Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure conducted a day’s first aid training to its trekking guides in collaboration with CIWEC Hospital on 12 Sep 2019. The training which took place at the onset of tourist season was attended by 17 guides. The training was conducted by experienced doctors & nurses of CIWEC Hospital, one of the most reputable travel medicine centers in the world. This training was designed to meet the needs of high altitude guides, trip leaders and outdoor staffs working in remote mountain environment. The training covered a broad range of essential skills required during medical emergencies through theoretical and practical demonstration. The training content included courses on Cut & Wound Care, Burns, Fractures & Dislocations, Spinal Injury, Hypothermia, Altitude illnesses and First Aid Tool Kit. The session also included emergency and risk management skills and confidence needed to make informed medical decisions. After the training, a pre-season “Best Practices for Guides” session was also conducted in Explore Himalaya office in which General Manager Anuj Pandey reviewed about past weaknesses and oriented about the ways of addressing the issues to provide flawless and responsible services in the upcoming season. The session was focused on the principles and practices related to guide behavior, guest handling, guide ethics and sustainable practices to be followed by Guides while on the trail. Manager Kedar Khadka and Operation Manager Bharat Raj Puri also addressed the session. Explore Himalaya, as a travelife certified company, regularly does such training to enhance, excel and empower its team for the utmost care, safety and satisfaction of its travellers. The session was followed by lunch in Marcopolo Restaurant.
The mind is everything. What you think you become. — Buddha
One of the greatest truths Buddha has spoken clearly attests the importance of our mind in our deeds. Our mind’s underworking does impact hugely in whatever we do or what we make of ourselves. The prominence of mind is even more pertinent if we are undertaking an adventure like Everest Base Camp Trek, which can be both apprehensive and overwhelming at the same time. Normally people focus on physical fitness only when they think of such adventure, but it’s equally important, or even more, to be mentally prepared to go out of your comfort zone and push your limits.
It is generally considered that mental fortitude is something one is born with. But mental fitness is just like physical fitness that can be developed and maintained. You can adopt some strategies to rely on when you are not in your element, especially when the trek gets difficult and you start feeling your inner self shaking. Below are a few ideas that will help you before and during Everest Base Camp Trek:
Be clear about your adventure thoroughly. You also need to understand why you are doing this and what it means to you. Though the adventure is same, people have their own purpose of doing it. Knowing about your trip and your objective prepares you for what to expect. You will be in alignment with your convictions. This way, whatever comes next won’t be shockingly surprising to you. Do a bit of soul-searching interview with yourself. Remember you will be counting on yourself, and no one else!
Just now, we have agreed to think but it doesn’t mean you need to think it over and over. Stop over thinking! It’s ok to be excited about your trip but being anxious or obsessive will just rob you off your peace of mind and you will be tired and drained even before you start your trip. Even during the trip at the time of challenging moments like longer trails, high passes or sheer descent, stay focused and seize the moment but don’t carry the burden of challenges in your mind all the time. If you feel the strain is too much, let your mind relax and wander and think about pleasant things you have done – there is no harm in being a little escapist!
Everest Base Camp trekking is a long and challenging adventure, about 10 days’ trekking in the wilderness of the Himalayas. So it’s easy to feel lost or overwhelmed due to the enormity of the adventure. Breaking it into smaller phases will make things achievable. You can divide the trip into sections like pre-trekking, during trekking and post trekking, and even smaller sections while doing trekking. Just concentrate on the section you are doing that day. Like a Zen monk be “here and now”. This way, you won’t be succumbed to the pressure of the adventure.
Though slow and steady has been outdated now, it’s still the way of mountains. So, don’t attempt any quick fix as the trail is long and not easy. Don’t haste, learn the art of patience. As mountain life has its own pace, there is no sense in being carried away by your impulses and emotions. Adventure is not a race – Relax, Enjoy and Take Your Time!
Trekking is of course a kind of “me-time” but the plain fact is it’s not an indulgence or luxury. It could be a bit easier in other parts of the world, but in the Himalayas – adventure does come with price. Terrain is rugged, temperature is extreme, region is remote and life is difficult. So, naturally facilities are basic. Accommodation is in basic teahouses with basic food and amenities. And most of the time choices are limited. For a western traveller, you really need to stretch your comfort zone. So, be prepared to have a different kind of experience.
