Ramhari Neupane, the highly demanded trekking guide is another gem of Ace the Himalaya. He is one of those guides who started his career in the tourism industry at a quite young age from our company. Working as a porter from Ace, he was able to showcase his capabilities and impress the operation team within a year.
Without promoting him to an assistant guide, he was given a bigger responsibility of a main guide and to our belief, he stood up to the expectation. Today, he works as one of the lead guides and an important member of Ace family.
He says “I am a hot blooded, young and energetic person. On top of that, I am a nature lover and my zeal for exploring the nature is what pulled me into tourism. Every trek in the mountains take me to same places over and again.
However, it’s the experience and the memories I gather with new bunch of people every time that matters to me the most. I am more than grateful to have gotten the opportunity to transform my passion of traveling into a job only through Ace”.
With few requests to conduct a session with Ramhari, we asked him to share few details about the trips, the treks, the memories, the challenges and the work experience at Ace.
Let us see what he has to share with us.
Tell us something about your family.
Well, I come from a middle class family born and brought up in Gorkha. Currently I live in Kathmandu with my brothers while my parents still live back in my home town. I visit them quite often and they have been supportive about my profession as a trekking guide.
What do you like the most about guiding?
What I like the most about my job is traveling to the mountains, exploring around, meeting new bunch of travelers, learning new words in different languages, learning their culture, showing off our landscapes, introducing our local culture, local food and many more. I get to make new memories with different groups and well click a lot of pictures. Who doesn’t like clicking pictures right?
What is a normal day like for you on a trek? “A day in the life of a guide”.
I am a morning person so I wake up at around 5 in the morning every day. Warming my body up with some light exercises is an important routine that follows. I then meet my clients at 7 for breakfast and do some briefing for the things you cannot miss for the day.
The first thing I tell them about is the hours we need to walk that day, the increase in the elevation and the places we will stop by. I don’t forget to remind them also to carry enough water, wear their sun hat, put on some sun cream, check room before leaving, check their wallet and the most importantly their passport. At 8 we leave the guesthouses.
I make sure my clients are not under pressure, stop every half an hour and make them rest especially in higher altitudes. Since I have many stories associated to most of the places along the trekking routes, I share them each one and try to make the mood lighter and the walk easier.
Normally, talking about my day in the mountains, I don’t feel pressurized myself as these tasks come to me naturally. Taking care of my bunch of people along the trek, talking to them, sharing laughter, cracking jokes, and teaching Nepali language, all happens with ease and that is what I enjoy the most about my job.
The rest of the day goes as planned with checking in to the guesthouses, having dinner and sharing talks until we go to sleep. That’s how my day at every trekking looks like.
What has been the most challenging moment for you as a guide?
I remember one of the most challenging trek I did in the Annapurna Region with two of my clients. On the day we reached Chame, we witnessed slight snowfall. Then after that day, there was snowfall for 6 continuous days.
We had to trek no matter how bad the weather was as getting stuck and waiting for the snow to stop was not a convenient idea. We trekked on a snow filled trekking trail for all 6 days. The trails were slippery and the number of times we fell on the trail cannot be counted. There was a fall in every 10-15 minutes. We were unsure if we would be able to reach back to Kathmandu without broken bones.
On the day we reached Phedi, the thickness of snow on the ground was almost 4-5 ft. tall. The time taken to reach Thorong La Pass usually is about three and half hours from Thorong Phedi. However, it took us more than double the time due to the maximum amount of snow and the number of times we slipped.
The locals were very supportive and helpful throughout the trail. That day we reached Muktinath at 8:30 in the night while in normal days, we would have reached by 3 pm in the afternoon.
That trip when I remember, I still get goose bumps in my body. This one is therefore the most challenging one throughout my experience.
What is your favorite trekking route?
My favorite trekking route is the Annapurna Circuit. The biodiversity, the culture, the view, the language, the communities, everything about the Annapurna Circuit is quite unique. The old fashioned and culturally rich houses in Manang, the monasteries at Pisang, the natural hot spring, the Muktinath Temple, the sunrise from Poonhill is what pulls me closer to the Annapurna region.
Mustang, also termed as “himal pariko jilla” which means the “district beyond the Himalayas” is absolutely stunning. The landscapes, the isolated valleys, the peaceful environment, the bordering Mount Dhaulagiri, the King’s palace and the monasteries in Lo Manthang, everything about this region is attractive. T
hough most of the places in Annapurna region have been accessible through roads, the beauty of the place is still the same. All these are the reasons why I love going back to the Annapurna region.
What is your most impressive climb until now?
Rather than impressive I would want to share about an unforgettable climb I’ve ever had till date. I got an opportunity to go on an expedition to Island Peak. Since Island Peak is a technical expedition unlike other treks, the walk up was quite difficult. I struggled few times while climbing up the peak.
There were times when I felt extremely exhausted however giving up was not in my mind throughout the walk. I had to reach up there any how. To my excitement, when I reached on top of the peak, I was absolutely speechless. The view from up there was more than exhilarating.
We reached the peak at the time of sunrise and the sunrise from up there is probably the best sunrise I’ve experienced in my life. I still don’t find the proper words to describe how the 360˚ panoramic view of the Himalayas at the time of sunrise actually looked like. It was magical and extremely rejuvenating. This is probably the best climb and the most unforgettable one of my life.
Did the earthquake affect your work?
Yes, the earthquake affected my work a lot. Both the years 2015 and 2016 was quite difficult as there were less work opportunities. All the booked trips got cancelled and the group sizes were very small. Tourists traveling to Nepal were threatened due to the aftershocks. It took more than a year to catch up the pace like before.
What is it like working for Ace?
Ace is like a home to me now. I started my career as a porter from Ace and worked for a year. After that I was promoted to a main guide in the year 2011. I got to learn and grow not only as a guide but also as an individual from here.
The work that comes my way are good, the number of treks I do every year is also satisfactory and there is broader work opportunities at Ace. The management team is good with welcoming behavior and they keep in touch all the time to know the whereabouts of the clients and us as well.
The response given by the office is appreciable and the facilities given to the clients is excellent. So for me working at Ace is easy, comfortable and enjoyable.
This is what Ramhari had to share with us about his mountain stories, his challenging moments, his working experience with Ace and many more. We wish him all the success in years to come and appreciate him for being part of the Ace family.