In short, yes, absolutely.
Unless you are a well experienced mountaineer who has trekked in the Himalayas before I would say don’t even think about trekking solo!
The trek itself wasn’t overly strenuous in terms of dangerous terrain but in the mountains you are at the mercy of the ever changing weather.
One day we were walking beneath crisp blue skies and all of a sudden we were scrambling into our wet weather gear as a huge cloud began to engulf us and the track completely before we descended beneath it to be rained upon.
After walking for seven hours you will want to just follow your patient guide to your teahouse and have them organise your dinner with the local cooks.
I chose to do a private tour, just my dad, our guide, our porter and myself as my Dad had recently been sick and we wanted to do it at our own pace and not with a group.
Most groups we passed seem to be having a great time and for those travelling alone, sharing such an extreme experience can earn life long friendships with those you meet.
Most importantly, our guide took our blood pressure everyday and monitored us closely which certainly gave me peace of mind. I felt well looked after by Private Expeditions.
There was a trekker who went missing while we were three quarters of the way to base camp, he was trekking alone and went out for his acclimatisation day. Unfortunately did not return to the tea house that night where his belongings were and the tea house had to put out an emergency call.
There were posters on the trees as we continued our trek and met with Nepali search parties who were looking for him. Sadly, I never found out whether he was found or survived.
I am not saying this is what happens when you don’t have a guide, but when it’s just yourself amongst the mountains you can be at the mercy of many things beyond your knowledge and awareness.
Our guide was an incredible source of knowledge and we learnt so much from him about his Nepali Mountain life. We trekked in 2014 and were on our way to Base Camp when the 16 Sherpas were killed by the serac on the Khumbu Glacier, it was also the year they decided to shutdown the Summit expeditions.
We were kept up to date with the local information by our guide and he managed to get us on the plane down from Lukla when our flight was basically cancelled!
You can fly to Lukla and hire a guide if you do not want to organise it prior.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SHERPA AND A GUIDE?
Most people think Sherpa is another term for a guide or porter but they are, in fact, an ethnic community who live on the mountain at high altitudes, with about 155 thousand individuals.
Biologists have even studied Sherpas genealogy and found they produce fewer red blood cells at high altitude.
Many Sherpa’s lead expeditions but not all are involved in this business and due to their incredible mountain knowledge and physique they are highly sought after for summit expeditions.
Guides simple do the same thing but do not originate from the Sherpa tribe.
INTERESTED IN BUYING PRINTS?
I have been on the road for ten years accumulating an absurd number of images that I would love to share.
Head over to my photography site, IndiaParishPhotography.com to browse prints from across the globe.
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