In the land of mountains, we go by their rules. Respect the mountains and people. Be open minded and shed your judgments. Cultivate child-like curiosity. This way you can let go much of the mental strains that can be caused by new environment. The thumb rule is “Wander and Wonder” – the rest will be fine!
Effective date: August 20, 2019
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Everest Base Camp Trek is love at first sight! Whoever hears about it falls for it. But this beautiful package of adventure comes with some sort of challenges. That’s why whoever thinks of doing this trek asks one mandatory question “How fit do I need to be?”
Though the question connotes some sort of apprehension, the answer is simple “People of moderate fitness level can do it!” Ah such a relief! It is actually true that you don’t need to be super fit or in best shape with athlete physique. The trekking is not technical and you don’t need previous experience in altitudes. But the “moderate level of fitness” does demand some efforts from your side. After all you are covering 120 km (round trip) gaining approximately 300 m each day in one of the most extreme terrains in the world.
So, keeping fit does help a lot. But you don’t need to freak out! Trekking in the Himalayas requires some sort of playful seriousness. You should be concerned but without overshadowing the fun part. In short, with right preparation, right pace and right attitude, the mountains will welcome you wholeheartedly!
Here are some training tips we recommend you for Everest Base Camp Trekking.
Tip 1: Walk Walk Walk
All you will be doing in the trek is hiking. You will be walking for 9-10 days with an average of 5-8 hours (approx. 15 km) per day. Though the distance you cover doesn’t sound very challenging but you will be basically walking uphill on rocky terrain with your each step gaining altitude. So, importance of hiking practice is not an overstatement.
Practising hiking helps you to get used to with the pace. Begin 7-8 weeks prior to the trek with about 2 hours each day and slowly increase the duration up to 5/6 hours. The best thing to do is simulation hiking in wilderness carrying some weight. This way you will know the spot in your body you need to strengthen. Don’t forget to wear the hiking boots you will be using in the trek as new shoes can give blisters. The thought of it alone can give you a nightmare! Try the boots in some steep terrain and try to find trouble spots. Lightweight boots with good ankle support, plenty of toe room for long descents, a stiff sole to lessen twisting torsion are the best.
Tip 2: Cardio Workouts
Any kind of cardio workout is good for Everest Base Camp Trek. It can be simple jogging, swimming, cycling or even treadmill walking. Or you can take help from YouTube where you can get many great ideas. Just make sure that you experience deeper breathing and light sweating during the workouts. You can do it about 30-45 minutes 2 or 3 times a week. It helps your body to work hard and adjust your pace with less oxygen. Though fitness level doesn’t determine how easily you acclimatize, cardio workouts will optimize your endurance chances. It will allow you to enjoy the views and bask in the beauty of the region rather than you bending over and struggling to catch your breath.
Tip 3: Strength Training
Trekking is simply walking, a basic natural activity humans have been doing all the time. However we do it in low oxygen conditions, which makes our breathing a bit harder and we get tired much faster. So, it’s highly beneficial if you increase your endurance and work on the leg muscles. Though the above mentioned tips (hiking and cardio) will help you a lot, the strength workouts will definitely improve your trekking performance. So, you can include squats, pull ups, push ups, weighted step- ups and lunges in your regular strength routine, about 30-45 minutes 2 or 3 times a week. You can schedule cardio and strength alternatively. Don’t overdo it, take your time and schedule it comfortably.
Finally, the most important tip is you should always consult your doctor before taking trekking challenges. It’s really important to know your body. Though it’s your soul that takes the pleasure of the experience, your body is going to bear the whole thrust. However, let me repeat once again, physical fitness doesn’t guarantee acclimatization but your fitness level does make the difference on how you experience your adventure. So, be fit, the rest will be fine!
All the best for your adventure!!!!
Just do it, Nepal has something for everyone – Heinz Egli
Nepal is not a new place for Heinz Egli, a Tourism Goodwill Ambassador for Visit Nepal 2020, a master chef, a role model hotelier and a person of global influence! He has been here not once, not twice or not even thrice but a whopping 7th time. So, Nepal does qualify to be his second home, or at least the place where he feels at home. But this time’s visit was extraordinary. He along with his 6 friends didn’t just hike but also biked around Annapurna beyond the Himalayan frontiers – totally immersing in the beauty of the Himalayas! And the most interesting part of the trip was, not only did they ride the bike, but the bikes also rode them quite often!
