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The Adventure Journals

Nepal Needs You: Trekking Deserted Trails

It was the middle of January 2015 when a happy accident saw us bump into action sports photographer Tim Lloyd at an industry event. We quickly started scheming over a travel project he was planning for later that year. The destination - The Khumbu region in eastern Nepal. The plan; a first timers insight into the trekking, climbing and culture that makes Nepal a place that nobody visits just once.

It was April when we spoke with Tim again, this time to firm up the plans and start the ball rolling on the project. Tickets were booked, itineraries drawn up and gear was chosen. We were good to go.

How quickly things change. It was 25th of that month when the earthquake struck. Many will remember the scenes of the 8.1 magnitude quake in acute detail. It is burnt into our minds. The harrowing reports of loss of life, the cultural and historical devastation, the complete destruction of a country so many in the outdoor community care for so strongly.

Once the dust had settled, the after tremors died down, and the humanitarian aid started to trickle through to the worst affected, we turned a little attention back to a project that seemed at best insignificant and at worst, completely impossible. Our gut reaction was to suggest cancelling the trip completely but Tim was the one who suggested the trip should continue as planned. The departure date wasn’t for another seven months, that gave us plenty of time to amend plans and alter arrangements if needed.

As planned, Tim travelled to Nepal in the November that year, seven months after the earthquake struck. We kept the plans loose and the itinerary as flexible as possible. Even after the media coverage we had very little idea what to expect from the trip. Reports of a devastated infrastructure, endless delays, petrol shortages and a lack of guides were rife amongst online forums and social media channels.

Modern media creates a perfect storm in situations like this. It is that combination of an unquenchable thirst for instant news updates and the need to make it newsworthy and sensational that drives a wedge between the reality on the ground and the reportage of the situation. In this case the media were so focused on the destruction and devastation they forgot altogether to mention the millions of people determined to continue with their lives and rebuild their business, their homes and their country. Nepal now finds itself in an interesting conundrum, the media creating a dangerously sharp, double-edged sword. On one side the media interest drives the donations from the public, it drives the NGO’s to invest and it drives governments to back the relief efforts. On the other side it completely severs links to the one thing the Nepali people need now more than ever, tourism.

In the year after the earthquake visitor numbers plummeted, most people canceled trips completely. Tour operators and mountaineering guide outfits shut up shop and concentrated their efforts elsewhere. Some estimate that there were as few as a tenth the number of tourists in Nepal in 2015 to previous years. Even the more conservative estimate that visitors were down by two-thirds is totally devastating to the economy. Guesthouses need visitors, tea shacks need tea drinkers and sherpas need gear to carry and ropes to fix. This is a country totally reliant on tourism for economic prosperity, and the sad fact is; it’s not the aftermath of the earthquake that’s keeping people away. It’s the media reporting and social media commentary that is stopping them booking their flights.

Nepal needs a lot of action before things will get better. It needs the government to stop stalling on construction plans. It needs better distribution of foreign aid. It needs engineers and builders and architects to help plan, develop and rebuild road networks, towns and cultural heritage sites. But most of all, Nepal needs you. Tourism creates jobs, and jobs create hope. The very best thing most of us can do to help Nepal get back on its feet is to book a flight and go there. Go trekking, go climbing, go visit cultural sites and hike through national parks. Pay porters and stay in guesthouses. Buy trekking poles in Thamel and trinkets in Durbar Square. Eat in restaurants and stop for an Everest beer in a bar. Do these things and you and every other person that visits is contributing to help rebuild the country.

Nepal is one of the most jaw-dropping, gob-smacking, eye-rolling places we have been fortunate enough to visit. If you book one trip this year, make it Nepal. You will not regret it.

Images By

Tim Lloyd

Tim is an action sport and adventure lifestyle photographer. Being based in Switzerland he is right at the heart of the action. When he's not photographing free-skiing, trail running and snowboarding he travels worldwide capturing images that inspires others to get out and explore the mountains.

Packs for this Adventure

AirZone Pro+ 35:45
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AzureBlackOxideShaded Spruce

AirZone Pro+ 35:45

35 + 10lt | 68 x 34 x 34cm | 1.65kg

The AirZone Centro adjustable back, side entry, tough fabric and our AdaptiveFit harness and hipbelt make the AirZone Pro+ the perfect pack for 4-season hillwalkers and lightweight trekking enthusiasts.

€139.95
Eclipse ND32
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Eclipse ND32

32lt | 50 x 30 x 28cm | 0.90kg

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AT Kit Bag 90
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AT Kit Bag 90

90lt | 74 x 41 x 36cm | 1.10kg

Our duffels are simple, tough and constructed using minimal seams and durable, abrasion resistant fabrics. Fill it with expedition gear and trust it won't let you down.

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AirZone Pro+ ND 33:40
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AirZone Pro+ ND 33:40

33 + 7lt | 63 x 34 x 31cm | 1.54kg

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Eclipse 25
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Eclipse 25

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Ultralite Stuffsac (Multipack)
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