Porters & Their Issues
Mountain Consultants is founded by a team of experienced base camp and mountain guides who has started their trekking career as porters which is a usual procedure to make career in Nepalese tourism industry. At Mountain Consultants, porters get same standard of medical care as the client gets from the company. We hire porters with formal contract stating insurance, wages, load limits, accident/disability treatment provisions and other facilities. Before hiring porters and other staff, health checkups will be provided.
Porters are the backbone of the trekking industry in Nepal but every year there are incidents involving porters suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), snow blindness and frostbite which can result them in fatalities. We are trying our best to find the fine-line between offering reasonable package cost and not compromising on services and benefits of our staffs. Porters often come from lowland valleys such as Lower Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga and Khotang. Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Sindhupalchowk and unaware of the potential dangers of the areas they are working in which causes their death. You will see porters wearing thin cotton clothes, sandals or even barefoot but carrying heavy loads of more than 200 lbws especially when you are in Khumbu region. At the end of each winter a number of porter’s bodies are discovered in the snowmelt-they become tired, ill or affected by altitude and simply sit down in the snow, get hypothermia and die. Mountain Consultants recommends you to give the tips and other benefits only that deserve it directly. Mountain Consultants follows these guidelines while operating high altitude trekking trips:
- We hire porters through formal contracts with clear terms and conditions for insurance, wages, load limits, accident/disability treatment provisions and other facilities. Before hiring porters and other staff, health checkups will be provided.
- A set of warm and protective clothing and equipment consisting dawn jacket as well as warm fleece jacket, sleeping arrangement, hiking boots, walking trousers, gloves, sunglasses etc will be provided to porters and other field staff.
- We have 25KG load limit in high altitude whereas 30KG load limit in low altitude including their personal loads.
- Porters and other field staffs will be provided at least 700 to 900 each day in lodge based tea-house trek whereas 500 to 600 each day in tented camping trek and company bears their food and accommodation.
- We recommend our clients to give tips and benefits only who deserve it directly.
- Company organizes various re-energized training classes for porters in first aid, safety issues, high altitude sickness, management of emergency situations, general health and hygiene, reproductive health education (HIV/AIDS/STI), English language, local flora, fauna and history to those who are interested in career and personal development.
- Mountain Consultants Treks will empower women by providing jobs and training as porter, porter-cum-guide and guide
- We will not exploit child labor
Environmental and Social Responsibility
Mountain Consultants Travel & Adventure is an economically competitive adventure travel company that takes a smaller margin of profit without compromising on providing socially progressive services for our customers, excellent working conditions and benefits for staff/s and environmentally sustainable business practices.
Mountain Consultants Treks has developed the following guidelines to provide environmentally sustainable treks:
- Protective clothing and equipments and shelter will be provided for all staff especially while organizing high passes trekking routes so that they won't be dependent on fire wood.
- Our package covers water purification materials to encourage all trekkers not to buy plastic by using purified drinking water.
- We focus on the lodges which use kerosene for cooking purposes while selecting lodges en-route.
- We will not allow use of camp fires by our trekkers or staff.
- We encourage our trekkers to order local food at the same time to save fuel and transportation.
- We will practice ‘carry in carry out’ low impact trekking and will take out all garbage that we produce.
- Toilet tents will be provided on camping treks for clients, porters and field staffs.
Selection of Guides, Cooks and Office Staff
- Trained by Government of Nepal as well as many other concerned departments and organizations
- Knowledgeable about Nepal's culture and terrain
- Enthusiastic communicators
- Well trained to use trekking & rafting equipment
- Experienced in guiding a diverse range of trekkers
- Committed to customer happiness
- Experienced, efficient, and creative
- Accurate, timely, clear, and cheerful
- Committed to customer happiness
The major goal of Mountain Consultants Treks is to support the initiatives of those organizations that are working in the human rights and community development areas. We focus on supporting these initiatives by directly establishing relationships between our interested clients and these organizations through volunteer work and financial support. We select an appropriate local charity and every year we will operate a charity trek for them. Our primary focus is for education, health, clean drinking water and the specific development and empowerment to the porters’ community.