You might have gauzed the level of adventure involved in the trip by now. His team included Urs Besmer, Fritz Gross, Marco Foehn, Johhny Mathis, Stefan Herzog and Heinz Fischerall – all of them senior Hoteliers and Restaurateurs with more than 30 years’ experience in Hong Kong and China. As mentioned earlier, they were not here for their day in and day out job, but for the Himalayan adventure that would help them to meet mountains and people, build friendship and of course burn few calories!
The one and half week’s adventure started on 19th April – through snaky highway, continued towards the villages nestled on the lap of the Annapurnas, followed Marshyangdi River from the subtropical lowlands to the Manang basin and then crossed the Thorong La Pass (5416m- the highest point of the trip, which is also Heinz’s one of the favorite parts) before descending down to the deepest gorge in the world, the Kali Gandaki. From the lush greenery to the formidable expanse of land sculpted by the raw forces of nature manifested in its eroded cliffs and moraine valleys, from the snaky highways to impenetrable gorges and high passes – so to cut a long story short, the journey was just enough to turn anyone into a mystic, let alone Heinz and his team!
For Heinz, not a single moment or day was the best, but the whole trip! “Every day a new highlight, starting with the charity dinner at GATE School, coming out of the valley and seeing the majestic peaks, reaching the summit, relaxing in Pokhara and ending hours before going to the airport when receiving the Ambassador certificate!”
If you want to relive what Heinz and his team experienced, you can go through https://1drv.ms/f/s!AkLUjDw1n6gNguN4sWWmaP48fu6mOg for some of the greatest adventure pictures you can ever find. For now, let’s have a peek on the day to day account of their trip prepared by Heinz himself.
Day 1, 17th April 2019: Arrival in Kathmandu
The tour representative picked us up at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, and escorted us to the Hotel Marshyangdi in Kathmandu.
Day 2, 18th April 2019: Kathmandu
On our first day we all went to the GATE Hotel School where we were welcomed by Khem Lakai, the CEO of the school. Each one of us prepared a course for a gala dinner which was served to celebrities and friends from Nepal.
Day 3, 19th April 2019: Kathmandu to Jagat 1,300m
Early in the morning, we drove 170km westwards to the starting point of our trekking and biking in Jagat. Here we were joined by Laxman Sunar, the biking guide. The road was curvy and passed through the hills that connected us to countryside villages and farming lands. The drive moved along and crossed several main rivers flowing from the glacial mountains to the north; including the Trishuli River, a popular rafting point. At Dumre, we turned north towards Marshyangdi River to reach Besi Sahar.
The drive followed Marshyangdi River towards Syange (with a high waterfall), and we drove on to Jagat (a previous toll place on the ancient salt-trade way to Tibet).
Day 4, 20th April 2019: Trek from Jagat to Dharapani 1,860m
Moving along the east bank of Marshyangdi River, the track ascended slowly, before the valley opened into a large highland at Tal (1511m), the first village of Manang district. After crossing the broad flat gorge and the barley and potato fields, the trail climbs sharply on a stone stairway high above the stream. There were some sudden ups and downs on this section passing through jungles of blue pine to Dharapani (1,946m).
Day 5, 21st April 2019: Trek from Dharapani to Chame 2,670m
From Dharapani, the track passes a school, ascends, and again descends gently to Bagarchhap. Bagarchhap is a small village with distinctive Tibetan houses and peaceful vibes of Buddhist culture. The trail ascends to the mule track through pine and fir forests and then follows the stream for some time amongst the higher oak and maple trees. We passed through dispersed small villages before arriving in Chame (2,670m).
Day 6, 22nd April 2019: Trek from Chame to Pisang 3,200m
We followed the trails of Marshyangdi to Brathang from where we got a spectacular close-up view of Annapurna II (7,937m). Afterwards, we continued the trek via the forest with the amazing Paungda Danda rock face escalating more than 5,000 feet from the stream.
Passing a suspension bridge, we ascended for some time and then walked and rode downhill to the valley floor. Finally, we walk and biked across dry grazing land dwelling at Dhukur Pokhari. After moving for around half an hour from Dhukur Pokhari, we reached Pisang (3,190m). There we had great views of the Annapurna range and Pisang Peak (6,091m) seen from the village of Pisang.
Day 7, 23rd April 2019: Trek from Pisang to Manang 3,540m Upper trail
We followed on a difficult road onto the dry Nyesyang region that started from Upper Pisang and offered some of the best landscapes. Ghyaru is a captivating cluster-village with attractively built stone houses enclosed by meadows of wheat, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, and beans.
