Nepal Backpacking

Students explore cultural and religious sites while in Kathmandu, Nepal. -Bryan Hinderberger


The Khumbu region of Nepal is one of the special mountain areas in the world. Your course begins with cultural immersion in Kathmandu, Nepal’s largest city and one of the world’s oldest cultural crossroads. While here, we will visit the ancient Buddhist temple of Swayambhunath, the Buddhist shrine Bodhnath, the Hindu temple Pashupatinath as well as the historic Durbar Square. From Kathmandu, we fly to Lukla and start our backpacking trip.

We begin the hike visiting the Namche Bazaar and Tengboche Monastery on our way up the Khumbu Valley, taking time to learn about the Nepali language, share time with the Sherpa people and discover the beauty of the Sherpa culture. As we continue on to the high point of our course at Kala Patar (18,192ft/5545m), we will visit the Himalayan Rescue Association clinic in Pheriche as a supplement to learning about acclimatization and other high altitude trekking considerations. Next, our travels will take us over Cho La Pass into Gokyo, from where we will fly back to Kathmandu. This course in Nepal is an excellent educational opportunity for students looking to safely and effectively lead trekking groups to altitude while learning about the unique culture of the region.

THE INSTRUCTORS AND GUIDES OF IWLS are widely recognized as some of the very best in their field and have practical leadership experience from around the globe. They are well trained and have an uncommon enthusiasm for sharing their skill and knowledge, borne out of a passion for outdoor exploration.

The International Wilderness Leadership Schools’ educational model nurtures leadership development and creates an awareness of the guiding mentality that is essential for leading safe, fun adventures in the mountains. The combination of technical skills training, experiential education and practical leadership experience make the IWLS curriculum world class.

THE IWLS GENERAL CURRICULUM outlines the essential components for effective outdoor leadership. Here are a few points that your course will focus on.

  • Environmental Ethics: As adventurers in some of the most pristine environments on the planet it is our duty to respect the natural world. All of our courses practice and teach Leave No Trace® principles.
  • Leadership: Opportunities to lead the group will be abundant and you’ll have the time to learn and practice multiple styles of leadership.
  • Weather: Will the storm arrive in the next 12 hours or the next 48? Understanding weather patterns and trends will help you plan successful trips in a wilderness setting.
  • Wilderness Emergency Procedures and Treatment: Learn how to effectively manage safe, efficient and timely backcountry rescues.

-Eli Fierer

IWLS BACKPACKING CURRICULUM prepares students for exploration into remote, backcountry settings. Here are some points we’ll cover on your course:

  • Altitude Considerations: Hiking amidst the world’s giants, we reach above 16,000ft. Learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of acute mountain sickness, and steps to take to avoid it. We’ll also discuss the most effective treatment for all altitude illnesses: descent.
  • Stoves and Campfires: The ability to repair a broken stove, make an emergency fire after being submerged in an icy river, and melt snow efficiently for water are key components for leading a group in the wilderness.
  • Geology: From plate tectonics to granitic batholiths, you’ll learn the history of the land you are exploring and how these forces create and influence the environment around you.
  • Site Selection: Learn how to choose the appropriate terrain and identify hazards to facilitate a safe, fun time in the mountains.

-Eli Fierer

IWLS INTERNATIONAL CURRICULUM is designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of planning and leading expeditions in foreign countries. Here are just a few topics that will be covered:

  • Cultural History: As visitors to this remarkable location, we place a premium on being respectful and learning about the local culture and history.
  • Language Skills: The ability to ask directions, purchase items, and communicate on any level is an essential element of leading an expedition to a foreign country. Throughout the course, we’ll develop our language skills through dialog and lesson plans.
  • Trip Preparation: Logistics in a foreign country have the potential to be complex and tenuous. You’ll take part in shopping at the local market, arranging transportation, and securing permits in preparation for your expedition to the Himalaya of Nepal.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL No previous experience is necessary for this course. However, with a desire to learn and an enthusiasm for adventure, you’ll develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of wilderness exploration.

Included: transfers, hotels in Kathmandu, trekking permits, local transportation, park fees, porters and yaks, food on the trek or climb, group camping equipment, American instructor and Sherpa support.

Not Included: food in restaurants in Kathmandu, bottled water, soda, alcohol, airfare to/from Kathmandu, airfare to/from Lukla (approx. $200 & we will make all of the arrangements)

CERTIFICATIONS Upon completion of the 24-day course, participants may qualify for the following certifications:_

24 Day Guide Training Certificate of Completion
International Wilderness Leadership School


DATES & PRICES Please see our schedule for current dates and price information.