I'm looking to find trekking partners, but if it doesn't work out, I'm going solo. Just feeling out Nepal this time round, doing the "highway" treks; I'll get a good idea of the more off-the-grid ones I want to go back to do later.
What are people's thoughts on total solo trekking? I've read a number of people have disappeared/been murdered, but hey, when it's my time, it's my time. And I lean more towards the renowned warmth of the Nepalese. Plus, I'm a loveable guy. :D
Personally, I don't reckon it will be a problem, or a calculated risk at best, but what are the thoughts of those of you who have been there SINCE the earthquakes? Am I being too cavalier?
Regardless of intentions/plans/vague notions of what I might like to do that I have now, I'll suss out the "feel" once I get there.
But of course, I do absolutely always appreciate the wisdom and experience of Tramper NZ regulars. :)
Solo is the way to go. But you need a tims card to do it. You get them at some office in Kathmandu. There are many guarded checkpoints along the treks that will check you. It's a cool memento. You will be turned back without one.
I went solo. At the airport in lukla a nervous young German guy needed my help. He was as fit as hell and also solo so we decided to do the trip together as we were both doing the passes route.
We went a few weeks before the peak season so had the place kind of to ourselves. The only people we passed along the way we're Sherpa and porter getting the place ready for the onslaught.
By the time we were making our way back from base camp we started to pass the huge hoards of guided Trekkers heading in. It just looked horrible to us. They say burdening your load on a locals back was how they make their money. Well not for me mate. I carry my own pack. Just make sure you buy lots of food and things when in the teahouses to help the economy .
So many people told me I need a guide. That I wasn't allowed to trek alone. But I just ignored them and it was the best thing I did.
Just imagine having a Himalayan mountain valley to yourself, well you and a smelly dreadlocked German guy lol. It's a magical experience. It's so much more rewarding doing it yourself. Carrying your own gear and navigating your own way, and it's not hard navigation these are routes the Sherpa have used for hundreds of years.
We could go where we wanted when we wanted. We would often just stop on the trail and climb some random spur for a few hundred metres just to get some special never seen stunning vista. We even stumbled upon a hermits meditation hut hundreds of metres above the valley floor one day.
Kathmandu and Nepal are very safe for solo people. They can be in your face but are very warm and peaceful people. Namaste and a smile get you along way.
My partner (now wife) and I did the walk from Jiri and it was the first time she had ever carried a pack on her back. Sure we didn't walk fast, and she got some decent blisters, but it was an awesome part of the overall walk, nowhere near as many tourists as above Lukla, and accommoadation was ridiculously cheap - this was 1998 though. We met other independant walkers on the bus and started out with several of them, until we were left with just an Italian women who ended up completing the whole 28 days with us. So as part of the overall experience it was just as worthwhile as the above Lukla part and it sounds like you have the time to do it.
Also, while the intention when we started was to walk to EBC, we heard from several people on their way down who said if you can make only one then go to Gokyo valley instead, which we did and it was awesome views from Gokyo Ri, so I recommend that as well.
Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with the comments above re unguided treks, I do enjoy the novelty of having someone else take care of the the 'admin' - arranging flights, booking accom, buying permits etc, particularly when I'm paying a local company to do it.
Something else to consider - when I needed a helicopter I was in no state to arrange it all (as you're probably aware, no proof of insurance or payment in advance in Nepal = no chopper) and having an experience trekking company back in KTM to take care of the process was an absolute godsend.
Just another take on things.
blog about the three passes
second the statement about insurance, my brother in law ended up with bronchitis at 6000m and a long walk out, he was with a guided company that looked after him. without a guide, insurance or a lot of cash on him, he could have died...
This post has been edited by the author on 23 March 2017 at 05:41.
Here's my take on guides overseas.
Everything that can happen to you there. Minus altitude problems . Can happen to you here.
Do you ever contemplate getting a guide before a three day hike across the Tararua mountain tops? No? Is that because you have developed the skills necessary to plan and accomplish your goal. Apply these skills anywhere you wish to go.
Agreed. Get insurance that covers you and a plb.
For me part of the fun is the months of planning and organising. Logistics is a major part of the fun for me when it comes to tramping.
It's not that hard to do it yourself. Tramp is the same where ever you go.
By the way my avatar is me on the cho la pass that's cholotse on my right and ama dablam in front.
This post has been edited by the author on 23 March 2017 at 08:38.