Mountains are revenue generating sector in Nepal. Nepal is one of the world’s best destinations for trekking and mountain expeditions. Trekking, mountain expeditions and peak climbing are a major tourist attraction in Nepal. More than 40 per cent of the travellers that visit Nepal come for trekking. Annapurna, Langtang, Helambu and Khumbu (Everest) are popular trekking destinations designated as free-trekking routes.
History of Trekking and Mountain Expeditions in Nepal
Before 1950, the Westerners who came to Nepal were European diplomats, anthropologists, historians and Capuchins. After the end of 104 years of Oligarchy in 1950, Nepal was for the first time opened to the Western world. Bill Tilman, who trekked to the Everest Base Camp in 1950, was the first Westerner to trek in Nepal. Everest expeditions began since 1920s but all the attempts were made from Tibetan side. However, Everest was finally conquered in 1953 from Nepali side by Sir Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander, and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali Sherpa.
Eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks are stretched along Nepal-Tibet boarder. However, you need not be a mountaineer to trek in Nepal. You can choose your trekking routes depending on time and money you wish to spend. A short trek will reveal picturesque villages, paddy fields, corn farms and forested ridges; whereas a long trek will take your through canyons and near some of the world’s highest mountains. In any case, you will be able to see variety of flora and fauna, cultural diversity, and lives of common people.
How to obtain trekking permit in Nepal
You have to pay exorbitant royalties to get a permit to climb Everest or Annapurna, however, trekking to Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp is free. You have to pay high price for food, lodge and porters, though.
Before you begin trekking, you have to register and get Trekking Information Management System Card. You can get this card from Tourist Service Centre, in Kathmandu or Trekking Association of Nepal.
You can arrange your trekking through international trekking agencies or local trekking agencies in Kathmandu. International trekking agencies charge you more than local trekking agencies. You can also go for independent trekking, but make sure to choose this option only if you have traveled to Nepal in the past.
When to begin trekking in Nepal
Most of the trekking routes take at least a week to complete, whereas you have to plan for three weeks itinerary for Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit. Your choice for trekking depends on the time you have, and amount you wish to spend. The best time to trek in Nepal is from October through May. High altitude could be a real threat in cold season, particularly in December and January because of heavy snowfall, however, trekking in these months gives quite an excellent experience. July to September is rainy season in Nepal. Trekking in mountains could be dangerous during the wet months.
Medical Advice for Trekkers
Nepal is a developing nation, which means modern medical facilities will not be available in the remote places. You are recommended to take medical supplies with you. For serious illness and injuries, the patient should be evacuated to Kathmandu as quickly as possible.
Acute Mountain Sickness is a common problem that trekkers face while ascending to the elevations above 3,600 meters. While trekking in Nepal, if you develop persistent headache, nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea and sleeplessness, you could be suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness. Don’t ignore these warnings. You can prevent Acute Mountain Sickness by immediately descending to the lower elevation. If you are persistent to climb, you can avoid Acute Mountain Sickness by ascending no more than 300 to 500 meters per day.