Terra Firma quality treks at fair local economy prices
Nepal Friends of Terra Firma (NFTF)are the local trekking professionals who
worked with Terra Firma over the years to achieve their unrivalled reputation -
all the TF know-how for perfect acclimatization itineraries delivered with NFTF
absolute professionalism. On these treks NFTF assure you full TF standards
but now at excellent value local prices directly benefiting the local economy.
Nepal lodge trekking
This is a general guide to life on the trail - general good advice
about how to get the most out of your trek, mostly just common
sense for you to stay healthy and happy.
Let’s start with the walk itself:
uphill! Please take it easy - this is definitely not a race! There is nothing
to gain from a heroic start if you exhaust yourself after the first few days. Nepal trekking is about
pacing yourself, letting yourself adapt naturally. Just completing your trek will definitely make
you be wonderfully fitter so there is no need to push it.
The acclimatization process will make you more than normally
breathless on the uphill sections which are predominant on the outward trek. If you follow this
simple advice you can minimise this: keep a deliberately slow steady rhythm; take steps half the
size you think you can; deep breathe the pure mountain air and always resist the temptation to
speed up even if you can - keep some energy in reserve. Find your own sustainable pace. Zigzag
on the path to minimise gradient - Sherpas do this instinctively from much experience! Take more
short breaks, not fewer long ones - keep your rhythm. Enjoy the scenery - it’s amazing and what
you are here for!
downhill! Please take it very easy - any muscular ache from uphill will
ease after a few stiff mornings, but knee damage from jolting downhill too fast could end your
trek or make it unnecessarily painful. So keep the brakes on! Porters bound downhill on rubber legs
- please don’t try to copy them, their training is very specialised! Ease yourself downhill as gently
as you can, don’t just drop. Stop and rest your knees regularly. Enjoy the scenery just as much.
pathfinding These treks are all on good well made and used trails and as the
Sherpa leader will generally stay with the centre of the group its difficult to get lost. Though Nepal
trekking is perfectly safe its still best to walk as a group, at least within sight of each other. Groups
with particularly fast and slow members might want to book an extra leader to bring up the rear. Or
simply agree that the faster walkers regularly let the others catch up. Our Sherpas have wonderful
shepherding instincts; you would have to work very hard to get lost - walking on past lunch or
night stops is your best bet - make sure you have agreed where to stop or just wait for the leader.
This is the key to all safe trekking in the Himalaya. Over the many years Terra Firma’s Andy
Baylis researched the absolutely best acclimatization itineraries on our routes based on his
unrivalled first hand experience and expertise. We now base all our treks on these sound principles.
Its the difference between enjoying getting there and maybe not getting there at all.
Understanding what acclimatization is and why we need good
itineraries and methods to maximize it will help to alleviate any concerns. In principle it is quite
simple: as we gain altitude there is a relative reduction in the amount of oxygen for the same
volume of air simply due to reduction in gravity pressure - there are fewer oxygen molecules in each
lung-full we breathe. Acclimatization is the natural process where the body compensates by
producing more red blood cells, which bring the oxygen levels in the blood back toward normal.
Clearly this is a gradual process which will vary in rate for each individual. Some are hardly
affected at all, others might start slowly but acclimatize better in the end. Our job is to prescribe
itineraries and beneficial methods that will safely stimulate the natural process for all our clients.
So for example our itineraries will often ‘climb high’ stimulating adaption rates during the day,
but descend to ‘sleep low’, allowing the body to fully recover at night - important for general rest
and appetite. This pattern of gradually increasing ascents alternated with beneficial descents is the
basis of the best acclimatization. You can confidently leave itinerary perfection to our expertise, but
its nice to know that there are also some simple do’s and dont’s by which you can maximize your
own enjoyment and ensure you’ll go the distance.
Do communicate. Make sure your group and leader know you are
OK. A withdrawn trekker may be in need of some attention. Some people may get a little headache
as they adapt, maybe a little off their food or restless at night. Normally nothing to worry about,
but keep it out in the open, don’t keep it to yourself to avoid inconvenience. Let the leaders experience
decide if its anything more serious - it’s what he’s trained for, and he’ll know what to do.
Do drink copious quantities of water - we are aiming for 5 litres
a day! Trust us, dehydration through perspiration and increased breathing rate seriously inhibits
acclimatization, and is far the most common cause of altitude problems.
Don’t stress your body by over exertion - stick to the common
sense guidelines in the section above. Think of acclimatization as an extra natural function you
are asking your body to do - you need to keep enough in reserve to allocate your body resources to
performing this function well.
Don’t drink any alcohol on the outward trek. It seriously impairs
the ability to acclimatise, and confuses the symptoms of AMS. If you see anyone in the lodge
drinking they are either locals, acclimatized and on the way down or fools.
diamox? You may have heard of Diamox, aka Acetazolamide, originally
developed as a diuretic, but pragmatically found to genuinely aid acclimatization by increasing
the absorption of oxygen by the blood. As trekking at altitude is not a competition it can’t be called
‘performance enhancing’, so, as you are here to enjoy and medical research confirms no adverse
effects (other than urinating more as intended and tingly fingers) it’s your choice, and cheaply
available in Kathmandu pharmacies. As a preventative, Terra Firma’s own research confirms that
half a 250mg tablet, taken each morning and evening, is just as effective as a whole one and
halves the side effects, starting the night before the trek, and ending back below the treeline.
