How fit do I need to be to trek?

Though we won't claim that hiking on trails throughout Nepal is easy, we will stand by our assertion that any guided trek we offer can be accomplished by anyone who is reasonably fit and has the willpower to push themselves to the top of the hill. Part of the satisfaction experienced while trekking in Nepal comes from the exertion required to complete the journey and the feelings of accomplishment that come in turn. Expect to be challenged - especially at higher altitudes, where the oxygen level is lower and the cardiovascular system is under extra stress. We do make the best attempt at pacing ourselves along the journey to assure we are soaking in all the scenery and enjoying our hike to it's greatest potential.

When is the best time to trek in Nepal?

Autumn (early October through late November) is the most popular time of year to trek in Nepal due to the high visibility and ideal weather conditions. This means more trekkers on the trails, higher prices, and occasionally creative sleeping arrangements in the teahouses and lodges. For those who can tolerate excessively cold nights, the winter months between December and February can provide for some beautifully crisp days. Be aware that heavy snow can make some of the higher altitude routes impassible, though the Everest region routes usually remain accessible year-round. The spring season between March and May is the second most popular time to trek in Nepal. Though cloud formations and the occasional downpour effect visibility during this time, amazing mountain views are still plenty, and the countryside is in bloom. During the monsoon season (June through September) the heat can be stifling at lower altitudes, especially in the Terai. Short and intense bursts of rainfall are common at this time. Though not the most popular time to visit, the jungles are exceptionally lush and the weather in higher altitudes can be pleasant this time of year.

What is a typical day of trekking like?

The routine of walking and tending to one's most basic survival needs on the trail is a therapeutic experience for many people. Replacing all of life's miniscule problems with the simple challenges of keeping yourself well and continuing to move can do wonders to clear the mind. Typically, our days on the trail start with an early-morning wake up, followed by tea or coffee and breakfast. After packing our things we set out for a walk of typically 3-4 hours before breaking for lunch. Usually we will reach our final destination for the day within a few hours of having lunch - this gives us each evening to relax and explore all of the amazing stops along our way. Evenings usually consist of dinner at a teahouse or lodge, a game of cards or a bit of story-telling, and a welcome trip to bed. Though camping-style accommodations can be used at your request, we try to frequent locally-owned teahouses for our bedding and meals. The accommodations furnished by local teahouses and lodges have been improving over the years. Conditions are generally clean, and luxuries such as attached baths are available in many places. Blankets and sheets are standard, and those who spend all of their nights in teahouses will not need to carry a sleeping bag, but may opt for a simple silk or cotton sheet liner. Breakfasts include coffee or tea, cereals, breads, and eggs. Potato, rice, and noodle dishes, along with the ubiquitous dal bhat or momo are usually on the menu for lunch and dinner, in addition to international items which have been slowly making an appearance on the more popular treks such as pizza and burritos.

What do I need to bring for a trek?

The most important things to consider when packing for a trek are staying warm and dry. Layered outfits designed to breathe and wick away moisture are ideal. If you will be trekking at higher altitudes or during the cold season, a pair of lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking under layers is the best to start your outfit with. Add some insulating layers like fleece or wool, lightweight layers for warm days, and a water-repellent outer layer or a down jacket if you plan on spending a lot of time at higher altitudes. Don't forget a good pair of trekking boots and socks and a brimmed hat to keep the sun out of your eyes. If your group is planning on trekking with porters, you'll only need to carry a few water bottles, snacks, and personal items - tents, kitchen equipment, and other necessities will be carried by your crew. Laundry facilities will be available at the stopovers during your trek. Don't forget a good torch light, sunglasses, sleeping bag liner (for teahouse treks sleeping bags are not needed), personal medications, sun-screen, foot-care items like talcum powder and Moleskin, toothbrush, soap, etc. First-aid kits containing medicines typically used on the trails are readily available in Kathmandu, as well as equipment for all levels of trekking or anything else you may forget or just don't want to carry through the airport Contact us for a more detailed packing list prior to your departure.

Medical considerations?

Though immunizations are not required by Nepalese immigrations or Mountain Sisters, those who are concerned may consider Cholera, Meningitis, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, and Gamma Globulin. It would behoove you to visit your doctor for a full check-up before departing for your adventure in Nepal. Medical insurance is also handy - we don't require that you have it, and though our guides are trained in first-aid and equipped to handle any medical transpiration from a bug bite to an air-evacuation, costs like ambulance and hospital charges can not be covered by Mountain Sisters - it's best to have your own insurer, just in case.

What about the orphanage?

We're so glad you asked! Mitrata-Nepal children's home is located on a quiet street in Dallu, Kathmandu. Being connected with the Mitrata home means Mountain Sisters is not your average trekking company - MSTE is like the business-leg of the Mitrata children's home. As the orphans near the end of their basic schooling and begin planning for higher education, many of them are blessed to receive the help of sponsors to finance their studies. Whether having received sponsorship or not, the children are encouraged to start thinking about ways to fund their future studies - the goal is to assist our children in learning how to become self-dependent. Mountain Sisters gives the Mitrata children opportunities to gain knowledge and work experience in Nepal's tourism industry through participating in organized treks, guided tours, and administrative duties within the company. This gives the children the chance to communicate with an international clientele and to learn the responsibility involved in performing job-related duties, all of which contribute to supporting these orphan's self-confidence as they transition between their lives at the Mitrata home and the working world.

We encourage all of our clients to visit the Mitrata home in Kathmandu during your stay in Nepal. Whether you choose to spend a few days volunteering or just an afternoon, witnessing the positive environment and greeting the smiling faces at our home will surely leave you feeling uplifted. If you plan on visiting for an afternoon, Saturday is the best time to visit, when the children are out of school and you can join in for a Madal or Sarangi lesson or an art or dance class. If you've got a green thumb, we have a garden full of greens and a chicken coop to keep you busy, or if you're aspiring to be a guru you may find fulfillment serving as a teacher's aid in one of our classrooms.