FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q1. What sort of people does KSP need for treks?
KSP needs motivated people who are able and keen to assist with new and continuing aid projects. People with medical, construction, and engineering skills are especially useful.
Q2. Do I have to have trekked in Nepal before?
Q3. How fit do I have to be?
You need to be comfortable with walking up to 8 hours per day.
Q4. How long is a typical trek?
Treks vary according to the time people have available and the work to be done, but 3-5 weeks is typical.
Q5. What’s a typical program?
Treks start and finish in Kathmandu. Usually we spend 1-3 days in Kathmandu organising and arranging supplies. Then we fly to Biratnagar and take a bus, jeep, or plane to Taplejung. From Taplejung, it takes about 1 week to trek to Ghunsa. We then spend time working in Ghunsa and nearby Folay, 2-3 days or more, depending on what needs doing. We might spend a few days trekking to Kangchenjunga Base Camp and back as rest and recreation. Then we spend another week returning to Biratnagar and Kathmandu. Or, we may spend time visiting the villages where KSP's seven vaccine fridges are installed.
Q6. How long do we walk each day?
We trek 4-8 hours each day.
Q7. What do I need to carry?
You need carry only a day pack containing water, camera, etc. All personal and camping gear is carried by porters.
Q8. Is altitude a problem?
Altitude is not generally a problem. Ghunsa is at 11,000 feet (3300m) and most people have no difficulty acclimatising during the week spent trekking there, although you may suffer initially from slight headaches and have difficulty sleeping. Above Ghunsa (to Kangchenjunga Base Camp) we limit our rate of ascent to no more than 2000 feet (600m) per day.
Q9. What work might I be expected to do?
The work varies, but typical tasks on recent treks have been auditing medical supplies, introducing new teaching materials to schools, building repair work, electrical wiring, etc.
Q10. What sort of food to we eat?
Mostly western-modified Indian food, occasional chicken, dahl baht, potatoes, eggs, chapatis, vegetables.
Q11. What’s the level of ‘comfort’?
Most tents accommodate two people and have foam mattresses. There’s usually a dining tent, complete with dining table and chairs. There’s always a clean and private toilet tent.
Q12. What would I need to take?
You must have a warm sleeping bag, a down jacket, hiking clothes and something else to wear in the evenings, light boots and sandals, and water bottles, plus toiletries, etc. KSP will discuss this with you well in advance.
Q13. What about my camera?
Your camera must have sufficient memory and sufficient batteries for the trek (or charging equipment). There are no cyber cafes beyond Kathmandu. You should discuss this with KSP before leaving.
Q14. What does KSP provide?
KSP finances only the projects, not the treks. Camping equipment and porters, etc, are hired in Nepal at trekkers’ expense.
Q15. How much does it cost?
The trek costs about $US100 per day (2007 figure), but it varies with the number of trekkers. This includes transport within Nepal and food, but not beer (which is widely available) or souvenirs. Trekkers pay their own fares into and out of Kathmandu.
Q16. When are the treks?
Treks are either pre-monsoon (March-May) or post-monsoon (September-December).
Q17. Who leads the treks and how many people are there in the party?
Treks are usually led by Rob Rowlands, a New Zealand / American mountaineer and skier. Rob has considerable outdoors experience and (to 2007) has led eight KSP treks to the Kangchenjunga region. Usually there are 2-6 trekkers.
Q18. Can you recommend some background reading?
Living on the edge: The winter ascent of Kangchenjunga (Macmillan, 1987).
Trekking in Nepal: A Traveler's Guide (The Mountaineer's Books, 1997).
Kangchenjunga: A Trekker's Guide. (Cicerone Press, 2001)
Q19. What dangers and annoyances are there?
You might suffer from altitude, mild diarrhoea, insects bites, persistent cough, disrupted flights and bus schedules.
Q20. What is the political situation in Nepal now?
In 2008, the Maoists gained a majority in the constitutent assembly, stripped the king of his powers, and declared Nepal a republic. The country became more stable then than it had been for many years, although local issues persist. For example, Madheshi protests affect the Terai region.
Q21. More information?