Risks Associated with Trekking in Nepal

Nepalorama Trekking Pvt. Ltd. will do everything possible within the budget of the trip to ensure that our trips give you a rewarding and relatively safe experience. However you must acknowledge that adventure travel, treks, trek-climbs and expeditions are all inherently dangerous and involve some degree of risk. The same elements that contribute to the adventure of trekking or climbing can also contribute to the loss or damage to gear, injury or illness to self, or in extreme cases, can sometimes result in fatality.

While travelling, trekking and/or trek-climbing within Nepal we believe there are risks that you should be aware of:

Natural hazards

Nepal is a high-risk country for natural hazards including earthquakes, floods, landslides, fires and drought, which can cause injury, trauma, or death. The hazards with the greatest humanitarian impact are earthquakes and floods. Nepal is categorized into three geographical and ecological zones: Terai, hill and mountain areas. The middle hills and higher mountains are highly susceptible to secondary earthquake effects, such as landslides, which can be exacerbated by excessive erosion of hill slopes and rock falls as well as heavy rainfall.

Ground transport

We travel in public transport (tourist and local bus) and local hired transport and as Nepal is still a developing country, cars and buses may be old and poorly maintained. Speeding, low driving standards and poor road conditions contribute to the risk of accidents. However the risk of accidents is lowered as vehicles generally travel at relatively slow speeds.

Domestic flights

Domestic flights between Kathmandu/Ramechhap and Lukla, and between Jomsom and Pokhara are in small 16-19 seats twin-engine propeller aircraft piloted by local pilots. Flying at these elevations can be difficult and flying to the airstrip is visual. For this reason pilots will not take off unless there is good clear weather, which could result in delays and cancellations but we believe safety is more important. If you are concerned about flying, it is possible to travel on/off road to and from your trekking destination. Note, these options may extend the length of your trip and will need to be organised in advance; please contact us for more details.


On all of the tours we operate, we at times stay in basic accommodations that are built to no known standards. It is part of the fun of this type of travel but it does come with risk. You need to accept the fact that there may be defects with the structure of the buildings we stay in, for example uneven floors, cracks in windows, no fire extinguishers, and electrical fittings that are not fitted to Western standards. Travel in any underdeveloped nation requires you to be more aware and cautious of your surroundings. It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with the general layout of accommodation so as to become aware of any specific risks or lack of safety features.


While trekking and trek-climbing you should carry adequate water, sun protection and clothing appropriate to the conditions. We provide an equipment list and will answer any questions about gear that you may have prior to the trek and on the trail. Equipment such as down jackets, sleeping bags, crampons and walking poles can be hired or purchased in Kathmandu or Pokhara. You will be traversing rugged terrain: high mountain passes, snow and ice, wind exposed and rough trails, and crossing streams and rivers by rough bridges or slippery rocks. There is a risk of falling, rock fall, landslides and collapsing bridges.


Close contact with any wild and domestic animal including the yaks and horses that carry bags and supplies on the trails should be avoided for your safety. Nepal has bears, tigers, leopards and other animals however the risk of an incident is extremely low.

Drinking water

Water should be purified or treated before drinking. This includes ALL tap water in cities, towns and villages, and all stream water. Avoid drinks with ice, unless you are certain it is safe to drink. Cleaning your hands before eating and after toilet functions is important in preventing gastroenteritis and other illness.

Altitude sickness

You will travel, trek and/or climb to extreme altitudes. Altitude sickness (Acute Mountain Sickness: AMS) is a common risk which can be harmful or even life threatening if ignored. It can affect anyone, even the young and physically fit. Altitude sickness occurs when your body gains altitude too quickly and does not have enough time to acclimatise/adjust to the lower amounts of oxygen and changes in air pressure. Most people suffer some form of mild altitude sickness. Fortunately, most people can acclimatise to high altitudes, but not everyone. Initial symptoms of mild altitude sickness include: headaches, lethargy, insomnia, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. The key is to ascend slowly, over a period of days and to drink plenty of water. Altitude sickness can develop into High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), which can be fatal if not treated quickly. Treatment is rapid descent to a lower altitude.

Medical care

Western-standard hospital care is often not available although there is an international hospital in Kathmandu. While trekking and travelling you may be several hours to several days from any medical facility. If you require urgent medical attention during your trek or trek-climb, helicopter rescue is available and it is important that you are insured for this.

General safety

Our guides will use their expertise and do everything in their power to maximise safety for the group, however trek participants are responsible for their own safety and must show consideration for the safety of other members at all times.