To start afresh in 2017, I got a fabulous opportunity for guiding in New Zealand with one of the most popular adventure company – Adventure Consultants. This is a New Zealand based company that I have known for many years, especially since I began working on Everest expeditions in 2003.
During my work in Everest and other mountains, I unmistakably saw AC expeditions run in a very professional way and wanted to work with them. In 2015, while climbing Mount Aconcagua of Argentina with Fernando Grajales Expedition, a local expedition operator in Mendoza Arg, I got the chance to guide the team of AC for the first time.
Later the same year, I met Guy Cotter, the owner of AC, in Kathmandu and shared my interest to work with his company in future as a guide.
In 2016, Cotter sent an email offering the opportunity to be a guide for AC in New Zealand. This was a great news for me. As a young guide, I felt great to have the opportunity to go outside of my home country and work on expeditions to different mountains with different people. This kind of opportunity is also good for Nepalese guide community and for Nepal as we can learn immensely rather than work just for money. In Nepal the mountains are familiar, logistic preparation are different, and mostly we have enough people working as a team. Guiding outside Nepal is much different. In a place like New Zealand where you need to do most of the things by yourself like driving, shopping, guiding, cooking, teaching etc. Normally I feel that this is what a mountain guide should do to stay active.
As I applied for a working visa to New Zealand, the processing took some time and was finally granted to me with the great help by Suze Kelly from Adventure Consultants.
Whenever I get opportunity to go out of Nepal for guiding I am excited and expect to learn new things, share knowledge between people and other guide friends, know more about the mountains, learn new cultures and sincerely practice the professional guiding habit rather than expect a lot of money from my work!
Upon arrival in New Zealand, I was taken by surprise to see Guy Cotter and Suze Kelly at the airport in Queenstown to pick me up which I hadn’t expected. I am highly respectful and thankful to both of them.
On my first day in New Zealand, Guy introduced me to the office and all AC staffs. Guy and Suze then invited me to stay at their beautiful house in lake Hawea which has a very peaceful environment and I rejoiced living here throughout most of my time in NZ.
The first few days were spent with Guy, Suze, Anthea and Dean Staples rock climbing near Wanaka and lake Hawea. My first guiding trip was an instruction course called MIC to the grand Plateau in Mount Cook with another Guide named James Hamilton who is a very friendly and nice guy. We worked together with 4 members from Australia. Besides training, we enjoyed sharing all of our stories and experiences and of course became very good friends which add to the greater essence of the whole trip.
The weather was very challenging, mostly very windy, snowing, raining and cloudy during this first trip but we always found many options to keep ourselves busy.
My second trip was to Mount Aspiring with one member from Australia. This trip included training and ascend. We spent one great week into the mountains training and climbing but couldn’t reach the summit of this mighty giant because of bad weather. We had to spend most of the two days inside the hut practicing rope knots and rescue skills.
My third trip was in the west coast at Fox glaciers and we flew near mount Tasman which is the second highest mountain in NZ. This trip was called Ascend Week which made the guides choose the mountains depending on client’s interest, level of fitness, skills and experience. We had quite a nice time during the trip except for bad weather that hit us on some days. We climbed a couple of nice summits and did lots of glacier travel. During the trip, I was accompanied by another mountain guide Mark Sedon who has summitted Everest and many mountains and is a IFMGA certified guide. We spoke some Nepali during the trip and had a wonderful time on the mountain.
The last trip was again to Mount Cook region at the Grand Plateau. I led four clients for Mountaineering Instruction course. This time the weather was amazing. Clear skies all night and day and I just couldn’t believe it because we had bad weather in most of the previous trips. Our training went very smooth and we got to work all day long everyday.
And that concluded all the work for the season during my stay in New Zealand. Before going home, I had enough time to explore a bit of Queenstown where I stayed with Dr. Jen and Auckland where I met with my cousin sister after a long time.
It felt exhilarating to work as a guide for the first time in New Zealand mountains. During the stay, teaching and guiding people was subsided by the learning I underwent through trips to the mountains, and from the clients and other guides. I improved my skills at cooking, shopping, and planning trips. But time and again, I felt the need to learn driving. I was lucky throughout the trip to have the help of other guides and clients to drive me around. For me driving is much harder than guiding in the mountains.
As a guide, it’s always important to conclude a season with good experiences, without any accidents and arguments. Summits of mountains are only of value when you can come back home and lie down on your bed take long breaths and roll the memory!
On behalf of the Nepalese mountain guides, I would like to thank Adventure Consultants for this wonderful opportunity. I heartily appreciate their support and trust and am happy to be a part of the company as a guide. Looking forward to another great expedition with them!
I would also like to thank all the people in New Zealand who were so friendly and helpful during my stay.