Nepal Bans Solo Trekking from the 1st of April 2023. This is a sad day as we never want to see access to mountains restricted. Is this a good or bad idea? Certainly there are pro’s and con’s to both, we have to look at the bigger picture. Ultimately we will all look at this through different lenses.
This is a Challenging Situation for Sure
I have been going to Nepal for twenty years and on multiple occasions have seen distraught parents, searching for their children who came to Nepal for an adventure, and never came home. I have also met hundreds of people who are self-sufficient in the mountains, and can easily hike and trek independently. People from all over the world travel to and live in Nepal so they can keep exploring their magical valleys, trails and mountains on their own.
Fast Changing Environment
However, things have drastically changed in the region over the years. You used to see only experienced hikers and climbers in the region, many of them traveling without guides, and they were completely self-sufficient. However, now, there are far greater numbers of people traveling in the region and more of them are tourists, not trekkers. They are not self sufficient in the outdoors and therefore need the assistance of experienced guides.
Vetting People’s Experience
Because of this changing dynamic, the needs are changing in the region. When people are in the mountains that do not have the correct training, preparation or experience, they need assistance. Unfortunately, there is no way that the Nepalese Government or Mountaineering Association would be able to vet all the people who want to come into the mountains on their own. Therefore, they have to make a blanket policy that will negatively affect those people who want to enter the region fully prepared and experienced to take to the trails solo.
The Government of Nepal is making this change for a few reasons in my opinion:
1). They want to regulate how people are moving in the mountains
2). They want to try and stop putting so much pressure on the very limited rescue operations in the mountains.
3). They are trying to help gain employment for the local people. Tourism is a main source of income for the people of Nepal and by requiring guides, they are ensuring jobs for more people.
4). They are trying to regulate the trekking/mountaineering companies in the region to make sure they are all authorized to operate in the mountains.
In the mountains it is important to know your limits and not be shown them. As a person who loves the mountains and visiting the mountain regions of the world, it is extremely disappointing that it has come to this. Never do we want to see people’s access to the mountains restricted, however, the situation in Nepal is very unique, and changes do need to be made.
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