There aren’t many places in the world more renown for mountain climbing than Nepal. Although there are many phenomenal regions across the planet with remarkable mountaineering, nothing much beats the Himalaya. The Andes and the Rocky Mountains both rival the Himalaya as climbing destinations in the Western Hemisphere and although far less adventurous in the sense of wilderness the Alps remain the birthplace of the sport of mountaineering (and Shakespeare actually gave us the word ‘mountaineering’ itself), nothing can beat Nepal.
Many people are put off climbing high into the Himalaya because of the knowledge that they are the world’s highest peaks and that can intimidate anyone. But believe it or not, you don’t have to be a world class climber in order to climb a mountain higher than 6000 metres!
In Nepal there is a classification of mountains called the trekking peaks. These are the peaks that are considered feasible even the inexperienced climber, but nevertheless offer incredible vistas—and nonpareil bragging rights!—for the more experienced. Don’t let the name trekking peak misled you though; while it’s true that the summits of these mountains are often reached simply by trekking to the top, they are still not without their challenges, including climbing on some of the more technical ones.
For both environmental and safety reasons, it’s impossible to go without a guide (which also helps the local economy). There are numerous trekking guides in Nepal who are happy to sherpa people up the mountains, while also introducing them to the local cultures that one finds along the way.
The easiest—and perhaps only—method of getting there is flying into Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. While there are the occasional direct flights to Kathmandu, most people coming from Europe or the United States will need to change planes in India. From Kathmandu itself, it’s another short flight on a small plane or a bus journey of a couple of hours to reach the most popular places.
For someone who was lucky enough to have done a couple of these treks himself, I have to say that the experience will be one that you take to your grave. And it will probably be one that still brings you smiles once you’re there.