The Lost Earth Adventures Blog

Nepal End of Season Round Up

Posted on: December 19th, 2018 by Lost Earth Adventures

Trekking Trail and Trip Updates Autumn/Winter 2018-2019

Between September and December this year, Lost Earth Adventures led 14 expeditions throughout Nepal. We trekked through the Annapurna, trotted along the trails to Everest Base Camp, crossed the remote Kang La, crossed the Larkya La twice, the Thorung La on foot and by bike, completed the entire crossing of Langtang to Helambu via Gosainkund Lakes, climbed Pikey Peak, rode the World’s Longest Descent and paddled along the wild rapids of the Marsyangdi river… as well as some others!

Crossing the Larkya La

Autumn 2018 in Numbers

  • 14 successful expeditions
  • Over 1665km trekked
  • 682km biked
  • 75km paddled on rafts and kayaks
  • 6 Guides Trained
  • A whopping 63,452m gained in elevation (that’s 7 times higher than Everest itself)
  • More Dhal Bhats than we can count
  • No Yetis yet but, we live in hope…

The Treks

Each expedition is unique and made up of lots of extraordinary and memorable moments from start to finish and we aim to make our expeditions leave you with a sense of achievement by the time you return home. We do this by helping you tackle any challenges the trails throw at you, whether they’re physical or mental. This season we even managed to help one of our trekkers finish his bike route of the Annapurna Circuit, despite a rather painful dislocated finger.

Walking around the Annapurna Circuit

‘The trek was physically and mentally challenging. However, at no point did we feel unable to complete the trek due to the support given by our guide.’ -Chris, Langtang Valley Trek

Crossing the pass of the Nar Phu Trek

Our open group treks bring together people from a diverse range of backgrounds, from all over the world. By the time our trekkers leave Nepal, they’ve formed lifelong friendships, created unique memories that will last a lifetime, and gained an infinity with the magic and hospitality that makes Nepal such an incredible country. Clients trekked with us from across the UK, Europe, North America and even Australia this season and we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who joined us and helped to make each of our group treks an adventure to remember.

While our open group treks allow us to bring people together to share in the spirit of adventure, our private treks allow us to work our magic and make dreams come true.

Everest by Chopper and Hoofs

Seeing the Himalaya by horseback

Carolyn fulfilled a lifelong dream of trekking to Everest Base Camp, and she did it in style. She took to the trails on our very first Himalayan horse trek, staying in luxury mountain lodges en-route. Along with trotting her way to Everest Base Camp, visiting serene temples and monasteries, and exploring the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar, Carolyn took in the best of the Himalayan scenery from the sky with helicopter flights through the Khumbu region and a brief stop at the summit of Kala Patthar to see the vista from one of the best viewpoints in the entire region.

During a scenic Everest flight in a light aircraft, she also got the chance to see the iconic Mount Everest and Lhotse from a different perspective.

Monks celebrating the Mani Rimdu festival at the Tengboche Monastery

Stopping at the Tengboche Monastery, Carolyn was lucky enough to witness the Mani Rimdu festival. Lasting 19 days, the festival involves a mix of dance, masks and fire rites as well as blessings that are bestowed on those who witness the sacred ceremonies. After taking in the best that the Everest region has to offer, Carolyn headed to the Chitwan National Park to see the majestic Nepalese wildlife. After a busy day of safaris and animal tracking, a jungle lodge was the perfect setting to relax in luxury and watch the sun set on the animals that make the forests of Chitwan their home. Carolyn’s dream trip allowed us to tailor make her ideal trek and help her tick some incredible experiences off her list.
A Nepalese holy man with long hair

Nepal to the Extreme

The season also gave us the chance to create a package full of the best adrenaline rushes that Nepal can offer. Melanie and Derek joined us for a jam-packed itinerary including canyoning, the third highest bungee jump in the world, mountain biking, rafting and paragliding along with some sightseeing and cultural experiences. Not for the faint of heart by any means but the dream trip for thrill seekers the world over.

Rafting down the Marsyangdi riverDespite all the highlights and happy trekkers, the season wasn’t without its hitches. From delayed flights to dislocated fingers, the season highlighted that despite meticulous planning and organisation, adventure travel doesn’t always go quite as smoothly as we’d hope. Nevertheless, our teams did everything possible to smooth out any bumps and our trekkers carried on, had a great time, and went home with even better tales of adventures to regale their friends with.

The Nepalese Team

Crossing the pass of the Manaslu Circuit

Our Nepal team worked tirelessly throughout the season to make everything go smoothly for our trekkers and we couldn’t possibly do what we do without them. A common theme throughout this season was just how helpful and accommodating our local guides are.

At the start of the season we ran a training session for our Nepali guides putting an emphasis on practical training to enhance the theory based knowledge they gained from the Nepali government’s scheme. This focused on first aid, leadership skills and mountaineering skills with special attention given to dealing with snowy conditions, avalanches, glaciers and rock and ice climbing techniques.

