Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 53

Thread: Carrying your own pack

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    84

    Default Carrying your own pack

    Namaste. Just thought id pass on my experience trekking without a guide or porter. While I was dead set on doing it, now that im back if there was one thing I did wrong this trip it was carrying my own pack. I made it from Phaplu to Dingboche however the days were very hard. I attracted a lot of attention carrying my own pack, the Nepalis wondered why I had no guide or porter and assumed that I had been to Nepal many times rather than this trip being my first. and worried what would happen if I got sick along the way. Other trekkers thought the same. In five weeks I saw just a handful of others carrying their own packs. While I knew I could do it I have to agree with some friends who have been to Nepal numerous times who said "Why would you? carry your own pack " For less than $10 dollars you can enjoy the scenery so much more, give locals employment which is very important, and have someone knowledgeable about local customs, the peaks, etc. In the lodges the guides other trekkers had waited on them and helped serve meals a very nice touch. I spent much of my time in teahouses sitting in the kitchen with guides and porters and really enjoyed the time with them. I never came down with a headache my entire time however I did get a serious case of the Khumbu cough which turned into an upper respiratory infection at Dingboche. I spent three nights there then went to the clinic in Pheriche where they put me on antibiotics and told me I was well acclimatized and that I could continue to ascend slowly. After spending the night in Dzugla I was so weak I had to descend back to Pheriche where they told me I was beginning to get Pulmonary Edema. I had to go on oxygen and descend to Pangboche. I didnt start to feel better till I got to Namche, Carrying the pack while ill didnt help. I was surprised that during peak season it was practically impossible to find locals who were avaialble as guides or porters There are no trekking agencies in Namche and the few locals who were available didnt appear as experienced or desirable as those which other trekkers had. I also head stories about guides or porters who werent hired through an agency being less than honest. I think carrying the pack may have weakend me a bit making me more susceptible to illness. In Namche I decided rather than spending time recovering and losing precious time trying to get back up to Lobuche or Gokyo, to leave the Khumbu and go to Pokhara. I recovered nicely in warm Pokahara and did a five day Ghandruk, Poon Hill, Ghorepani Trek with a porter hired through an agency ,who spoke some english. What a difference it made. For 600 rupees a day I had it so much easier and I was helping the locals which I really wanted to do. Everyone is different of course and I did like the workout I got carrying the pack but I would seriously consider having at least a porter hired through an agency especially If you want to do some high altitude treks. So its a given, next time I return to Nepal, which will be soon, Ill have a porter gude. Hope this helps. Avsfan
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8482199...7609271568849/
    Last edited by mtncanyon; 4th December 2008 at 12:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,285

    Default Re: Carrying your own pack

    I've carried my own pack on 9 treks in Nepal, not once have I had a local (other than a porter looking for business) tell me they thought it was strange, nor have I ever had another trekker say the same.

    Fortunately Nepal caters to all: people who over pack and lump 20kgs round the hills carrying too much crap; people who like being herded in small groups where they are herded from one place to the next and aren't really very self-sufficient in the mountains; people who like to employ good friends of theirs and enjoy their guides company and take it easy; people who are independent but still want the convenience of hiring staff; people who are perfectly capable of carrying their own gear but like to put something back and hire a porter and finally people who are independent and are quite capable of carrying their own stuff, pack light and look after themselves.

    Often there is a - one-size fits all - approach from some trekkers. "Everyone should hire a porter," "you should never carry your own stuff," "you should only go with a guide" "you should never trek alone," "you should always/never use trekking poles" "you should never/always trek in trainers."

    Quite frankly I find these dictats quite strange. One of the joys of the mountains is freedom to do what you want, to be away from the rules and regulations of daily life and to just do want you want to do when and how you want to do it. Long may it be possible for everyone to hike, walk, climb, travel and trek without someone telling you how you should do it based only on their own experience.

