Things I've Learnt - What I wish I knew about trekking in Nepal the first time I went
You're gearing up for your first trek to Nepal and quite rightly you have some anxieties about what to expect, how hard it'll be or whether you'll cope. Don't worry, you won't be the only one! This short blog highlights some of the lessons I've learned through all my experiences trekking in Nepal, in the hope that you can bypass some of these learning curves and enjoy your first trip more.
1. Don't waste energy worrying about Altitude Sickness
It goes without saying, the consequences of altitude sickness can be severe, but letting the worry of getting AMS drain you mentally is not the way you should be spending your trip. Trust in the itinerary and follow the basics to avoid Altitude Sickness and the rest it out of your hands.
2. Enjoy every day for what it is
Most treks have a highlight, something you've told your friends you're off to do such as Everest Base Camp or a summit like Mera Peak. As much as you will try and get there, there are many factors out of your control that may prevent it from happening. For this reason, we encourage you to enjoy every day for what it offers rather than trekking solely focused on the main feature. Without a doubt, some days are just about making progress and may feel similar to the preceding day, but there are certainly highlights to be found every day.
3. The evenings can feel long, so bring entertainment
Most days you'll roll into your teahouse around 4pm. Initially you'll sit and have some tea, sort some kit and soak up the last of the heat. As soon as the sun goes down you'll be layering up and hunkering into the dining room or in your room. Unless you have brought something to entertain yourself with, these evenings can feel long as you're just waiting for dinner, and then bed.
Entertainment is however easy. You may wish to bring some headphones to listen to music or podcasts, a book or even some knitting. When travelling with a group of trekkers a game of cards is never far away either. A keen photographer can easily see an hour or so away every night.
4. Toilet Paper is best brought from home
On the treks you need to bring your own toilet paper and this is best brought from home. Firstly, paper bought on the trail is not too indifferent to sandpaper, and secondly it may cost you about £4 for a single roll! Chuck in a couple of quadruple ply, super soft, made of angels wings toilet rolls and you won't regret it.
On the summit of Lobuche East, 2019.
5. Bring a small pharmacy
Depending on the trek you're on, there will probably be places to buy personal medications such as paracetamol or throat lozenges but they are very expensive compared to what you'll pay at home. It is an unfortunate fact that at some point on the trek you will probably have a day of feeling a bit grim - whether that's the 'Khumbu Cough', a sore throat or maybe a stomach bug. It is well worth having a good think about taking some medications to get you through some of these possible illnesses rather than having to source it whilst on the trail.
I'd definitely be looking at taking:
Pain killers and anti-inflammatory tablets (Paracetamol and Ibruprofen)
Throat soothers - Lemsip powder to add to Hot Water ace
Dioralyte & Immodium- Great for rehydration and plugging yourself up.
Diamox - To aid with acclimatisation
High quality Suncream and lip balm
After Sun - Just in case you catch the sun on the trail
Eye Wash / Drops - The trail can be dusty and you'll want something to wash the grit out.
6. Pack something you know you will eat - anytime, anywhere
Not everyone loses their appetite at altitude, but it's certainly a possibility. Depending on your likes and dislikes, you may also get a little tired of the menu options which really are very similar across most teahouses. For this reason it is well worth using some of that pack weight to carry in some food you know you'll want to eat. Things like a bag of nuts, chocolate or trail bars are ideal. Keeping the calories going in will enhance your chances of success on the trek so don't let a loss of appetite get in the way.
7. You really don't need to pack as many clothes as you think
Invest in merino, and wash some clothes on the trail and you really don't need many clothes at all. There's no point in getting a second set of trousers carried all the way to Base Camp and back.
Have a read of our 'Top Kit Tips for EBC' to give you an idea. This info can obviously be translated across all treks.
Admiring Ama Dablam on the way to EBC