Then, along high cross with great landscape, up and down the valley, to Ngawal–an exciting village with Gompa and age-old juniper trees. The trail then slowly descends to Mungji from where we head to reach the renowned Thakali village of Manang. Here we enjoyed the best view of Annapurna range.
Day 8, 24th April 2019: Acclimatization Day: Hike to Chhunker viewpoint
Today it was acclimatizing/rest day. We hiked to Chhunker viewpoint where we got to relish the view of the pristine Gangapurna Lake with a backdrop of the Annapurna Range, Tilicho Peak (7,134m), Pisang Peak (6,091m), Chulo Peak (6,584m), Thorong Peak (5416m), and so on.Then we retraced back to our lodge for lunch, a typical Thakali meal. After some card games in the afternoon, we return back to the lodge for the overnight stay.
Day 9, 25th April 2019: Trek from Manang to Yak Kharka 4,018m
From Manang, we ascended alongside Thorung Khola in the main Annapurna Circuit trekking and biking trail. The trail ascends steeply to the village of Tenki, which was the last permanent settlement, around Thorung La. We headed a little further and then slowly outlined the meadows to Yak Kharka (3,900m).
Day 10, 26th April 2019: Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi 4,450m
It was a difficult trek to Thorang Phedi. After walking and riding further, we passed a suspension bridge and reached Ledar village. We climbed furthermore the pass via immense cliffs before reaching Thorang Phedi. On this trip, we were are able to witness one of the finest views of peaks like Gundang (5,312m), Syagang (6,026m), Thorung (6,144m), and Khatungkang (6,484). The word “Phedi” in Nepali denotes the foot of a mountain.
Day 11, 27th April 2019: Trek from Thorong Phedi to Thorong-La Pass 5,416m to Muktinath 3,800m
We had an even tougher ride today than that of yesterday. The bikers had to push our bikes on a steep trail till we passed Thorung-La Pass (5,416m), which is the highest mountain pass in Nepal. The panorama of the Himalayas looked stunning from the top of Thorong-La Pass. We then descended to the holy temple of Muktinath, the God of Salvation. This is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Holy water flows from the 108 carved taps surrounding the temple.
Day 12, 28th April 2019: Biking trip from Muktinath to Jomsom 2,710m via Lupra valley
An early morning visit to Muktinath Temple where we also could bathe under the 108 water sprouts, which is supposed to wash our sins away. After spending some time at the temple, we continued our bike ride and headed towards Marpha.
We had a relatively easy journey. Riding on rocky trails, we passed many walls and chhortens before we entered Lupra Valley. Chasing the stunning view of the Himalayas, we rode through Kali Gandaki Valley to reach the Apple Capital of Nepal: Jomsom. Jomsom is famous for its apple orchards and the apple by-products. Overnight we stayed at Om’s Home in Jomsom, which certainly was one of the most luxurious Hotels in the area.
Day 13, 29th April 2019: Jomsom to Pokhara by flight
Early in the morning, we boarded a flight back to Pokhara enjoying the scenic landscape. We decided to stay one night at the Pavilion Himalayas, which must be one of the most beautiful Hotels in the country, if not in the whole of Asia. The town of Pokhara offers splendid views of Annapurna (8,091m), Machhapuchhre (6,993m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), and Manaslu (8,156m). Before checking in to the Hotel we visited the FAB Hotel School which trains children of underprivileged background. This was a very impressive and memorable visit.
Day 14, 30th April 2019 Full day in Pokhara
On our last day we enjoyed the Lakeside Village of Pokhara for shopping and relaxing. Overnight we stayed at the beautiful Temple Tree Hotel. I was able to invite my student, Yam for dinner at the world class Roadhouse Pizzeria.
Day 15, 1st May 2019: Flying from Pokhara to Kathmandu for 25 minutes and final Departure from Kathmandu
Relishing the astonishing panorama of Annapurna range, Lamjung Himal, Manaslu range, Ganesh Himal range, and Langtang Himal, we flew back to the capital. After a 25-minute flight, we reached Kathmandu and headed to Thamel. Here we met Suman Ji who showed us the way to a Palace nearby where I was awarded Tourism Ambassador Visit Nepal 2020. This was indeed a big honour for me and a great surprise too. After visiting Suman Pandey’s new restaurant, we were dropped off at Tribhuvan International Airport for our final departure.