The changing face of trekking in Nepal
Social media, internet access and new forms of information sources are changing how people make decisions about trekking in Nepal
When I first trekked over the Kongma La many years ago, very few people had even heard of it never mind trekked over it. But when my brother and I (shown above) trekked the 3 Passes in the Everest region in November of 2017, we were one of many groups and individuals that were heading that way. And many (admittedly younger) trekkers were inspired to undertake this challenging crossing because of social media accounts.Trekkers today want to complete the classic treks but also experience some of the interesting, exciting and challenging variations that they see on social media.
When I first trekked in Nepal in 1991, my only source of information was a wonderful guide book, Trekking in Nepal by Steven Bezrucha. Anything outside of that book would have been impossible. And in those days there were no telephones in the Everest region apart from Lukla airport.
That was, of course, long before today’s social media and super-fast mobile devices which allow us to consume enormous amounts of opinions and data, both before we come to Nepal and whilst we are on the trail.
Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, and others allow trekkers to share their journeys in real-time and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. This has resulted, in my recent experience, in a greater willingness to move away from the ‘standard’ itineraries of the guidebooks of yesteryear and follow in the footsteps of other adventurous trekkers. However, there are both advantages and drawbacks to this.
Following a blog written by someone who you don’t know and who may not be experienced (many are not) can clearly lead to potential problems – is the itinerary they suggest sensible? are the timings they show correct or are they just showing off? how does their experience, or lack of, match with yours? did they really carry a 20kg pack?
My recent experience of studying one blog that focused on the 3 Passes trek found it to be useful but actually very different from my experience? does that make it invalid – of course not? but it does mean that many different sources need to be considered, plus local knowledge, before trekkers make decisions.
Of course, the availability of better information about trail conditions, weather, lodges and even where your friends are heading is a great benefit to most trekkers. And for trek leaders, the ability to co-ordinate the trip has become easier.
So, all in all, we are in a better place as long as social media helps you to make a sensible balanced decision that is backed up by other reliable data sources and common sense on the ground.
So be inspired, be adventurous but be sensible!