Trekking in Nepal

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing.
kbmiller
Posts: 120
Joined: 6/7/2010
14er Checklist (28)

Trekking in Nepal

Postby kbmiller » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:06 pm

My daughter (21 next week) is going on a 6 week trip to Kanjanjunga Conservation Area in eastern Nepal to do an ecology field study on red pandas, blue sheep and snow leapords next spring. She will be mostly living out of her backpack running transects at altitudes ranging up to 15000 ft. So, I get to buy some gear for her. Any women have some good advice on packs and boots for her? We will be trying on a variety of items between now and then. She is about 5'4" and 150lbs, and has climbed 9 of the easier 14ers.

Thanks
Mr. Lighter Wallet
kbmiller
Posts: 120
Joined: 6/7/2010
14er Checklist (28)

Re: Trekking in Nepal

Postby kbmiller » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:45 pm

I don`t really know we haven`t received the packing list. I`m assuming she will be carrying everything she needs except a tent and will probably share parts of a 2 to 4 man. Probably 30 to a max of 40 lbs. I will force her to pare as much as possible but at 21 she doesnt listen especially well.
User avatar
edhaman
Posts: 491
Joined: 8/21/2010
14er Checklist (15)
13er Checklist (14)

Re: Trekking in Nepal

Postby edhaman » Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:22 pm

She might want to take some kind of an air filtration mask. I know someone who went trekking in Nepal last year and said the air quality there is horrendous. Between the yak dung fires and yak butter candles the locals use, and the pollution drifting in from China, it sounds like a respiratory nightmare.
User avatar
Pops921
Posts: 115
Joined: 6/6/2011
14er Checklist (36)

Re: Trekking in Nepal

Postby Pops921 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:53 pm

Finding a good fit in boots is the most important, different brands of the same size will fit different people differently. I would take her to the main REI store in Denver and get someone fit her. Once she get the boots be sure she spends plenty of time in them before going on the trip, to make sure they are the right ones. It might be a good idea to have some trail runners or light weight hiking shoes as a back up.

Packs also need to be fit to the person, again they should be able to do this at REI. Deuter makes a nice line of packs designed for women. My wife has two of these and is very happy with them (one day pack and one overnight pack). You really need to know what size of pack she will need, before you can settle on a brand.
Not as young as I once was and not as old as I want to be.
User avatar
Kevo
Posts: 164
Joined: 8/23/2006
14er Checklist (33)

Re: Trekking in Nepal

Postby Kevo » Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:05 pm

Pack- Will she actually be carrying her pack or will a yak/mule team carry it for her? You'd be surprised how rare it is for foreigners to carry more than a daypack in Nepal. Most larger groups hire porters or animal teams to carry their stuff. At $5ish per day for a porter and even cheaper rates per pound with animal teams, I guess it makes sense. Either way, she should probably bring a lightweight day pack (20 liters or less) and a trekking style pack or duffel- if she is sure she won't have to carry a large pack herself, a high quality duffel might be the way to go.

Footwear- I've worn trail runners above 18,000 feet in Nepal. In most places, trail runners are enough to get by. I used them on many low angle glaciers as well. It's only above 19,000 feet or so that you really need boots- Nepal is the further south than Tampa Bay and Cairo, much farther south than most people realize. If she is there in March or earlier, it would be good to have a pair of waterproof boots in case of a freak snowstorm. If she prefers boots for support reasons, that's fine obviously.

Pollution- Pollution down low (Kathmandu and lower) is awful. Kathmandu does enough to pollute itself, but there is pollution from India (not so much from China). Once you get up high enough, outdoor air quality isn't bad. On really popular trails, some people wear bandanas on their faces to keep the dust that is kicked up out of their lungs. You can't do much about the yak poop cooking stoves- it's a way of life, and not really any worse than a campfire. I'm sure it's unhealthy in the long run if you breath it every day of your life, but it isn't that bad while you're there.
User avatar
susanjoypaul
Posts: 1993
Joined: 9/8/2006
14er Checklist (58)
14ers in Winter (2)
13er Checklist (87)

Re: Trekking in Nepal

Postby susanjoypaul » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:43 am

Dex wrote:When I did a trek there, it was the leeches that were bothersome - they got everywhere on you if you weren't cautious. One guy woke up with one in his eye.

Holy crap. You know it's going to be a good day when this is the first post you read on 14ers.com.

Pretty sure I can get through the day without getting a leech in my eye - yipeee!!! :-D
User avatar
gdthomas
Posts: 2046
Joined: 6/15/2005
14er Checklist (58)

Re: Trekking in Nepal

Postby gdthomas » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:13 am

Pack: My guess is she'll have a porter carrying the bulk of her stuff. If so, a 25-30 liter pack should suffice to carry what she'll need each day. If she's carrying everything herself, she'll likely need a 65 liter pack but I'd still take a day pack. If she goes to REI, have them fit her with a variety of packs until she finds the ones that have the best feel. REI will also put weight in each pack so she can get an idea how they'll feel on the trail.

Boots: I don't have any experience with the Kanchenjunga Region of Nepal but assuming it's similar to the Khumbu Region, she should consider three pairs of footwear - a comfortable boot, hiking shoes (sturdy trail runners will work) and a pair of Crocs. Your daughter will likely spend most of her time in the trail runners but there will probably be times when a boot is necessary. Most gear in Nepal is cheap knock offs so she's better off buying what she needs in the States. The best piece of advice I received before going to Nepal came from a friend who has been there six times. His advice: keep your bare feet off the ground and wash your hands frequently to avoid getting sick. Crocs are great for taking showers. Water doesn't bother them and the are easy to clean.

