Being a Responsible Trekker

Much has been said about the deteriorating environment of the Himalaya. Over that past few years, due to effort by many overseas expeditions and organizations such as the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee and Nepal Mountaineering Association, education programmes and clean-up campaigns have, to a large extent, solved many of the problems. The eco-system of the high Himalaya is a very fragile and is easily put out of balance. Certain initiatives within the National Park area such as the banning of glass bottles had resulted in a reduction of the amount of non-biodegradable rubbish being left behind. Much more needs to be done, however, particularly by the trekkers themselves. The KEEP code of trekking conduct is a perfect example.

The Model Trekker:

  1. Cooking dal bhaat takes less fuel. Order the same meals at the same time as other trekkers.
  2. Bring adequate warm clothes so as not to depend on fires for warmth. See that staff and porters are properly outfitted.
  3. Please don’t give to begging children. Pay fair prices for food, lodging and services. Buying local products benefits hill economies, but buying antiques and artifacts robs Nepal of its culture.
  4. Carry a plastic bag for litter. Pack out all non-biodegradables and burn papers discreetly.
  5. For women a mid-calf length skirt or loose pants, and for men pants or knee-length shorts (long pants in monasteries) are respectful of local customs.
  6. Use your hand. Don’t hike too high too fast. And don’t trek alone (women or men). Register your name with TIMS, or your embassy/ consulate.
  7. Be respectful when photographing people. Always ask first, try to establish a friendly rapport and please don’t pay money.
  8. Burn all toilet paper, and be careful to avoid sacred places when relieving yourself.
  9. No nudity when bathing please. Women should wear a loongi (sarong) covering them from chest to knees.
  10. Don’t put soaps (even bio-degradable) in streams. Throw soapy water away from streams. Take hot showers only when the water is heated by no-wood or fuel saving stoves.
  11. Don’t buy bottled water on trek. Instead, use a canteen or water bottle, and add iodine to treat drinking water.
  12. Stick to main trails to prevent erosion