Local Cost of Living, National Minimum Legal Wage and Benefits Provided by our Company
The minimum wage for porters and other trek staff will be 900 per day on easy and moderate tea house trekking routes, such as Annapurna region, Lang tang Gosainkunda and 1000 in the Everest region. This is more than double the basic wages set by the government of Nepal. On average the living cost for trek staff is 200-250 Rs per day while working in the Annapurna and Langtang region and 300-350 Rs per day working in the Everest region.
Health and Economic Benefits for Employees
Mountain Consultants arranges necessary amount of insurances which covers health, accidental risk and rescue operation of the staff. In order to provide their financial safety, we operate Mountain Consultants Treks Staff Welfare Fund. Company chips in 20% whereas staffs bear another 20% of their salary. 50% of the total saving is provided in case of emergency or essential need on the loan basis. The collected fund will be provided to staff as severance pay when the member of staff decides to leave Mountain Consultants Treks - because of retirement, illness or change of career. This therefore provides support in the form of a one off bulk payment to ensure the welfare of the porter once he has left the company.
Discrimination by caste is a major social challenge in Nepal. Mountain Consultants Treks is highly dedicated to avoiding discrimination, not only based on caste but on power, money and education. We wish to avoid discrimination between trekkers and Nepali staff, between guides and porters and between staff and business owners and managers. Discrimination between trekkers and Nepali staff is a significant problem in the trekking industry. This discrimination is often economically-based, a problem that occurs often where people from developed countries choose to travel in less-developed countries. As paying guests, Mountain Consultants Treks provides its best services to its clients. In return, we ask from our clients not to assume that Nepali staffs have the strength of Superman. We request that all participants in the business of trekking – clients and staff alike – be treated as equal partners. Clients pay the money, to achieve their dream; our management and field crew supports the clients to achieve their dream and to look after their life. No trekkers mean no trekking, No trek staff and porters means no trekking,
Women-specific treks with female staff
In order to encourage diversity and gender equality, Mountain Consultants Treks will focus on involving women in the trekking sector by organizing women-specific treks and will provide female porters and guides for the women trekkers on request and when available. By the first year of operation, Mountain Consultants Treks had established a women’s group to support those who are interested in working in the trekking industry. Mountain Consultants Treks is highly aware for the unfair distribution of resources available in the country. Tourism is having both positive and negative impacts on Nepal and its people. Mountain Consultants Treks will work towards the vision of making economic and other impacts positive for all Nepali people, by providing jobs with fair wages and basic human rights standards to people from all parts of the country.
Stop Child Porter
We will give high consideration to children’s rights in our work. No children (under 18) will be used as porters in our trekking operation. When selecting porters for our company, priority is given to the parents of child porters. We give high consideration to survival and education needs for the porters families while setting wages and benefits so that their children will not be forced to work at early age. We advocate through our management and trekking staff on trekking routes and with trekking companies for stopping child labor. We offer and support child porters for their further education or career based any vocational training directly that might help them to find other job during their off-season time. We also supports their parents by providing jobs with standard wages and facilities by which porters can earn a sustainable income and can educate their children.
ADVENTURE PASSES IN NEPAL WHICH IS RISKY FOR PORTERS
Below mentioned high passes trekking route are relatively riskier trekking routes for porters and Mountain Consultants give special attentions on well equipped and safety issues for both clients as well as porters and .
Sherpini Col Pass [(East & West Col) Kagmara La Pass (5115M)
Amphu Labsta Pass (5800m) Damodar Pass (5600M)
Mesokonta Pass (5099m) Mingbo La Pass (5815M)
Ganja La Pass (5100m) Kangla Pass (5360M)
Selele Pass Salpa Pass (3350M)
Mera La Pass (5415m) Renjo la Pass (5500M)
Numla (5238m) and Bagala (5214m) Pass Tashi Lapcha Pass (5755M)
Cho La Pass (5420m) Larkya Pass (5135M)
Yelung Pass Lopsang la Pass
Tillman Pass (5350m) Charka Pass
Sangda Pass (5185m)
Round Dhaulagiri [French Pass (5360m) & Thapa Pass (5240m)]