    Perhaps you attracted attention form the locals because you looked so knackered carrying your own pack? Not everyone suffers as much nor attracts that attention. What would be best for you may not be best for everyone else.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Escher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Carrying your own pack

    I agree, to each their own. It didnt work as well for me as it did for you. I thought Id share my experience though. Definitely dont feel that you have to have a porter in order to have a great time trekking. I had an incredible time despite the pack. You wont know till you try!! avsfan
    Last edited by mtncanyon; 4th December 2008 at 01:55 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    2,851

    Default Re: Carrying your own pack

    Quote Originally Posted by mtncanyon
    I agree, to each their own. It didnt work as well for me as it did for you. I thought Id share my experience though. Definitely dont feel that you have to have a porter in order to have a great time trekking. I had an incredible time despite the pack. You wont know till you try!! avsfan
    Indeed there are more opinions on this than you care to nominate, and occasionally this board has seen some heated discussion. I fully agree that to each their own...
    I always employ a porter-guide, or if I go with a group, we get a guide and some porters.

    I am indeed lazy, don't like to carry more than 5 kg if trekking above 4000m altitude, which seems to happen on every bloomin trek...
    Secondly I like the companionship of the Nepalis on trek with me.

    There is a porter who's been with me on 5 treks, a couple of them on three. Plus, Santa, the guide I usually employ has been on trek with me more than he probably cares to remember...
    yakshaver

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Carrying your own pack

    Most importantly I found out during peak season it is very difficult to find locals available at least from Namche on up so if you do want one its better to get one before you arrive in the Khumbu. It wont be cheaper to arrange it once you leave Kathmandu.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    formally New Zealand, now Australia
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Carrying your own pack

    Quote Originally Posted by mtncanyon
    Most importantly I found out during peak season it is very difficult to find locals available at least from Namche on up so if you do want one its better to get one before you arrive in the Khumbu. It wont be cheaper to arrange it once you leave Kathmandu.
    that would be right. we wanted one extra porter coming back to Lukla (I did too much shopping !) from Namche and we couldn't find one.the ones we spoke to just didn't want to do it. we didn't really need one and we carried our own gear back down but we did enjoy their company. They are such incredible people

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    formally New Zealand, now Australia
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Carrying your own pack

    Perhaps you attracted attention form the locals because you looked so knackered carrying your own pack? Not everyone suffers as much nor attracts that attention. What would be best for you may not be best for everyone else. (QUOTE)

    maybe he just attracted attention because he is such a nice friendly guy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Carrying your own pack

    I got back from a trip there a short while ago and we carried our own packs and I must say I also found that we attracted a bit of attention from the locals, always friendly though, wondering why no guide or porter. Perhaps we too looked like the novices that we were. On the days when we went over the passes, we hired a porter for the morning to carry Dad's pack to the top of the pass. That made it much easier for him. It was no probalem to find a porter for half a day in Chukkung and Gokyo but it was a bit harder in Lobuche. Sometimes the trekking groups stop in places for a couple of days, especially Gokyo and sometimes Lobuche and while all the clients are going up Gokyo Ri their porters are sitting bored playing cards all day and were pretty willing to make some extra money for a day. That's what we found anyway.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    380

    Smile Re: Carrying your own pack

    I am too old and heavy to carry my own pack even though my pack is half the size of the average trekker's. I carry bird books, bins and stuff like that but I have loads of pockets all over me. So yes, always get someone to do the carrying because they need the money. And anyway I much prefer to hike with Nepalese than with trekkers.

    As far as packs go. Most trekkers carry too much junk anyway. Huge packs teetering over their heads. What's all that for? Kitchin sinks in there?

    Layers, minimum health kit and a book. Thats it. And a bit of patchouli.

  10. #10

    Talking Re: Carrying your own pack

    Nameste, well I've been trekking Nepal since the 70's, long before the teahouse trekking got set up. I've never had a local ask me why I carried my own gear. I've found the exact opposite, the trail folk such as porters consider one who can't hump his load kind of a sissy. They are constantly trying to get trekkers to try their load at rest stops just to see what real loads are all about. Unbelievable the weight they carry and ususally barefoot or in flip-flops. But if you can't carry your load at least you help the economy. I prefer the freedom of now guide or porter. Happy trails

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •