Manaslu Circuit Trek - The Ultimate off-the-beaten-path Trek in Nepal - 13 to 19 days - Nov 3 - Nov 16, 2017
Overall, very happy with Ang Gelu and Kunga. Both of them compliment each other, and they understood our trekking style.
Ang Gelu - Extremely patient person. Seriously, I can't tell you how many times I stopped during the first few days. He never left my side. Always trekking behind me at my pace. Sometimes slow and sometimes really fast. His stamina is spot on. It's evident he loves the mountains, the way he talks about them, later part of the trek. He made sure we got proper meals during the day and also made sure we ordered food that was good in that particular restaurants. Whatever that he felt we shouldn't be eating he lets us know. There were many times after the trek when we took naps before dinner, and he came to our rooms with the menu asking for our orders in advance so that we don't have to wait for the food for long. He also made sure we stopped for tea breaks in between. He never rushed us, never raised his voice. There was a rest day where the room we got was near the storeroom, and the entire night we had mice running around and in our bags. We did not get any sleep at all that night and thankfully it was a rest day. We told him about it in the morning, and he spoke to the owner and got us a new room. AWAY from the mice. Ever since then he made sure the rooms we got were never near a storeroom. A very kind soft-spoken man. He also makes sure Kunga is ok while trekking and even offered him gloves on the morning of the pass. I have to say the day of the pass was the most gruelling out of all the days. Being up there was beautiful. But while descending, Mattis and myself had slight altitude sickness and had massive headaches. When we stopped for lunch in the mountains, we took a short nap. He knew we were both exhausted and even though we might be getting late to get to the guesthouse, he never rushed us at all. He also offered to carry my pack, which I politely declined. I knew we were all exhausted from the day and I consider all of us a team :) We were one of the last few to get to the guesthouse before sunset. He's honestly a good Sherpa.
Kunga - He is seriously like a ninja. For such a small frame, I'm in awe of how much he can carry, trek fast and eat like a horse after all that! Honestly, he's so fast, that later on during the trek, Ang Gelu sends him ahead to make sure we get comfortable rooms in the guesthouse since there were many trekkers on the way. He would be waiting for us at the guesthouse with our bags in the rooms holding the keys. As Kunga English is limited, it was hard to speak to him, but Ang Gelu was our translated. Later we brought out the cards and Mattis, Kunga and Ang Gelu had a good time playing cards and breaking the ice. Especially with Kunga as he's really shy.
Few things: During our briefing in the hotel, we spoke about height sickness pills, and we were assured that Ang Gelu would be bringing them. We did not know he did not have any, a day before heading to Dharamsala. I don't think he realised that he should have brought some in case we needed them. We brought some just in case, but we also feel a Sherpa should carry some with him.
Also, we knew accommodation would be limited in Dharamsala (the night before the pass). What we didn't realise was that it was just enough tents for trekkers but sherpas and porters had to sleep in the main canteen. With no heat or beds. We only found out in the morning. Even with such conditions, the Sherpas and porters still had their game face on early in the morning making sure their clients had breakfast and hot water before starting the trek. The Sherpa and the porters work the hardest, and somehow they did not even have proper sleeping beds to rest. We heard Dharamsala would be building a guesthouse eventually, but we hope in the meantime, that Sherpas and porters have comfortable sleeping areas so that they too can adequately rest a day before the pass.
We also notice they don't eat together with their clients. Not sure if this is a cultural thing. There were a few times both Ang Gelu and Kunga dined with us, but most of the time it's after we retire to bed. Sometimes Ang Gelu sends Kunga to have dinner first while he stays and waits for us to finish meal regardless of how long we take. Mattis and I would have been happy to have dinner together with Ang Gelu and Kunga after a whole day of trekking. We assume it could also be that they would want to have dinner together with their fellow Sherpas and porters. Which makes sense as well.
All in all, we had such a fabulous time doing the Manaslu trek. It's a beautiful route that changes every day. We had a great time with Ang Gelu and Kunga that once we got back to Kathmandu, we met them the next day for lunch. Will recommend your company to future trekkers for sure. A professional and competent team of Sherpas and porters.
Thank you Ngima for arranging this for us from start to finish. A special heartfelt thanks to Ang Gelu and Kunga for making this a trek that we will never forget. Great company with plenty of memories to last a lifetime.