Preparing for your first Himalayan trek

“I have been to the Himalayas before and another trip to the inner Himalayas should not be much different in terms of ‘preparation’, so what if this time it is a trek and not a ride or drive!” 

Me being the lazy-ass that I am, this is what I wanted to believe. I did not want to take the pain of doing the ‘preparation for a Himalayan trek’ thing, nothing more than packing my backpack. But then, a trek is not a ride or drive where you sit idle and the horses below you take you places you want to go, without you having to do much (if any) work.

hampta pass trekking photo

Trekking through uneven terrain – Hampta Pass

In a trek, the only thing that carry you forward are your legs and for them to be able to do that, you need to prepare them! So, that is what I did. I went to the Hampta pass trek which is a sub-15000 ft trek so it does not ask for a very high level of preparation however, you need to be fit enough to walk at a decent pace and for 5-6 hours in a day.

Walk on snow

Walk on snow

Some reading and asking around helped me and the first thing I did was I stopped taking the lift and started using the stairs. Long walks and jogs in the morning also helped but I was not able to do these early morning activities much, all thanks to the late-riser that I am!

I had always enjoyed long walks since my childhood so I started my preparation just a week before the trek but for anyone who has not been an active walker. Start talking walks (30-40 mins) a day and try doing 2 – 3 kilometers in half an hour. Other forms of cardio exercises also are recommended but as I was somewhat confident about myself, I skipped those 😀 (which is not recommended!).

hampta pass trekking photos

Walking with a heavy backpack

Another important thing to be kept in mind is, walking freely and with no luggage with you and walking with a 10-12 kg backpack lugging on your back, that too on the mountains are two totally different things. The recommended way of preparing for this is to actually carry a backpack on your back while walking but this idea is sure to invite strange looks from others. So, what I did was, I used to carry a heavy backpack (heavier than the one I was planning to carry on the trek) to office daily and took the stairs with it on my back.

The another funny thing I did was, I used to carry 20 liter water (of-course filled ones) cans from the ground-floor to my place on the third floor and back. As funny as it might sound, doing this helped me comfortably carry two bags almost all the time for the entire duration of the trek.

I knew that even if I did half of what I actually did as part of the preparation, I would have been able to complete the trek but the reason I took all the pain of this carrying and walking and taking the stairs was because I wanted to enjoy the trek and finish it comfortably and not just somehow get to the other end. At the end of the day, I guess I made a good decision.

Are you going on a trek in the coming days or months and have doubts about the preparation part? Leave me a comment below and I will be more than happy to share my experience.

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24 thoughts on “Preparing for your first Himalayan trek

  1. This brought a smile to my face(: … Yeah I used to have motivation to get up early and walk and try jogging a year and a half back. Now I do nothing but pace on indoors and compared to others I notice I eat very less stll I think outdoors itself all the outdoor elements give you energy to continue. You did not seem to have done so much preparation but atleast you were motivated to do this much(: … Good you had fun, and not much struggle, it is inspiring. I completely can see how it will fell to carry a backpack and go up… but think carry when your trekking just what you need, like water, camera, purse and the big bag leave it somewhere.. or do you need to carry all along, that will be difficult. Lovely to read this(:… goodday.

    • Thanks!

      Glad to have brought a smile on your face 🙂 .
      I actually did not do a lot in terms of physical preparation for this one but I guess for the upcoming ones, I will have to 😐 .

  2. Well, I have cycled around 7500 km or more some many States throughtout India, from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andra Pradesh, Orissa for a year. I had to prepare a lot for my cycle trip especially with the diet. I cycle 60 km a day if I can and do all that to spread awareness on Gender Freedom from violence, telling people to keep healthy attitude towards gender. It is lot of fun cycling on highways, meeting new people, some of them have helped with stay and food as ofcourse a cyclist who goes on this sort of mission can’t have all things so well planned on logistics. Well nice to read your trek to Himalayas and how you prepared for it, I know it needs preparation going on unknown cycling trips myself. Keep doing nice things.

  3. Wow! Rajiv. There are some places you just can’t get enough. Himalayas is one such place and nothing helps you to delve into its beauty as much as trek would do. It is savoring the place inch by inch and watching it move past step by step. The picture with the mist/fog/clouds behind is enough to talk for days. I could feel the nip in the air. Awesome pic.Pretty nice tips to get ready for a trek. Hope to find it useful sometime 🙂


    • Thanks sooo much Katie, so glad to know that you too ‘feel’ the Himalayas. There is no place like the Himalayas and nothing can be more true!

      You very truly said, trekking is THE best way to see and feel the majestic mountains and I wish you good luck, may you to be in the laps of the Himalayas soon

  4. One of my friends once said, “trekking is like meditation”, it sets your mind free, it make you rejuvenated and it makes you feel the pulse of life, way better. And, when it is the Great Himalayas, all these effects are multiplied several times 🙂 A very nice read…enjoyed it, especially liked the way you’ve prepared yourself to carry heavy bags.. 🙂

    • Whatever your friend had said is true to each word! There’s nothing like witnessing and feeling, experiencing the Himalayas from within. It’s so much more than the bike rides and caged-in-car trips I have done in the Himalayas.

      I am glad that you liked these introductory posts about the trek. I hope you like the upcoming detailed posts too.


    • Well, because you live on the second floor and not on the third, you would actually need 30 liter cans Kaul sir

      Okay, on a serious note.. You can skip that part. I did that because I wanted to carry a backpack to see how well I perform. What you can do is, give the backpack to the pony walas. That’s what we did with Ruchi’s backpack.

      Actually, I carried her’s and left mine for the ponies 😉

  5. Nice,writeup.
    How abt a post about,what all you packed for the trip?
    How much was unitised.And your thoughts on what would be ideal packing setup.

    • Absolutely Doc saab! Actually that’s going to be the next upcoming post.. Keep an eye. 🙂
      And yes, whatever we took, almost everything was utilised 😉

  6. I have been telling myself since 2012 to get fit! Guess where I turned up without being too fit? Everest Base Camp in Nepal and I just managed to make it to the other side. And I was not even carrying my bag!

    • Damn!! That’s awesome!! I have kept EBC for 2016 and you can consider this trek (and the couple more coming up soon) as a warm-up for that. I hope I will be able to make it to the other side as well.

      If there is anything I am scared about the EBC, its the KTM-Lukla flight!!!

      Did you do gokyo as well?

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  9. Earlier days I never knew that we need to prepare for a trek. We used to go just like that and come back with pain here and there. But still I am not that disciplined to do preparation for a trek. Even though you are lazy, you are disciplined 😀

    • The treks which we can do here or anywhere else are totally different, actually can’t even be compared to those of the mighty Himalayas and hence, a lazy ass like me too had to do the ‘preparation’!

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