Nepal has a depth of sublime and hospitable culture which actually derives from its fabulous
landscape - the Himalayas necessitate diverse but integrated and mutually respectful cultures. This
is its secret to warmly welcoming visitors whilst retained its own cultural integrity so remarkably
well. Here are our recommendations for you to do your bit in keeping it so.
sacred places The Himalayas are punctuated with religious sites: monasteries,
carved mani-stone and prayer-wheel walls; prayer flags and cairns marking significant locations.
Please treat these with the same respect as you would a religious site at home. Carvings and chortens
on the trail itself should always be passed on the left, spiralling the written prayers heavenward!
Please remove your shoes before entering any monastery or shrine. It is traditional to donate a few
rupees on visiting religious sites.
dress Please dress modestly, particularly near villages and religious
sites. For women, this means covered down to the knees, and not too tight and revealing. For men,
much the same applies, keep your shirt on and your shorts long.
begging Giving to beggars, even children asking for sweets and pens,
simply perpetuates the custom. Just don’t do it, under any guile or guise. If you would like to
helpfully contribute something, seek out the school master or head lama of the monastery and make
a donation, or put it in the official monastery donation box. Beware of bogus trailside petitions for
funds for this and that ‘project’. If in doubt, ask your guide to establish authenticity. Especially do
not give out random medicine to anyone on the trail, tell them to go to the nearest health-post, most
of which provide free medicine to the local population.
photography Please ask before taking photographs of local people or religious
images. For people, simple gesticulation between camera and subject with a polite questioning look
should receive a response. Never give gratuities for photographs - this is simply another form of
There is a fine line between the economic benefits of visitors to the Himalayas and over-stretching
its limited resources. Here are some areas where our awareness can help.
forests Conservation of firewood is a major issue in Nepal, development
to renewable biomass is some way off. The wood burning stove is the traditional cooking method and
huddling around it on cold nights is one of the perks for staff of high altitude lodges. We continue
to encourage use of kerosene stoves but in the meantime here are some simple things to do your bit:
• Co-ordinate food orders - ordering the same thing uses less fuel
• Have hot showers only in lodges with solar panels
rubbish Always a problem where packaged things are being taken into an
environment that cannot properly dispose of them. Burnable rubbish can be disposed of at lodges,
but its easy enough to take our own out again in our kitbag and dispose of it back in Kathmandu.
washing clothes Best done at the traditional water spouts in villages, rather than
in streams. Use biodegradable soap and pour dirty water well away from any water source.
toilets Use the toilets at the lodges wherever possible, they are getting
better all the time. If you get caught short, try to find somewhere discreet, well away from any
water source. Burn the toilet paper, please don’t let it blow around the countryside, and bury solids
as best as possible with loose soil or rocks.
drinking water All lodges now stock bottled water carried in by porters. However
there is no provision for removing the empty plastic bottles and they are the single biggest pollution
problem in these areas. If you want a clear conscience, you should carry your own water bottle, fill
up with beautiful Himalayan water at villages and on the trail, and treat it with iodine for any
invisible bugs. You can add neutralising tablets (or ‘tang’ orange powder, available in Kathmandu)
if you like, but only after the iodine has done its job (1 iodine tablet per litre takes half an hour).
You are only allowed 15kg weight allowance, plus hand luggage, on the internal flights in Nepal.
You’ll find this is plenty, about what will fit in the kitbag we provide, without rock samples or
libraries. If you have more, you’ve got too much gear - leave it at the hotel in Kathmandu. Local
flight Airport Tax is paid personally, currently less than £2.
& tipping the trek staff:
All NFTF staff are paid proper wages, well equipped and insured, but it is still traditional for the
group to give a tip to the team at the end of the trek, as a sign of appreciation for their efforts. This is
generally what is considered appropriate in total, split between the group. It comes to about £30 per
trekker for a group of 4, a bit less if the group is larger:
sherpa leader about NRs 6000 per week of the trek
porters about NRs 2000 per week, each
The tip is intended as an encouragement, so only tip if staff have
been as good, helpful and entertaining as we would expect. You can feel free to reduce it, or give
nothing at all, to anyone who has not pulled their weight or has not behaved as you would like.
We sincerely doubt you will feel this but to believe in our teams as the very best in the Himalaya we
must only give credit where it is due. The Sherpa leader will arrange a get-together at the end of the
trek, and the tips are handed out by a member of the group, in an envelope or just folded in paper.
A bit of a party is inevitable and you might want to buy them a few drinks in exchange for Sherpa
Have a really good trek. Be sure to give us your feed-back at the end, we are always
happy to hear any ideas for improvements.
And, please, always ask your Sherpa leader if you have a problem you think can be
solved on route, they are very resourceful and will always be willing to help.
happy trekking NFTF your friends in Nepal
Armo kuuluu vain ihmisille, ei instituutioille. Pääministeri Anneli Jäätteenmäen korvat olivat tulleet hänelle kalliiksi. Jäätteenmäki oli noussut keväällä 2003 hallituksen johtoon vaalikampanjalla, jossa keskeinen rooli oli salaisilla Irak-papereilla. Niillä hän oli mielikuvissa kytkenyt pääministeri Paavo Lipposen ja Sdp:n Yhdysvaltojen johtamaan Irak-haukkojen rintamaan. Til
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