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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2013, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Default Nepal? ...or something else?

Hello all you world Trekkers out there,

The girlfriend and I have three weeks off next fall and was thinking of doing the Everest Base Camp Trek.
Have any of you done this Trek? I'm wondering if its worth it or any other Trek in Nepal like possibly Annapurna.

I'm open to other options as well.

Budget is 1300 each for flights.
Somewhere between 1400-1800 each for some sort of Trek.

We do a ton of stuff locally and in Alberta but looking to travel somewhere.

Where should we go to get an unbelievable mountaineering/trekking experience?
A truly "must-see" place?

Regards,

Trekker
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2013, 07:38 PM
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You can't go wrong with Nepal; I'd not look elsewhere as your timing (fall) and planned time (3 weeks) is optimal.

You can go 1 of 2 ways about trekking in Nepal: 1) Go in arrangement of some company, like UK Jagged Globe (or even home-brew GAP Adventures) or 2) Go in your own arrangement. First time Nepal trekker generally feels safer with option 1, but main areas of Khumbu have commercialized enough you can safely trek from "lodge" to "lodge" in your own arrangement. In my trip in 2007 I met 65-year old solo trekker who was just coming down Everest Base camp; he was heading down to Kathmandu to refuel, then he was going over to Pokhara for Annapurna Sanctuary.

For 3 weeks time best possible option in Everest area is visit to Gokyo and Everest valleys with crossover via Renjo-La and Cho-La high passes. Some trekking companies sell this as "Everest High Passes" trek; it is probably ultimate Everest trek, way better than simple march to Everest Base Camp via most popular 'tourist' route. Gokyo valley is fantastic; 5 lakes in succession leading to Cho Oyu base camp. View of Everest from Scoundrel Ridge above 5th Gokyo Lake is breathtaking; way better than what you get from Gorak Shep or even Kala Patthar (start of Pumori ridge, on other side from EBC).

There are other alternatives; a friend just came back from 3 weeks tour of Manaslu; lesser visited Himalaya peak. Going with experienced western tour companies buy you more remote regions such as Manaslu or Dhaulagiri circuit; however since this is your 1st time I'd stick with Everest side.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 09:44 AM
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We went to Nepal last spring. Definitely an amazing trip. We spent a few days in Katmandu arranging the trek and then did the Manasulu circuit. The Manasulu circuit is less developed than the Everest Base Camp trek or the Anapurna circuit. The hotels are not so fancy and you get to see parts of Nepal less affected by tourism. The scenery is spectacular. You can arrange everything ahead of time and pay lots of money for the trek. Or you can go to Katmandu and arrange everything yourself. Really not so difficult as there are lots of tour companies to chose between. You can bargain for the best deal. Some tour companies say you have to camp on this circuit, but there is accommodation available the whole way. For three people we spent $1200 US for the permits and the guide and porter and them around another $1000 US for the hotels and food along the route. You need to have enough cash with you to pay for everything on your trek. Your guide arranges your accommodation for each night and food stops as you go. We traveled to and from the trek by local bus, which is very inexpensive and 'interesting'. You could call it the trip of a lifetime, except that I really plan to go back and trek in an even less developed area.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the replies.

Seems like we would be leaning towards getting to Kahtmandu and booking something when we are there. Does this seem logical? We could do a day to find out who we want to go with and meet our prospective guides.

Plus it seems like we may save a few bucks by not booking here at home....?

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 05:02 PM
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I have done three trips to Nepal and one to Pakistan. In my view:

1 the Everest trek is very popular and very busy. The trail can be so busy that you literally need to wait in line. I would do another trek in a less popular area.

2 booking in Kathmandu is cheaper but quality of guides and food varies widely. Also, some local trekking companies do not always treat the porters well.

3 I did the Dhauligiri circuit my first trip, Mera peak my second, and Kanchenjunga to Makalu GHT the third. Dhauligiri is more remote with no tea houses, Mera and Kanchenjunga are more popular and have tea houses. All are fabulous.

4 all the places I have been in Nepal are fantastic and the people are friendly. I love it and will go back again.

