Typical Trekking TeamIf this is your first trek in Nepal, particularly a camping trek, one of your initial impressions will be of amazement at the number of staff involved (including yaks or ponies when appropriate) - they always far outnumber the members of the trekking group! Consider, though, that we have to carry with us, from Kathmandu, most of the foodstuffs for the entire trek. Where possible, we buy fresh, local meat and vegetables. It is our policy to use kerosene for all our cooking on trek, and this, too, has to be carried - the longer the trek the greater the number of porters needed.
Your Trek Organizer, or your chief Guide (Sirdar), is in overall charge of the holiday, and will look after all your needs, both on the trek, and when you are staying in Kathmandu, Pokhara or elsewhere. It is to him/her that you should go with any problems or questions regarding your holiday, and he/she will do everything to sort them out. Responsible for all the logistical organization of trekking staff and the hire of porters, the Guide supervises campsites, sorts out the porters' loads, allocates the tasks to Assistant guides, and lots more! The success of any trek depends largely on the chief Guide's personality and diplomacy in staff management. The Assistants help the chief Guide in all tasks and have the job of actually guiding your trek. Although there is a set itinerary, unseen factors, such as trail conditions, often mean that minor variations in the route have to be made. It is the Assistant guides' job to work out any variations and then to show you the way. In addition they assist the Chief guide in all campsite duties.
It might be argued that the Cook is the most important member of staff on a camping trek. He/she has enormous responsibility in buying the foodstuffs before setting out from Kathmandu, and cooking delicious meals on a couple of small and recalcitrant camp stoves, as well as organising the tasks for, and looking after the welfare of, his Kitchen staff. The Kitchen crew work directly under the Cook, not only assisting with the preparation of meals but also transporting the cooking equipment and the foodstuffs. The Kitchen boys are 'senior crew' and do all the meal serving as well as bringing you morning tea to your tent - 'bed tea'.
The Porters, working directly under the Chief guide, are responsible for transporting your kit bags and camp equipment. They carry large loads and their job officially finishes once camp is reached each day. A trek is a wonderful way to strike up an acquaintance with local people, and the relatively close contact with your trekking crew affords a rare opportunity to gain some insight into Nepalese life. Although the staff may at first seem shy, take the chance to smile your appreciation of all that they do for you - the smiles you will receive in return will warm your hearts. We are all part of the same trekking group - let's enjoy each other's company - we may never meet again!