An enjoyable but long trek through some amazing scenery.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
- Reaching Thorong La pass, and the sunrise from Poon Hill.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Pasang was very helpful and he was very well organised throughout the 3 weeks, ensuring that both our health and the health of all the porters and assistants was looked after throughout. He was very easy to chat to, and his card tricks and games kept us amused through the cold evenings. I was impressed that he encouraged the assistant leaders to develop by letting them give some of the evening briefings. The second Pasang, Tenzing and Cussman were all extremely friendly and could not do enough to help. Going on ahead with lunch orders on a few days helped to limit the number of long lunch stops which was appreciated in the cold weather!
However, I thought that the advice on how to acclimatise should have been emphasised more often, e.g. limit alcohol, drink lots of fluid, eat soup to help with fluid intake, etc. Some people did not seem to carry much water with them during the day. Also, the guides should have spread themselves out better instead of always having 2 at the back of the group.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
I would only class 3 days of the trek as challenging, plus the walking on several days ended in the early afternoon (although there were optional walks at many places), so this is not as difficult as the 'Challenging' rating suggests. If you can cope with the cold, can acclimatise to the altitude, are reasonably fit, and are confident on snow, ice (1 day only) and rocks, then you can probably cope with the walking too.
As a group try to choose similar dishes at lunchtime so that lunch does not take ages to be cooked. Although the chips with eggs is tempting, save it for the evening meal!
The safe drinking water stations are a great idea. We were concerned that the water might have been sitting stagnant for a while due to our trip running during the 'out of peak' season, so we added chlorine just in case, but not everyone did and no-one seemed to be any the worse for it.
Don't let the road building put you off. It is far from finished and you are only near to it for a few days.
Be prepared for a couple of quite basic teahouses - but then occasionally there's a lovely one where you can appreciate an en-suite with gas powered shower!
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Prior to booking this trip I had asked about the age range on the trip and was told that there were people in their 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. However on arrival in Kathmandu we were disappointed to see that this was not the case. The average age on the trip was at least 20 years older than us.
The walking pace set by the leaders was far too slow. Most of the time we felt like we were walking on the back of the heels of others, which I did not like. When we stayed at the back of the group to leave ourselves some space, we easily caught the front group within minutes. Despite asking if we could go faster or go ahead with one of the leaders, this did not happen, even in the landslide area! For the last few days a small group of us took matters into our own hands and walked ahead, ensuring that we knew where to stop for breaks. I appreciate that not everyone was as fit or as healthy as we were (and I'm not that fit), and that some people struggled to acclimatise, but the pace was ridiculously slow at times and it impacted on our enjoyment of the trek.
I felt that more could have been done to advise the group on the best choices to make at lunchtimes. On a previous trip (Everest base camp) we restricted our lunchtime choices to enable the meals to be cooked faster given the limited kitchens in some of the tea houses. However on this trip a large number of different dishes were always ordered therefore lunches often took 2 hours.