Dipak the trekking guide

One consistent shining star in our feedback from this season was our guide Dipak. Dipak was a firm favourite with our trekkers due to his immense knowledge of the local area and the diverse animals and plant life that reside within the region as well as his highly patient and conscientious attitude in looking out for everyone’s wellbeing on the trails.

‘Dipak really looked after us! With his immense knowledge of the area, flora and fauna to making sure health and food wise we were ok every step of the way, along with the support of the Porters they were a great team and he’s an asset to your company! Not only is he a great Guide, but also a great guy.’ – Daniel, Annapurna Circuit Trek

Another popular addition to our guiding team this season is Usha. Usha is one of Nepal’s first female mountain biking guides and has been a huge hit with our bikers this season as well as paving the way for women in adventure sports in Nepal.

‘Usha and Dipak were both excellent guides and I can’t find a fault with your service, or the trip package itself. The advantages of a quality guide and tour company were definitely apparent throughout the trip.’ – Dom, Hike & Bike the Annapurna Circuit

Looking to the Future

We’ve also got good news for the seasons ahead! Nepal has brought an end to its load- shedding electricity system and now has a regular electricity supply. This means people are relying less on diesel generators which is not only a great move for the environment but also means that the haze that used to fill the air in Kathmandu has cleared significantly and that mountain views from Kathmandu are now becoming a regular occurrence. This means future trekkers will be treated to a sneak preview of the legendary Nepalese mountains before they even set off on their trek.

All in all, our autumn 2018 season was the perfect way to finish off the year. We’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year from the whole team at Lost Earth Adventures and we hope to see you on the trail with us in 2019.

Nepal Trekking Guide Training

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by Lost Earth Adventures

Setting New Standards of Mountain Leadership in Nepal

Trekking guides being trained
At Lost Earth Adventures we pride ourselves on having highly skilled, experienced and qualified guides; we are continually investing in training programmes to boost their professional and personal development.

Legally, as a minimum, Nepali trekking guides are required to hold a certification awarded by the Nepalese government in order to lead people on treks. This certification, which is the standard for most leaders, is particularly basic in contrast to equivalent qualifications in the UK and does not adequately address or train guides in navigation, avalanche awareness, rope work or map/compass skills.

We have therefore actively decide to invest further in the professional development of our guides, enabling them to advance their careers and earn above-average wages. This involves delivering annual training programmes to our team of local guides, some of which we have now worked with for over 10 years. We are continually striving to be the safest and most responsible travel company we can be, and this means investing in the skills, development and happiness of our staff.
 
Guides learning map and compass skills

Technical Advice

To support this project, we have come into partnership with Steve Long and are lucky enough to have him serve as our technical and training advisor. Steve is an IFMGA certified Mountain Guide. This is the highest possible certification a guiding professional can hold worldwide and requires exceptional levels of skill and years of training to achieve. Steve also sits on the UIAA’s Training Standards Panel, has written the official UK Mountain Leader handbook and has developed the Nepali Mountain Leader Scheme.

Dawa Mountaineering Technical Advisor Mountains

Steve Long has appointed Nepalese professional mountaineer and Mountain Leader Instructor Dawa Tashi Sherpa to implement and action this course on the ground. Dawa has decades of experience leading treks to some of the most remote parts of Nepal and possesses a wealth of guiding knowledge.

Our Training

The technical expertise and knowledge we have with Steve Long and Dawa Tashi Sherpa, along with our drive to make things better for our guides, means we are able to provide annual training programmes to our staff.

First aid training with local staff

What does this entail?
Our guides are only employed after they have been vetted and interviewed by us and spent some time working as an assistant. As an assistant they will start to show their leadership and people skills and our client favourites are then selected to undergo the training course. It is a very practical course, which differs from the heavy theory-based scheme issued by the government. The programme focuses on first aid; leadership skills; mountaineering skills required for snow, avalanches and glaciers and simple rock and ice climbing which is recommended for trek leaders in high-altitude regions. Once they have proven their ability in these areas they will be qualified to lead our treks and perhaps even have the chance to work internationally at some point.

Why is this important for our clients?
It goes without saying that when heading to a remote, high-altitude destination such as the Himalaya, safety is of highest priority. Over the years this region has seen numerous avoidable tragic accidents, and not just on off-the-beaten-track routes. This is because guides have made basic errors in judgement. We pride ourselves at Lost Earth Adventures as being a mountain and Himalayan specialist, not just a travel agent.

Nepali staffWe are experts in Himalayan safety; this is our priority. We want you to enjoy every step of your journey with us and have a fantastic time, but we also want you to be confident in the knowledge that you could not be in safer hands.

Our method is not to make money by sending clients to a company with whom we have no contact. We have a duty of care to both our clients and our staff and spend a lot of time each year selecting our guides and meeting them in person. We are a company full of honest, hard-working people and we share a genuine passion for the work we do. You’re safety is also backed up by a 24/7 operations centre staffed with experienced expedition planners and leaders.

