Trekking in Nepal Like a Local Sherpa
With a population of just 27.8 million people, Nepal is a relatively small but mountainous country with a booming tourism industry. Over 700,000 people tour the country annually. Among its most notable features is Mount Everest, locally known as the Sagarmatha. The 29,029 feet high mountain rests on the border between Nepal and China.
The other world-famous feature is the Himalayas range which the Sherpa people of Nepal believe to be the abode of the gods. These lie on the border between India and Nepal. According to National Geographic, there are 35 listed trails in Nepal including the renowned Everest Base Camp Trek.
You could trek these trails with guides and luxury lodges like a typical tourist, or you could gird up your loins and trek the Nepal highlands as the local Sherpas do.
Find a Sherpa or Ghurkha to trek with
The first step to trekking like a local is to find one to walk with. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself at risk. Now, there are two types of locals in Kathmandu or the Khumbu valley where locals live; the fully professional guides and the adventurous local. We would recommend going with an adventurous local for two reasons. One is that he knows the less-traveled trails and two he will stretch you to your limits. Young Gurkha men are renowned warriors, and as such are fearless trekkers and climbers.
An adventurous local will also make it possible to experience the culture and people in their full authenticity. If you decide to bring your dog with you, check to ensure that as many of the trained rescue dogs in the area, they are a breed that can handle trekking and climbing.
Unlike your local friend, your body is not yet adapted to the mountains. CNN once wrote about the incredible mountain climbing abilities of the Sherpa. It is not unheard of for a local to climb Everest then come down within two hours, needing nothing but a cup of tea along the way. We recommend spending time around the community on trails such as the Dudhkunda Cultural Trail or interacting with the culture at the Kathmandu Center of Healing as your body acclimatizes.
Get Your Timing Right
Part of the reason why the Sherpas are such good trekkers and climbers is that they know when to trek in Nepal and when to let the trails and mountains be September to December is the best time to trek, but July is an unpopular time, because of the rain. You can get further information about the best seasons for hiking in Nepal.
Written by Jenny Holt