When you decide to go trekking in Nepal you will be embarking on one of the greatest outdoor experiences of your lifetime. Over 100,000 people safely go trekking in Nepal throughout the two trekking seasons that occur in this sacred landscape. Trekkers have a variety of options of where and how to trek in Nepal which can include a splendid guided trek or simply trekking on their own.
Although solo can be highly rewarding to one’s self, we do recommend trekking with a guide to ensure that your experience is as safe as possible as solo trekking does indeed come with more safety concerns.
Below you will find some basic safety tips to consider before and during your trek in Nepal that will help fulfil your fantasy of trekking in one of the greatest places on the planet.
One of the best safety tips for your trek in Nepal needs to be completed after you have booked your trek. Trekkers can find peace of mind in buying the right travel insurance after they understand what their trek entails. We recommend that you consider the following when buying travel insurance for your trek in Nepal:
- Make sure that the travel insurance you have chosen provides for airlift and hospitalization in Nepal, and that it does cover for the altitude that your trek will cover. Many travel insurances only cover up to 4,000 meters which his insufficient for some of the famous treks in Nepal such as the Everest Base Camp trek, Annapurna Circuit trek, and the Manaslu Circuit trek, which goes beyond 5,000 meters.
- After you have purchased the appropriate travel insurance make a photocopy of the policy. Send the photocopy to a family member and yourself by email. Another helpful hint is to photocopy your itinerary as well as your passport and email these items along with your travel insurance policy.
- If there is a mishap and you need medical attention while trekking in Nepal, these important documents can easily be forwarded by family members to the appropriate people such as doctors, your embassy or rescue guides.
How to Prevent Altitude Sickness
Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is the result of your body not receiving enough oxygen while trekking. In general AMS occurs when you ascend too quickly. You will need to acclimatize your body to the altitude which contains less oxygen, as a result of less pressure. The more you can acclimatize your body, the better chances you have in warding off AMS.
- Before your trek we recommend that you spend time in your home country hiking in the surrounding environment at higher altitudes. Start with short day hikes that increase in altitude as you are hiking. Do not rush yourself. Allow for your body to acclimate on each day hike. These short hikes will also increase your endurance once on the trail in Nepal. If you don’t have access to high altitudes, don’t worry as all ‘normal’ trekking itineraries in Nepal do take into account altitude sickness, among others by having a couple of acclimatization days on the trek.
- One of the most important things to remember is that your trekking adventure in Nepal is not a race. Thus, take your time when trekking and allow your body to acclimate. Symptoms of AMS include headaches accompanied by one of the following symptoms:
- Social withdrawal
- Swelling extremities
- No appetite
If you think you’ve gotten AMS it’s advised to not ascend further and take a rest day. If the AMS symptoms are severe it’s advised to immediately descend and possibly seek for help as well. Remember to always stay hydrated, get enough food, and don’t overexert yourself as that will only impede your body’s ability to adjust to the new lower oxygen levels (which requires energy). Furthermore, consider bringing altitude pills such as Diamox as they will help you acclimatize faster and don’t have any severe side effects. For further information about altitude while trekking in Nepal we recommend you to check out Himalayan Rescue Association.
Clothing is an important aspect to trekking in Nepal. Staying comfortable while trekking in Nepal starts with the right clothing which includes proper footwear. Take items that can be layered to accommodate for the changing weather patterns as well as fluctuating temperatures that occur via change in altitude and weather conditions.
- Before your trek in Nepal, make sure that you’ve properly used your trekking boots. If you need new boots, make sure to buy them two-three months before your trek and casually walk in them whenever possible.
- During your hike make sure that your backpack is equipped with the necessary clothing. For instance in a single day you may experience sun, snow and rain. Have specific layers easily accessible within your backpack to avoid long delays in layering up. Hats, gloves and outer shell jackets should be within quick reach in your backpack.
Avoiding Bad Weather
You might not always be able to avoid bad weather while trekking in Nepal. However, there are several ways to ensure that you do not trek in bad weather or that you avoid the worst days of weather when trekking in Nepal.
Planning your trip is essential in trying to avoid bad weather. Nepal’s monsoon season runs late May through September. The established trekking seasons are from October to December as well as March through April.
- Do not plan your trekking trip during monsoon season. Also familiarize yourself to mountainous weather and cloud patterns to help ensure safety.
- During your trek in Nepal be aware of shifting clouds, rapidly fluctuating temperatures and above all stay informed of current and incoming weather conditions. This can be accomplished by speaking with locals as you trek and by regularly checking appropriate weather channels by telephone or other communicative devices such as a GPS, and remember to pack accordingly. If you suspect that there is a chance for bad weather, have appropriate clothing easily accessible within your backpack, and even consider to not trek during that day.
Just because your surrounding scenery may look pristine, the drinking water may not be so pure. You should therefore think of having some type of water purification system to ensure that your drinking water is safe from disease. There are numerous ways to purify water from a simplistic iodine tablet to boiling water to an advanced carbon filter system. We would recommend a combination of iodine tablets as well as an advanced carbon filter system.
- Before your trek in Nepal you can purchase one of many outstanding carbon filtered water purification systems. These water purification systems are lightweight and easy to use, even by novice trekkers. Learn how to use your water purification system before stepping out on your trek. Talk with fellow trekkers or the manufacturer to find out if additional repair parts may be needed to be brought with you to avoid breakdown.
- When using your carbon filtered water purification system avoid murky or discoloured water which can clog your filter system. Even if you have a trusted carbon filtered water purification system, trekkers have found that taking additional iodine tablets is a good idea. Iodine tablets are easy to use, lightweight and provide an added sense of water security while you are trekking in Nepal.
With the above safety tips in mind you should be able to have an amazing as well as safe trekking journey in Nepal. We hope the above safety cautions have not stripped you of your wish to trek in Nepal as it is generally safe, as long as you take keep the above advice in mind while trekking. If you’ve decided to not trek, do check out some of the tours available in Nepal.