The Himalayas are a hiker’s dream. It’s taken us the better part of sixteen years to grow roots there – but it’s been worth the planning. By now most people know that we’re a small Kiwi company based in New Zealand. We run hiking and multi-sport adventure trips here in New Zealand as well as in Peru, Patagonia, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Last year we introduced Active Himalayas and in November we ran our first trip to the Annapurna Sanctuary (the trip is called the ‘Machapuchare’). It was a resounding success and it generated a lot of energy and excitement for Active staff and past and future Active travelers. Thankfully, we’ve established beyond doubt that each time we venture to a new destination, one that embodies all the Active ingredients, our loyal Active travelers always put their hands up to come along for the ride, to take their 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th trip with us!
Starting guided hiking and adventure trips in a new destination, with exciting itineraries, fresh branding, reliable suppliers and experienced guides is no mean feat. But we’ve known that the Nepalese, and in particular the Sherpa communities, have reserved a special place for Kiwis, welcoming us whole-heartedly and this is largely thanks to the late Sir Edmund Hillary. A legendary figure in New Zealand and amongst the global mountaineering and humanitarian communities, Sir Ed worked tirelessly to develop schools, hospitals and airstrips in remote Himalayan communities. To honor his legacy and continue to ensure that we can bring positive change to the communities and environment that we interact with, we donate part of the profits of every trip we run to the Sir Edmund Hillary Himalayan Trust.
So, four months on from our inaugural Annapurna Sanctuary trip (and a second Machapuchare in December) it’s time to hit the trails again, but this time trekking to Everest Base Camp – the quintessential experience for any keen hiker. Known as the ‘Chomolungma‘, this 19-day epic adventure starts in Kathmandu before taking a short flight to Lukla in the Himalayas, the gateway to the Solu Khumbu region. Over the next ten days hikers gradually ascend the classic trail, through small villages, up river gorges and through terraced crop fields. There is an altitude gain of 2,564metres (8,412 ft) between Lukla and Everest Base Camp, so acclimatization is paramount, which is why there are a number of rest days or days when the group will descend slightly to sleep at a lower elevation.
Our lucky lead guide on this Everest Base Camp trek is Dan Keys, an experienced Kiwi adventurer who has guided for Active New Zealand for years. He’s been to Nepal numerous times and has developed a passion for Nepalese culture which he’s excited about sharing with his groups. As this is written, Dan is winging his way to Kathmandu to start making preparations for the inaugural EBC trip, which is full with fifteen hikers and begins on March 19th. The four seasons are very distinct in Nepal and March marks the beginning of spring, a great time to hike, with rhododendrons and alpine meadows in full bloom. The chill from winter lingers at the higher altitudes, but when the sun is out there is a sense of life re-awakening.
We’ll keep you posted on the adventures of the first Everest Base camp trek, so be sure to follow our Active Himalayas Facebook page for regular updates on this trip and others.
As a source of inspiration, I’ll leave you with a quote from Henry Miller, (one of Dan Key’s favourites) “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.“