Nepal trekking with OM-D (lots of pictures!)

Started Jan 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
kirilrusev
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Re: Nepal Questions
In reply to Cy Cheze, Jan 23, 2013

Hi Cy Cheze,

See my answers below...

Cy Cheze wrote:

Any difficulties adjusting to altitude? What was the median, high, and low altitude of the trail?

Every person adjusts to the altitude differently. Some people need less time than others. It is very individual. I was with an organized trek with an experienced guide and we took a standard gradual approach to the altitude. Most people should be fine following it but headache and other issues are always to be expected over 4000m.

Here a chart that shows the altitudes we went to. The blue liune shows the altitudes we slept at. The purple line shows the max altitude for each day:



Some shots were taken from a distance of more than 200m behind some trekkers. Was it a different group or your own? Concern: at high altitudes, the photographer who trails in search of nice shots cannot simply run and catch up, unless the main group is about to stop somewhere soon.

Once acclimatized you don't exactly feel the altitude so much as you do in the beginning. Our group got stretched sometines that the distance between the first and the last person was 30 minutes but there was always a sherpa walking last and making sure noone stays behind. If you are on a organized group, they will make sure even the slowest trekker is accommodated. If you are on your own, then you don't have to worry. Either way you set the pace.

Batteries: did you carry along several to serve for the duration of the trek, and still have a reserve? Or did you simply have one battery and shoot sparingly?

I had 9 batteries and I recharged often. Most lodges I stayed in offered battery charging and you pay per hour. 4 batteries and a charger cost me $34 on ebay. I got two sets plus the original battery.

Pricing: are the treks fixed price? Or do the guides quote low prices and then begin to demand increases or tips once out on the trail?

Each trek is different. Treks in the Everest, Anapurna or other well-travelled destinations are cheaper because there are lodges everywhere, food is available everywhere, you need less portrers, etc. On a wilder trek your price per day will be higher.

I took an organized trek with a fixed price. On top of that you are expected to pay 10% tip at the end and distribute that among the guide, sherpas and porters.

Some people hire guides and porters directly without an agency and detemine their own itinerary. It gets cheaper this way and you can negotiate the price on your own.

Trail markings or blazers: are these rudimentary or negligible? Are the trails a criss-cross of paths to everywhere? Or is there a main circuit one could follow if solo or lost?

In the Everest area it is perfectly safe to travel alone as almost all the traill are well-beaten and well-travelled. There is always someone to ask for direction. There are signs here and there, not many but just enough. No special marking or blazers.

Wind: a lot, a little?

Yes, both. In all mountains everywhere you should be prepared for wind. Although if you stay below 5000m you don't get too much wind. We actually got high winds only around Island Peak.

Water: how much needed per day? Cost?

To feel well and to help acclimatize faster at high altitudes you need 3-4 liters per day. Our sherpas made sure we got enough boiled water as part of the price for the trek. Every evening we would get 2 liters of boiled water for the next day's hike. Also we would get hot tea 5 times a day. In addition to that you can purchase drinks from the lodges. If you are on your own you have to buy boiled water yourself. Boiled water is preferred as the plastic bottles are carried on a porter's back, get quite expensive the higher you go and are bad for the environment - there is no recycling in the mountains.

Portage: no mules or donkeys? Only human porters?

Human porters or yaks. At lower altitude they also use a crossbreed between yak and cow called dzopkyo. Mules are rare but you can see them too.

Hiking speed: how much horizontal or moderate incline hiking can one attain, with and without a pack with provisions?

Most people I saw carry a small day pack with some spare clothes and water in it. The rest of the luggage is carried by porters. Speed depends entirely up to you. There is no competition. If there is, you are in the wrong group.

Phone cameras: did any of the hikers rely only on phone cameras?

Yes, but it all depends what quality standards you have for your pictures and if you care about pictures at all. I saw people who did not take pictures at all.

Camera taboo: were mainy Nepalese reluctant, or even hostile, towards cameras?

In the cities I didn't have any problems taking pictures of people. In the mountains people tend to be more superstitious about pictures and you are expected to ask for permission before taking a photo.

Nepal vs Tibet: any observations on the respective advantages or disadvantages of treks carried out on one side versus the other? Pakistan also has some spectacular mountain regions, athough security issues make them more of a challenge.

I cannot give you an advice on that as I haven't been to Tibet. The Sherpa people in Nepal came from Tibet 500 ago and their language, culture and religion is very close to that in Tibet. Geographically the two places are different however. Tibet is dry, it's average altitude is higher and in places looks like a desert. Nepal has every climate from tropical jungle to Mt. Everest.

I hope that helps.

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