As an ultra runner and explorer of wild places, I am deeply passionate about adventure and the beauty of nature. However, my vision for Himalayan Adventure Labs (HAL), the adventure tourism company that I co-founded in 2016, goes beyond just providing exciting trips for adventure seekers. Our aim is to create a sustainable tourism ecosystem that not only helps local communities but also promotes responsible travel and preserves the environment. Our journey started with a life-changing encounter with an earthquake.

Langtang 2016: running the length of the Langtang valley from Kyang Jin to Syrabu in about 8 hrs

My journey with HAL began when I was fastpacking with a friend in Langtang, Nepal. There, I witnessed the devastation caused by the 2015 earthquake, which buried the Langtang village in a landslide. Witnessing the struggles of the local community and the level of devastation, I knew that tourism could play a critical role in promoting economic growth and social development. That’s how HAL was born, with the aim of bringing explorers on trips to see the beauty of Nepal while benefiting both tourists and local communities. This is our north star!

The site of landslide that swept away Langtang village where at least 200 people died.

At HAL, we believe in putting communities at the heart of our mission. Our plan is to identify, train, and equip locals to lead adventure trips in their regions. We believe that locals know their regions better than anyone else and can offer a more authentic experience. Moreover, this approach provides the opportunity for locals to earn money, support their families and their community for e.g. help grow their adjacent businesses such as greenhouse farms.

We focus on four core areas – guide training, sustainability, financial literacy and business development, and market linkage. Our goal is to equip locals to design, plan, and run trips in their region while promoting responsible travel that preserves the environment and supports the local economy.

Farmhouse in Bhratang, Manang which is popular for its apples

To achieve this, we provide comprehensive training for licensed trekking guides in areas such as client relations, wilderness medicine, navigation, rescue, and leave no trace principles. By improving the safety and quality of the trekking experience in Nepal, we can attract ‘quality’ tourists and promote sustainable tourism. We are actively recruiting locals from all seven provinces to go through our training program.

We work with local lodges, schools, and mothers’ groups to promote sustainable lodges and trekking routes. We also support local farmers by promoting local materials (have you tried sea buckthorn juice!?) and organising outdoor events for locals; childrens race in Manang during Annapurna Fastpack. Additionally, we plan to lead trail preservation initiatives by lobbying national and local governments to designate critical trekking trails as national heritage sites.

Participants of kids race in Manang during Annapurna Fastpack

We help local businesses identify their needs and connect them with agencies that can help fill those needs. By connecting small business owners in remote areas with initiatives and programs from financial and non-financial institutions, we aim to help them grow their businesses and contribute to the local economy.

We use HAL as a market linkage between trekking destinations, small business owners in those destinations, and potential tourists. By promoting new trekking routes and helping manage trip logistics in Nepal, we are providing local businesses with new opportunities to grow and prosper, which means tourists get a more authentic experience.

Kate enjoying the views before crossing Thorung La in Annapurna region

At HAL, we are committed to promoting inclusive, equitable, responsible, and sustainable travel experiences. We firmly believe that adventure tourism can be a force for good, promoting economic growth and social development while preserving the environment. Join us as we take our journey following our north star.

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