Meet the Team/See what we do

You can read all about our guides on our guides page, our technical advisors on our technical advisors page and see what we’re all out doing in the field on our Facebook page.

UK Staff

 

Reflecting on a Summer of Adventure

Posted on: October 14th, 2018 by Lost Earth Adventures

Emily Rowntree, Expedition Coordinator at Lost Earth Adventures HQ, reflects on her experience out of the office.

In the midst of the heatwave that took Britain by storm this summer, I was offered the opportunity to get out in the field for a day (literally) and accompany one of our groups on a trip. Putting the emails on pause, I donned my walking boots and set out for a full day’s adventure; climbing and gorge walking in the eastern Yorkshire Dales.

Abseiling lesson

Rolling hills and picturesque villages patchworked with dry-stone walls and an abundance of sheep are the images usually conjured up by the Yorkshire Dales. The iconic Yorkshire 3 Peaks and the Tour de Yorkshire have made this spot a mecca for hikers and cyclists alike, but the National Park’s offerings of adrenaline-inducing adventure are relatively untapped. Yorkshire’s distinct limestone formations and winding rural becks and waterfalls make this National Park a delightfully unique spot for an adventure.

forest Nidderdale

The first activity of the day was a rock climbing and abseiling taster session, and what better setting for it than Brimham Rocks, a National Trust site featuring a labyrinth of dramatic, glacially-formed slabs of millstone grit. At a whopping 300 million years old, the rocks have been continually shaped by the elements into weird and wonderful shapes that, whilst naturally formed, look almost impossible. The Dancing Bear, Druid’s Writing Desk and The Sphinx are among some of the features. In light of all this, I was pretty excited to get kitted up and start scaling these natural wonders.
 

Brimham Rocks

We met our instructor Craig in the car park, who briefed us and told us what we’d be doing for the day. A scramble to warm up, an introduction to the technicalities of bouldering and a series of varied roped climbs set the agenda for the following three hours. We headed off towards the aptly named “Car Park Boulders” for a clamber and a crawl to get the blood flowing. Craig pointed out some landmarks on the horizon and showed us some ancient fossils in the rock.

Once the juices were flowing it was time to boot up and face the crag. This meant grappling not only with the rock but also with the fact that I wasn’t quite as nimble as some of the 14-17 year olds that made up the rest of my group. The challenge was to successfully traverse a narrow horizontal ridge on Cubic Block without touching the ground, which involved jamming your toes into the tiny crevices of the rock.


Abseiling at Brimham Rocks

After this technical task I was keen to get roped into my harness and try my hand (or rather my foot) at smearing on a slab just round the corner. Smearing is a technique that climbers use when the rock itself has enough friction that holds are not necessarily required. It involves pressing the sole of your climbing shoe to the rock and and walking up like you would stairs. We spent an hour or so practising our smearing and belaying techniques whilst taking in the stunning scenery around us.
Swimming in a river

Our final ascent took us back round to Cubic Block, where Craig set up a top rope and pointed out various routes we could take. I was surprised at just how different climbing outdoors was to climbing at an indoor wall. Natural formations require a much wider variety of technique, and which ones you decide to employ at any given time will vary depending on the type of rock, the natural features available to you and weather. Safe to say climbing outdoors is a very different ball game and one I can’t wait to explore further.
Gorge scrambling

After a short, beautiful drive over to Studfold Campsite and some delicious homemade cake from their Nidderdale Way Cafe, I wriggled into a wetsuit and helmet for my next adventure of the day. Master-of-all-trades Craig led us through some fields and towards the entrance of the gorge. The sun was poking its head through the trees and the water looked wonderfully refreshing. Geared up in helmets, buoyancy aids and a thick 5mm wetsuit, there was no need to worry about getting cold, hitting rocks or going underwater for any longer than a few seconds, so all that was left to do was enjoy in Craig’s safe hands!
Children gorge walking

We scrambled, crawled, and jumped over rocks and waterfalls, pausing occasionally to slide down natural chutes and slides. The feeling of being on a completely naturally-formed outdoor waterslide was exhilarating. The adrenaline was flowing, spirits were soaring and we couldn’t get enough. “More slides!” shouted the kids in the group (and myself, of course).

We hadn’t seen it all though; Craig led us up to a plunge pool surrounded by trees where he instructed us to wait as he set up a line. We then climbed up a ladder to take on a 10ft jump off a cliff into the pool. The parents enjoyed making a splash just as much as their 11-year-olds and double go’s were had by everyone. There is something really refreshing about doing something just for fun, just for the sheer joy of it, and every member of our group came out of that pool grinning from ear to ear, buzzing from an epic, wet and wild adventure.


Adventure group

Limbs happily exhausted, I ended my day with a beer and a large helping of fish and chips and reflected on my day of adventure. My experience was testament to the fact that real, epic outdoor adventure can be found right on our doorstep in the UK and I can’t wait to get back out there again.

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