Pollution: Generally speaking, the air is fine once she gets into the mountains. IMO there's no need for a mask. The Nepalese burn dried Yak crap in their wood burning stoves and they typically use kerosene to get the fire started. It takes a little getting used to but she should be fine.

Other: Hand sanitizer and wipes.
User avatar
Taillon75
Posts: 209
Joined: 12/30/2009
14er Checklist (54)
14ers Skied (8)
14ers in Winter (1)
13er Checklist (43)

Re: Trekking in Nepal

Postby Taillon75 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:50 am

Go easy on the Yak Burgers.
User avatar
Scott P
Posts: 6451
Joined: 5/4/2005
14er Checklist (46)
14ers in Winter (16)
13er Checklist (30)
Contact:

Re: Trekking in Nepal

Postby Scott P » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:38 am

A lot of the advice above seems to be geared towards the main trekking routes.

I assume that if she's doing an ecology field study, she's probably going to be a long way away from the main trekking routes.

Is this correct?

If so, she can forget about hiking in running shoes the majority of the time or finding showers and yak burgers. Even in the villages in that region there aren't going to be showers or yak burgers. Porters are going to be likely be a bit harder to arrange without some knowledge of the local language, but it is still certainly possible and recommended.

As far as air pollution goes, as mentioned that's a Kathmandu and lowland thing. The air in the mountains is usually crystal clear, at least when it isn't raining and snowing.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.
kbmiller
Posts: 120
Joined: 6/7/2010
14er Checklist (28)

Re: Trekking in Nepal

Postby kbmiller » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:55 am

This is not a "trek" in the conventional sense. She will be doing an ecological study of primarily red panda habitat, and from the course description they will be running transects through various chunks of habitat. That sounds to me like they will be off trail a lot. Not clear if they will be staying in villages or using porters. I suspect they will use porters since they state that they will have a tent that all 10-15 can meet in for classes -- that is a pretty big tent even divvied up.

She has blistered in higher (ankle high) boots for climbing 14ers in the past, so she is currently in low trail hikers. But that might be due to her not breaking them in properly (hard to get a 16 year old to wear ugly boots to school). If I were running transects, I'd wear my elk hunting boots since I would expect it to be pure bushwacking, and they are high, heavy, and stiff. I'm thinking she will want something with more support.

For a pack, I think she will take both a big pack and a daypack unless I can find something that has a removeable daypack/fannypack, but I haven't found any of those that look very good. The pack will probably have to be bombproof as well, and the ultralight packs I have been spotty on seams. But, I'm pretty hard on packs (100+ lbs is common for packing elk out of nasty timber holes) so I like mine stout. Does anyone know much about the Gregory Deva pack line?

They will only be a few days in the low country and all the rest will be pretty high up.

As for leeches, check out the classic 1959 horror film "Attack of the Giant Leeches" http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1055821-attack_of_the_giant_leeches/

Thanks for all the advice.
Mr. Lighter Wallet
.
User avatar
gdthomas
Posts: 2046
Joined: 6/15/2005
14er Checklist (58)

Re: Trekking in Nepal

Postby gdthomas » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:16 am

My wife has a Deva 60 and she loves it. We also have a Gregory Z30 and Z28 and they are terrific day packs in all respects. Also, I suggest Gore-Tex footwear whether a boot, shoe or both.
lazy climber
Posts: 347
Joined: 6/9/2008
14er Checklist (19)

Re: Trekking in Nepal

Postby lazy climber » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:50 pm

I would find out if she has to carry all of her stuff or not, if porters are doing the carry then pack size will be different. Osprey makes some nice womenrs packs ( wife and daughters use them) and once again depending on what she has to carry will detemine what size pack.

Hiking at elevation is tough, a heavy pack makes things go really slow.

Good comfortable "boots" that have been "broken in" before she leaves, in the tourist areas the trails are good but can be rough, if she is off the beaten path who knows what the trails will be like.

Have you been to a Travel Clinic for "drugs" yet? Antibiotics for GI ( Cipro is no longer doing the job on a lot of bugs in Nepal) as well as topical or ingestable stuff for cuts and scrapes ( Kleflex ?). Are shots up to date. Hopefully you have these all lined up and done.

Take water purification stuff, Aqua Mira works very well, treat all your water, even if it has been "boiled". I have been a few time without problems but last winter I was in the Everest Region and came back sick (rare form of some bug and was sick for months), I treated EVERYTHING and still got sick.

I always have a silk/ light wool scarf, I wrap it around my face to "filter" the air as well as warmth, at higher elevation the air is dry and can be dusty so the Khumbu Cough is a possibility. A couple bags of Cough drops are good to take with you.

Take LOTS of hand sanitizer and toilet paper, you can get paper there but wil be spendy and like sandpaper. The other issue if they are in the brush or staying with the locals it may be sugested they do as the natives do, and that involves NO paper to take care of things, hence the large amounts of hand sanitizer.

Babywipes and /or travel wipes ( REI) are great thing, bathing will be an issues and you can get fairly stinky

You can buy bottled water and depending on where and how high you are is not too expensive.

In emergencies US Hundred dollar bills or large currency Rupies will always get action, so it is not a bad thing to have some extra $$$ just in case.

There is a web site called Trekinfo.com, lots of good information about a lot of places in Nepal.

Have a good time and count on getting sick.

Return to “Gear, Climbing Prep, Safety, etc.”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 25 guests