All four of my treks have been with The Mountain Company. http://www.themountaincompany.co.uk. I keep going with TMC because the owner, Roland Hunter, is extremely knowledgable about Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Pakistan. He leads treks and has great leaders. My treks with his company are full of people who have done many other treks with TMC because they do such a great job. He has great local crews with great guides, cooks, and porters. He treats his local crews well and uses the same people each year to get to know them well. He is experienced (he has climbed Everest and Makalu) and knows trekking medical issues (stomach and altitude, blisters, etc) very well. His Nepal trips were so good it convinced me to go to Pakistan for the K2 trek last year (which was fantastic). I hate to sound like a shill for this company but in my view (and that of my fellow Trekkers) Roland is the best. He is also one of the nicest people I've ever met.

I highly recommend booking with a good western company for your first trip. Booking in Kathmandu with a local company may save you some money or may ruin your trip. It's not worth the risk.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by HikingJeff

I highly recommend booking with a good western company for your first trip. Booking in Kathmandu with a local company may save you some money or may ruin your trip. It's not worth the risk.
Right on

btw, I am envious on your Dhaulagiri experience. I've been looking for quite some time into K2 base camp; closed from Pakistani side for obvious reasons, but there's an awesome 30ish days trek via Silk Road to Chinese Karakorum, and ultimately K2 North Face. Must go with solid western operator
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 12:10 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by HikingJeff

I have done three trips to Nepal and one to Pakistan. In my view:

1 the Everest trek is very popular and very busy. The trail can be so busy that you literally need to wait in line. I would do another trek in a less popular area.

2 booking in Kathmandu is cheaper but quality of guides and food varies widely. Also, some local trekking companies do not always treat the porters well.

3 I did the Dhauligiri circuit my first trip, Mera peak my second, and Kanchenjunga to Makalu GHT the third. Dhauligiri is more remote with no tea houses, Mera and Kanchenjunga are more popular and have tea houses. All are fabulous.

4 all the places I have been in Nepal are fantastic and the people are friendly. I love it and will go back again.

All four of my treks have been with The Mountain Company. http://www.themountaincompany.co.uk. I keep going with TMC because the owner, Roland Hunter, is extremely knowledgable about Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Pakistan. He leads treks and has great leaders. My treks with his company are full of people who have done many other treks with. TMC because they do such a great job. He has great local crews with great guides, cooks, and porters. He treats his local crews well and uses the same people each year to get to know them well. He is experienced (he has climbed Everest and Makalu) and knows trekking medical issues (stomach and altitude, blisters, etc) very well. His Nepal trips were so good it convinced me to go to Pakistan for the K2 trek last year (which was fantastic). I hate to sound like a shill for this company but in my view (and that of my fellow Trekkers) Roland is the best. He is also one of the nicest people I've ever met.

I highly recommend booking with a good western company for your first trip. Booking in Kathmandu with a local company may save you some money or may ruin your trip. It's not worth the risk.

Wow awesome thanks for this! That Mera trip looks outstanding. My brother and I had been batting around the idea of doing a trek in either the himalaya/Karakoram or Patagonia. I'll bring this up with him.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 08:10 AM
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Don't forget Tibet!

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 01:16 PM
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My wife and I arrived in Kathmandu mid-December 2010 for 7 weeks of trekking: our plan was to go up to Gokyo Lakes, cross Cho La to the Khumbu valley, on to EBC, back to Lukla, and then back to Kathmandu before continuing on to Pokhara and the Annapurna Circuit.

