Steve Wroe is Peregrine's trekking expert. He's been with the company since 1995-1996 when he started leading treks in Asia (back before we started using local leaders). Steve went on his first Nepal trek in 1997 and has been going back ever since.
We asked Steve to give us some tips and hints for preparing to trek, and also what to do while you're on a trek in the Himalayas.
Training tips for trekking:
- Make sure your boots have been broken in, even the Gore-Tex ones. Do a long walk in the hills to make sure they don’t hurt your feet
- Increasing aerobic capacity and strength in your leg and back muscles will make your trek much more enjoyable. Jogging, walking up and down stairs and core strength training all helps
On the trek
- Once you are on the trek, take your time. Your body needs time to adjust to the altitude. If you go too fast you could develop altitude sickness which will end your trek. If you go at a pace that you can continue conversation comfortably you should be OK. The Himalayas are one of the most beautiful places in the world – you may as well slow down and enjoy the scenery
- Make sure you keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You dehydrate much faster at higher altitudes
- Wear two pairs of socks while trekking – thin liners on the inside and thicker hiking socks over them. Any friction tends to occur between the pairs of socks so you’re far less likely to get blisters. Plus you can just wash the liners at the end of the day as they absorb sweat but dry very quickly.
Peregrine first started trekking in Nepal in 1978, and a lot has changed. However some things still remain the same. Safety always has been and will continue to be Peregrine's number one priority. We ensure that your support team is well equipped to handle any situation and we've got fantastic equipment including portable altitude chambers that were not around in the old days.
We asked Steve to tell us a few of the ways that trekking has changed in Nepal since he started with Peregrine:
- The number of visitors to Nepal has increased since Peregrine began trekking in 1978, however the amount of trekkers has not increased significantly since the '90s. So, while the trails are generally not too crowded, Kathmandu is much busier
- When our first treks began in Nepal, camping was the accommodation with bush toilets and buckets of icy water to wash. But we now use the lodge facilities. The lodges are warm, comfortable, have an inside toilet and a communal lounge area with a cast iron heater in the middle. Getting a hot shower is occasionally possible and there are even a few lodges with en-suite facilities!
- The equipment that trekkers use now is generally lighter and backpacks are more comfortable. The trekking gear now uses Gore-Tex and Marino wool which helps control odour
- The guides and porters used to wear thongs or bare feet when Peregrine first started trekking in this area. Now they are all fitted out in Gore-Tex tops, jackets, pants, boots, hats sunglasses etc. Many people living in Nepal don't have sunglasses which can lead to eye damage as they get older.