5 Reasons why you should trek with a local guide.
1. A local trekking guide makes your trek more fun!
I have heard trekkers say — “It felt like a flock of sheep being herded up and down the mountains”. Now thats not a great feeling to have and there is a lot left unsaid in that one statement, in terms of how trekkers are treated, the commercialisation of the mountains and a lot more.
It felt like a flock of sheep being herded up and down the mountains
In contrast, when you trek with a local guide he looks at you as a personal guest who has come to have a good time. If you see snow and feel like building a snow-man, he may just join in and give you some expert tips on how to carve the nose. If you start a friendly snow fight, he may jump in as a referee and call out the rough ones. All the time aware of the mountains ridges and cliffs so your safety isn’t compromised. Which just isn’t possible when you go with a trekking company, because it may get insanely dangerous as controlling a large herd is never easy!
As an example look at this picture with sherpafeet local guide, Ravi Thakur, with a bunch of sherpafeet trekkers on the Hampta Circle trek.
When you trek with a local guide, you may end up playing cricket on the beautiful meadows! A dream come true for many. Or you may just climb trees and explore the place.
2. He makes your trek more safe.
It goes without saying that on the mountains you should always take the advice of the local people. The local people know the mountains the best.
They know the safest routes and the best times to take those routes. They can predict weather and danger more realistically. They know which risks can be taken and which should be avoided. They strike the best balance between safety and fun!
They strike the best balance between safety and fun!
That is the reason government agencies and trekking companies employ locals to do all the heavy lifting on the mountains, from the grunt work to the most important search and rescue work. So it goes without saying when you trek with a local guide you are in safe hands, because he will treat you as his personal guest and your safety will be of paramount importance.
Local guides working for themselves are usually more motivated and enthusiastic compared to local guides who are tied with companies. sherpafeet encourages local guides to work for themselves, their families and communities.
3. He also makes your trek more comfortable.
A trekking guide runs his own show, he doesn’t have to check with a manager to change itinerary and plans. He wouldn’t mind walking the extra distance if the trekkers felt like, or getting a vehicle pick up done 2 miles ahead of the scheduled place.
A trek guide can make changes to the food menu if told in advance, some of them may also proactively check what you would prefer to eat. Trekking is not a sport for people seeking physical comfort, yet when the trekking guide shows flexibility to accommodate trekkers requests it makes one feel like at home.
4. A local trekking guide is a great help!
A local guide may help you in unexpected ways. Recently a group of trekkers landed in Manali and took the services of a local guide listed on sherpafeet. The local guide, Ravi Thakur helped the trekkers do their pre-trek shopping, he took them to the right shops to purchase trekking poles.
The trekkers were on a low budget and did not have proper trekking shoes, so he inspected their shoes and made individual recommendations, most of the trekkers did not need to purchase new shoes.
It works out cheaper trekking with a local guide
There are more number of ways a local guide can help trekkers, by giving a personal touch. Sometimes these small gestures of help, mean a lot more, especially if you are in a new or not very known place.
5. A local trekking guide tells you about the local culture
If you are inclined to listen about the local culture, a local guide has a lot to offer. There are fascinating tales waiting to be told, stories about the mountains and gods. Stories about their local festivals, their food and their marriage rituals. As an example read the about section of Rajesh Panwar, a local guide from Agora village.
A local guide may share this only if he trusts the trekker will respect what he says about his culture and not be judgmental about it.