We bought our Kathmandu-Lukla plane tix from a travel agent who had an office close by where you used to go to obtain your trekking permits. At that time, there were several companies flying and they all seemed to fly the same type of planes... does one company have a better safety record than another? You could probably find that out ahead of time if it concerns you. What time of day to fly? I'd heard that the weather is iffy (always or only at the time of year we were there? Couldn't tell you) but we booked tix on the first flight out of Kathmandu thinking we'd be the first out when the weather cleared. Be prepared to exercise heaps of patience (which is essential in almost every activity when traveling.)
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quote:Originally posted by HikingJeff

I have done three trips to Nepal and one to Pakistan. In my view:
1 the Everest trek is very popular and very busy. The trail can be so busy that you literally need to wait in line. I would do another trek in a less popular area.
It is an awesome experience and you should do it; however, we did it in the cold off-season and quite often had the lodges and trail to ourselves. Waiting an hour at a swing-bridge for my turn to cross, plus crowding in the lodges, would lessen the enjoyment for me immensely. Here's a pic of the numbers on a board in the Sagamatha National Park entrance:



Quote:
quote:2 booking in Kathmandu is cheaper but quality of guides and food varies widely. Also, some local trekking companies do not always treat the porters well.
I would think that it might near impossible to do it yourself during the high season when the lodges could be full, unless you carry a tent and thermarests and camp. Others may be able to answer that question. If your intent is to just trek to EBC and back, you don't need a guide or porter to help you find your way or speak the language as the trail is unmistakable and everyone speaks english. People we met who had hired a guide were either very happy with his maturity and demeanor or hated him. If you're fortunate to get a good one, it's a great opportunity to learn more about the country and culture.

Quote:
quote:4 all the places I have been in Nepal are fantastic and the people are friendly. I love it and will go back again.
Same for my wife and I, we loved it. Fantastic scenery, people, and experiences. The Gokyo Lakes, Khumbu, and Annapurna regions are varied in their beauty and one should see them all.

One area that was just opening up when we were in Nepal is the Nar and Phu valleys. That is where we would go on our next trip to Nepal. Google it!
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 08:20 PM
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We have been a few times also. Have never used a guide or porter and stayed in tea houses along the way as they are cheap (so why pack more weight than you need to). If you want to be adventurous, buy a good guide book and just do it. Then you can take your time and not push yourself, or if you want a guide, get one just for the 2 of you. Being a part of an organized group is too restrictive.

The Everest area and Annapurna are both worthwhile depending on what you want to get out of the trip. We prefer the Everest region, but if you are on real time frame, getting either in or out of Lukla can be delayed due to weather..... we have seen people wait 3 days for a plane, so keep this in mind.

Happy planning.....D

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post #11 of (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 08:33 PM
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As an alternative to Nepal: Peru's Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit, considered one of Classic Treks of the World. 2.5 - 3 week treks available from variety of operators, 3 - 3.5k range. Tented with porters, altitude stays bellow 5000m. Bit closer to home, so flights will be cheaper. I've all but decided to go this May

Great pictorial from the area was posted on CT awhile ago:

http://jeremyfrimer.wix.com/huayhuash-alpine
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 12:33 PM
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We have also done Huayhuash and recommend hikes in Peru. We have trip reports on it.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 01:25 PM
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Beautiful pictures, TrailTalk

K
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 02:45 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by DW2

We have also done Huayhuash and recommend hikes in Peru. We have trip reports on it.
Just spent over half an hour looking at your Peru trek report Dave&Dianne. Lots of detail and pictures, thank you very much (poor Wendy!). I am seriously looking into Huayhuash; may I ask you:

1) Your take on this itinerary: http://www.keadventure.com/trip/phh/...rcuit/map.html. I believe it is quite similar to yours?

2) Weather end of May/1st half of June? It is already dry season; don't think it would be much different from August when you did your trek?

(I am familiar with Peru in general, spent April 06, but it was only standard Arequipa/Inca/Titicaca/ etc, no Andes)
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by KARVITK

Beautiful pictures, TrailTalk

K
Thanks, man :-) I'm beginning to regret my recommendation of Tibet though...we're exploring a return this fall and finding many trekking operators are not offering Tibet excursions and are even reluctant to organize self-supported trips. This apparently due to uncertainty over the Chinese govt closing areas without notice because of local unrest.

The rural villages were just developing a limited tourist infrastructure based on a steady flow of business, but the drop in visitors might set them back years. On the flip side it will, I fear, make those few who do venture into the countryside more attractive to aggressive beggars and "tricky" merchants :-0
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