how porters do what they do

For the record, I was a porter previously and so I do understand their plight. More often than not, porters carry more than half of their total body weight over great distance of ups and downs. But let’s take a closer look at the science behind their somewhat amazing feat.

If you look at the lever diagram below, you’ll see that the way porters carry weight on their forehead resembles a simple class 1 lever. Load and effort are moving in the same direction to counterbalance one another while the fulcrum remains at the centre. Porters are able to do what they do because the fulcrum (their back) is nearer to their load, resulting in a greater distance between the effort and the fulcrum as compared to the load and the fulcrum. As such, this way of carrying loads require lesser effort as opposed to carrying the same amount of weight on a backpack!

Apparently this is not unique to Nepal alone, it is found in many other cultures as well.

By the way, check out Patagonia’s Tumpline (the sling slung over the forehead) attached to a regular backpack!

Now you know!


just a glimpse of everest base camp trek

You should be here! The beauty of this trek lies in the views from Cho La, Kala Pattar (Mt Everest is in sight!) and Island Peak (Imja Tse) as well as the lack of internet connectivity at times. The lack of internet connectivity = freedom from the woes of life? We’re at Namche Bazaar right now and hope to return to Lukla by tomorrow.

thame-langden-renjo la-gokyo

As predicted, we’ve seen an increase in snow these couple of days and it has slow us down slightly but the view is still extremely breathtaking! We’re supposed to take about 7 hours to trek from Langden to Gokyo via Renjo la but we took about 9 hours instead. Yesterday was acclimatization day at Langden and we had the opportunity to explore Nakpa valley.

yeti yeti yeti!

I’m back on the road, again! It’s Day 3 of trekking for my client (a fine lad indeed!) from Australia! We’re at Namche Bazaar (about 3400m) right now and we intend to do a return day trek north to Khumjung (about 3800m, a 5 hours return day trek) and back. Khumjung monastery, allegedly, contains the skull (or possibly the scalp) of a yeti! I’m actually sceptical about the existence of the yeti. If I actually encounter the yeti and survived to tell the tale, I’ll convince the yeti to come back to Kathmandu! Some sources have said that the ‘scalp’ is actually made from the skin of a serow, a type of antelope (who knows for sure?!). Those who stay on the main Everest Base Camp trek will, typically, acclimatize in Namche Bazaar for one day (not inclusive of the trekking day from Phakding to Namche Bazaar) by trekking to either Thame (also about 3800m, a 6 hours return day trek) or Khumjung. And since we’re not taking the typical EBC trail; our plan is to reach EBC via Renjo pass, Gokyo and Chola pass, we have decided on Khumjung for today because we’d be trekking to Thame tomorrow. If time permits, we’ll be heading to Island Peak via Dingboche and ChhuKung on our way back to Lukla. Expected duration of trek: 20 days.

The clouds seem to suggest that they may snow soon. We’ll see.

altitude illness & acclimatization

I’ve been a trekking guide for 6 years now but I’m aware that I do not know enough about altitude illness (the fancy terms used can be quite a mouthful!). To make matters worse, more often than not, victims of altitude illness may not provide sufficient information about how they are feeling or they may, at times, mask the intensity/frequency of their symptoms. I wanted to provide concise and reliable information that can be easily understood and well I found it! But before I share the link I want to direct your attention specifically to 1. the symptoms of the 3 syndromes of altitude illness, 2. the recommended medicines and their specific uses, 3. how preexisting medical conditions can affect your susceptibility to altitude illness and 4. tips for acclimatization. Remember prevention is always better than cure!

Now you know!