We adopt policy that confirm with sustainable development approach and follow responsible tourism guidelines
Porters are an important link in the trekking and expedition in the mountain and Himalaya of Nepal. Without them trekking and expedition cargo (food, equipment and member baggage) does not move. They help to carry goods from the nearest road head or airstrip to the destinations. In Everest and Dolpa regions of Nepal often yaks are also used in combination with local porters and porters hired in Kathmandu. In Humla, Mustang and other places mules are often used in combination with local porters. To carry loads above 5000 meter, Sardar (head men or local trek guide) and guides hire porters from local villages situated at higher elevation to ensure trek without problem. Loads are carried by the porters on their back with the help of a strap on their forehead. Foods are carried in wicker baskets. Each porter carries maximum two-baggage of members (each 15 kg); they are tied together.
Porter Clothing and Shelter: For trek less than 5000 meter porters should have their own warm clothing. For high pass crossing we outfit them with our own warm porter cloths or hire cloths from clothing banks – like KEEPs. Above 5000 meter in camping trek we provide warm clothing – windproof jacket, trousers, dark goggles, woolen accessories – gloves, socks and walking shoes. For sleeping we provide shelter – a large tent, sleeping pad, woolen blanket, meals, hot tea and cooking utensils and stove with fuel. This facility is provided for the extended trek duration in the high elevation above 5000 meter. They are also paid extra wages about 30 to 50 percent more for the period in extreme conditions.
Porter daily wages and facilities (minimum): We pay fair wages to the porters hired for all treks. It is inclusive of meals and accommodation, etc. to meet their basic needs. Current fair wage for porters varies from each trek destination to other. It varies every year (almost) as the cost of living in the mountain tourist destinations varies in direct proportion to the increase in exchange rate of US dollar to Nepalese rupees. Wages are paid directly to the porters to ensure middleman do not get cut from what they earn. All ground transport to the start and end point of treks are provided or paid for.
Rescue for porter: In case of sickness and unable to continue the trek, the sick porter is accompanied by another able porter or Sherpa staff. Severe sick person (porter, trek staff or member) must not be left alone. We give them sufficient funds for their travel expenses to return to the village or city where medical help is possible. Medical expenses are covered by medical insurance coverage.
Porter Insurance: Porters are insured for accident and medical. Accident insurance is Rs 250,000 and Medical insurance is Rs 50,000. This is in accordance with minimum requirements set by Government’s rules and regulation which is subject to change without notice.
Porter working hour: In general, duration of working hour is 7 to 8 hours each day. This is based on the trek schedule. In higher elevation it is less than 7 hours. At higher elevation above 4000 meter pace of walking schedule is slower. In such situation working hour is about 5 to 6 hours each day.
Porter carrying load (weight): In a normal trek maximum weight allowed is 30 kg for a porter. Trek in higher elevation above 4000 meter average maximum load for a porter is 25 kg each. Above 5000 meter to 6000 meter, it is 20 kg. Often due to payload constraint of aircraft personal baggage policy of airline allow maximum 12 kg per person for a check in baggage (including hand bag -15kg). Excess baggage charge is levied by the airline at check in point.
Porter hired for trek that involve climbing: We follow climbing rules set by the government for trekking peaks. According to the rule as decided on 29 April, 2014, insurance amount for sardar (head men or local trek guide), High altitude mountain guide and high altitude worker (porter) going above base camp is fixed at Rs 15,00,000 each. Similarly, medical insurance is fixed @ Rs 4,00,000 each. Emergency mountain helicopter rescue is US$10,000.
Porter hired for trek that involve mountaineering: We follow Mountaineering rules of the government set for expedition peaks. The rules have specific requirements for accident, medical and rescue insurance. The regulation includes minimum wages, carrying weight limit at different altitudes, and equipment facility for all personnel involved in the expedition that are to be provided by expedition teams and climbers.
Initiative for welfare of porters: We have joined hands with “Sathi ko Sath,” a non government, a charity organization, registered in The Netherland that has its NGO partner in Nepal with the same name Sathi ko Sath – Nepal is registered with respective government authority in Kathmandu. It is non profit. This organization support education needs of porter and workers who make a living on trekking. Members of trekking groups give contribution for the purpose to sponsor education for the children of trekking workers. Instead of individual child sponsorship; members are encouraged to contribute to the organization. Sathi ko Sath source out funds on a voluntary basis to help fund primary to higher secondary or vocational – education of the underprivileged children of trekking workers. The help includes their living expenses while class is in progress. Now, they have a total of 65 students staying in its boarding house in Lalitpur (Patan). Their education is in one of the best schools in Kathmandu. (www.sathikosath.nl)
Emergency handling in the trek:
In the event of illness or injury, our first priority is to arrange someone for assistance to transport the ill person to the nearest medical clinic, hospital, airstrip, or road head for evacuation to Kathmandu. Sardar (local trek guide) with the approval of the trip leader (if there is a trek leader) makes this arrangement. The sardar (local trek guide) and tour leader has complete authority and responsibility in such a situation. In situations where sick person (member of trek group, porter or staff) is not able to make any decision the local trek guide (sardar) and trip leader would make final decision for the safety of the person.
This SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) applies to porters, trek staffs or members on critical condition:
The person who delivers the rescue message should give full name of the person to be rescued. Other details are sex, passport number and nationality. The message must include the name of the tour leader and sardar (headman or local trek guide) of the group and the location – name of the place or geographical location (latitude and longitude). If an ambulance is required at the airport it should also be included in the request. For this purpose trek members should send their insurance details and contact person information to us before starting trek. In case of porter and trekking staff their full name and detail according to their citizenship document has to be provided.
This information helps the rescue workers to call the insurance company and contact person for speedy documentation. Often documentation delay rescue effort. The information helps identify sick person and act accordingly. Prior authorization of insurance company for payment guarantee is mandatory. There are several private helicopter services beside the military helicopter. Their priority is rescue request. After the request has been placed the helicopter will be at the rescue spot within 24 hours. If the weather is good and if the pilot has sufficient time to pick up the sick person rescue request would be carried out immediately. Once rescue request message is sent there is no way it can be cancelled.
The documentation delay also entail obtaining permission from the government authority for rescue flight. This is a mandatory provision made by the government since January 2019, after helicopter rescue scam was exposed and government investigated the issue. When the rescue is in special permit or restricted zone helicopter operator also require a separate permit to do the rescue. After completion of rescue a report is required to be submitted by all concerned.
The person to be rescued must wait for the helicopter at the place or point from where it is asked to be picked up. In case if the person is moved or removed from the place where the person is liable to pay full charge even if the pilot failed to pick up. Helicopter rescue charge is US$2000 per hour; minimum three hour should be allowed for helicopter insurance. Helicopter operators will not get into action unless payment is guaranteed. In case if military helicopter service is required a full deposit has to be paid. Helicopter operators require full payment soon after the job is done. Kailash Himalaya Trek will not initiate rescue flight without full guarantee for payment.
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