Unfortunately, there are so many stories about simply tragic events happening in Nepal with trekkers that want to climb the beautiful Himalaya, but end up seriously injured or even dead. The truth is that trekking in all backcountry settings, like in Nepal, is dangerous. This is mainly because of the lack of organized emergency locations and the unknown dangers of nature.
If you want to be safe during your winter trek in Himalaya, you should seriously consider the following important advice.
Outfitter Or DIY?
One of the main decisions you have to make is whether you organize your trek with the use of an outfitter or you take the DIY approach. This is a choice that has to be made based on how comfortable you are on a mountain and your experience.
You can choose to organize your trip with an experienced Western company that gives you access to knowledgeable staff, extensive medical kits, excellent logistics, certified guides, and satellite communication. Alternatively, you can go to a reputable local company. In this case, there variations in emergency preparedness, guide standards, and logistics. The other option is to trek alone.
Do your own research and then look for recommendations.
Is A Porter Or A Guide Needed?
When you opt for the DIY route, you need to learn how to recognize the big difference between Nepal guides and porters. The porter does not really have a lot of equipment or mountain knowledge. They will carry your bags but cannot make decisions. They also do not have a responsibility when it comes to your safety.
The guide has extensive mountain experience, is trained in first aid, and is certified. Much more safety is offered by a certified guide, but costs are higher.
Get Ready To Deal With The Altitude
When you trek in the Himalaya, you end up faced with extreme altitudes. For instance, the famous Annapurna Circuit will take you to a height of over 18000 feet. Just look at the US, and you will see that the 2 highest peaks, the ones that reach such an altitude, are located in Alaska.
The fact that you have to deal with such altitudes means that you have to be prepared. It is because of related causes that people die every single year. Trekkers have to understand exactly how to recognize, treat, and avoid high-altitude illness.
Be Aware Of Weather Forecasts
A guide company always pays thousands to get reports and forecasts from experienced meteorologists. This is done in order to protect clients that go trekking at a high altitude in the Himalaya. If you go the DIY route, you can use alternative free internet forecasts. They are also pretty good. No matter what you choose, make sure that you have access to a weather forecast since this helps you to protect yourself.
Arrange Global Communications
If you want to be safe while you trek the Himalaya, good communications are mandatory. The satellite phone is a tool that you do need. Fortunately, rentals that include prepaid minutes are widely available in Nepal, and they are highly affordable.
Another thing that you have to do is to keep people up to date with your location, people that can help you to initiate a rescue plan in the event an emergency happens. Inmarsat and Thuraya are the very best satellite networks you could consider.
With all the things mentioned above, at the end of the day, the vital thing to consider when referring to mountain safety is that you are the final person to make a decision. You will trek during winter on the Himalaya, and you will enjoy the incredible scenery. This means it is very easy to forget how difficult it is to deal with very high mountains.
Stay conservative when you make decisions. When your or a teammate’s health, acclimatization, and weather are not what you are ready for, you should play things safe. The best thing that you can do is to descend.