AMS than people from high-lands, such as; Alaska mountains, Italian dolomite and Tibet, who suffer very less to none.
Gasping for air, dizziness and fatigue are few common traits of AMS. Diamox is a standard anti-AMS pill widely used and available in a trek.
Trekking in mountain constitutes of crossing miles of unfamiliar terrains and varying altitudes. Trekkers not familiar with walking in high-altitude can easily become the victim of Fatigue. Days of continuous walking over unfamiliar terrains for 5+ hours a day can take toll on your body.
Preparing for the trek prior to start can help you familiarize walking the long distances. You can try short walking or hiking carrying loads everyday, which will give you enough confidence to tackle high hills and mountains of Nepal. Even working out in Gym, specifically leg and joint exercises and stamina, can help a lot.
I started the first ever trek of my life without prior preparation, therefore, suffering from hamstrings and joint problems after long walks of the day.
#4 Vandalism of Local Culture
Most trekkers are foreign to local cultures, therefore committing an unintentional vandalism on local ethics and monuments is some what imminent. Most part of Himalaya doesn’t allow open defecation, using of imported meals or meat and others. Respecting others’ culture and protecting it from vandalism are important things to consider during the trek.
Making Graffiti on the local landmarks, religious monuments or stonework etc is highly regarded as sacrilegious.
I’s carrying and relishing on Beef-jerky (Red meat) in Annapurna region, until I realized that locales consider bringing meat to their area as an impious and calamitous.
Lack of appetite and diminishing crave for food is common during high-altitude trek. Sustaining on distasteful meal can severely diminish your appetite, causing lost interest in eating and preserving energy for trek.
I tried relying on Dal-Bhaat every night during the trek, until I realized that the distasteful rice and lentils were ruining my appetite and taste for food in general.
Most of the cooks in Himalaya tend to lack professional-Chef like expertise, therefore, preparation of distasteful meal is common. You must carry chocolates and assorted snacks to keep your appetite up and running. While dining in Tea-houses, you should consult with your guide and order meals.
- Annapurna Base Camp Trek: Route, Map and other Essentials
- Langtang Trek -Holy Trail of Northern Nepal
- Everest Base Camp Trek: Route, Map and other Essentials