A diverse and exciting program designed to keep everyone interested and busy throughout their stay, balancing plenty of action, learning, social and free time. This is a sample guide to what you can expect to do on the program. Please note that treks, locations and the order in which the activities occur may be subject to change, due to seasonality, operational requirements or health & safety.
Phase 1: Team Building & Cultural Orientation in Hattiban
Orientation is a bit like your first week at college. After a day or so in Kathmandu to gather everyone together, you will head out to your first base camp in the woods in Hattiban. This village south-west of Kathmandu Valley has plenty of monasteries and lush pine forest to explore, on top of being a prime spot for rock climbing fanatics.
You will get to know the local area, learn local customs and culture, and really get to know your program mates and instructor team. Your Pure Exploration program leader will lead you on tours, challenges, games and practical tasks to help turn you into a team, immerse you in Nepalese culture, and learn how things are done around here! By the end of the week you’ll feel as though you’ve known your program mates for a lifetime, and will be getting used to sharing daily life with them!
Phase 2: Wilderness First Aid & Rock Climbing
Before getting more technical, you will gain first aid knowledge during the 5-day Advanced Wilderness First Aid Course (read more about the experience in this blog). This course is designed for guides of the trekking industries and covers a wide variety of topics, ranging from frostbite and hypothermia to injuries and high altitude sickness.
After gaining all that knowledge, it’s time for an introduction to one of the disciplines that will become your bread and butter for the next twelve weeks: rock climbing! You will get an in-depth briefing, giving you the core skills needed for the training ahead, and start your journey into the vertical world with a week of top rope climbing and anchors in Hattiban. The vertical rock with slight overhangs is suitable for all climbing levels and is a great place to start your climbing adventure.
Your days will be spent on the crags, exploring local temples and monasteries and the stunning scenery that is the southern edge of the Kathmandu Valley. You only need to wander the streets during your travels to Nepal to see the importance of religion in people's daily lives, but it will become even more apparent while visiting the Hindu pilgrimage destination Dakshinkali and mingling with Buddhist monks at the sacred sites in Pharping.
Phase 3: Hiking Introduction in Langtang National Park
After spending a few days in Kathmandu, you will make our way to Langtang National Park, full of ancient forests, snow-capped mountains and fascinating wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for the langur monkeys in the grassy meadows or the Himalayan Tahr on the rugged rocks! And let’s not forget about the cultural highlight of this 10-day hike, the not only beautiful but also holy lake of Gosainkunda. This lake sits at an altitude of 4.380 metres and is a pilgrimage site within the National Park, so you might have to share the trail with some bare-footed sadhus.
In Langtang National Park, you will begin developing technical skills in navigation and bush walking. Hiking, camping, geology, flora and fauna, history and natural interpretation skills all start with a walk and a tent! So you will too. Walking up through Helambu into the Langtang National Park you will learn about map reading, navigation, risk assessment and management, along with leadership skills from an experienced local crew while you backpack through the Himalayas.
You will pass small Tamang and Sherpa villages along your way and have plenty of opportunities to connect with the locals. The Tamang people are the indigenous inhabitants of the Himalayan region of Nepal, and you will get to spend your last night of the trekking in the porter’s village to experience Tamang culture first hand.
Still finding it hard to imagine? Read about a participant’s experience of hiking through Langtang National Park in this blog.
Phase 4: White Water Rescue & Advanced Rock Climbing
After a few days' rest in lakeside Pokhara, we will travel to Bandipur. Bandipur is not only known for being naturally beautiful, but also for preserving its unique history and culture over time. The multitude of traditional wooden Newari architecture makes this village feel like a living museum of Newari culture.
The Kabini River near Bandipur is where you will get into the long-awaited White Water Rescue Course. This 3-day course has been designed for recreational or professional river users who require rescue skills in a white-water environment. You will learn to safely paddle when leading a group, use commonly used river safety equipment, and learn about common river hazards.
This is also the point in the program where we take it up a notch. It’s time to test your limits and push those new skills. We take you to a few more challenging rock climbing locations where you will have to pull together as a team to get through, and where you will really start to see the value in ensuring processes are followed and back-up plans are in place! During this time you will be given an introduction to traditional climbing, lead climbing and multi-pitch sport climbing.
Phase 5: Advanced Trekking through the Annapurna Conservation Area
The 10-day trekking through the Annapurna Conservation Area is a true highlight for our participants. This region is the ultimate trekking destination for avid hikers because of its sheer natural beauty. While you trek through the snow-capped Himalayan mountains, you will also get a sneak peak into the life of the rural mountain people in Nepal. You will pass not only isolated Gurung communities and remote monasteries, but also one of the world’s highest temples. Situated at 3.800 meters, the sacred temple of Muktinath draws both Hindus and Buddhists to the region.
Time in the saddle can’t be beaten in regards to preparation, and you will experience a range of weather conditions, situational scenarios and group simulations in the Annapurna region to prepare you for just about anything. Professional guiding is a little different to what most hobby outdoors people think - a lot more involved than just the skills required for the sport. You will learn about and put into practice risk assessment, leadership theory, nutrition, weather analysis and group dynamics among much, much more. This is the true nuts and bolts of the course where you’ll emerge a true leader, skilled practitioner and confident and enthusiastic outdoor expert.
There’s not a better place than the Annapurna Region to dive deep into your altitude foundations. You will learn to understand the dangers of high altitude expeditions, remote medicine and learn all about the logistics of a 30-person supported trek in the high Himalaya, with porters, guides, cooks etc. Imagine the possibilities that might open up in your future!
Phase 6: Assessments & Program Wrap in Kathmandu
Time to put your knowledge to the test! Buckle down and consolidate your learning in preparation for your trekking and rock climbing assessments, so you can return home with some valuable certifications under your belt. Our participants have a fantastic pass rate so far of 98%, so as long as you do the hours and are fit and healthy and raring to go, you’ll be sweet!
You will then head to bustling Kathmandu to finish your 12-week adventure around Nepal. You will love spending time in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, sitting at the foothills of the mighty Himalayan mountains. It’s a wonderful melting pot of travellers from around the globe, Buddhism and Hinduism religions, beautiful locally sourced gems, and mountaineering culture… It’s the perfect place to end our journey together!
People come on our programs for a number of reasons. If you pass your assessments and have demonstrated a great attitude and potential for guiding, you might want our help to support and assist you in being placed into paid work. Some people simply come for the experience, or to gain some skills between jobs or before starting Uni.
All these options are great, and there is something to be gained for everyone who visits! Check out these great work stories and reviews from recent Adventure Guide Program participants!
We have a number of exciting programs in a range of countries that you may be keen to experience. These include: