Outdoor Training for our Mountain Guides at Annapurna Royal Camp, Begnas Lake

Nepal has a challenging terrain. Added to that are the challenges posed by altitude, which most trekkers coming from abroad may not be familiar with.

Similarly mountain guides have a demanding job. Apart from being proficient in technical, navigational and safety skills, they also need to be able to lead and manage groups, especially when groups tend to be large and diverse.

Therefore proper training is essential for a rewarding trip and outcome.

As a Travelife Certified Company and as part of our commitment to keep our Guides up to date with Contemporary methods of guiding our clients, Explore Himalaya Travel& Adventure with the support of Kipling Travel, PUM and TAAN hosted a 3day Outdoor Training on Leadership and Management in and around the Annapurna Royal Camp, Begnas Lake, Nepal.

The training had the following modules:

  1. Leadership for a Group
  2. Managing  in the Group
  3. Individual Counselling/ Storytelling
  4. Case Study

The trainer was Mr. Ben Gosman, a subject expert from PUM, Netherlands who has been in this field for over 35 years.

The expected outcome of the training was to:

  • Learn on how to guide better, adjusted to current times and era.  Also, something that would fit with Western tourists and what they expect.
  • Have better equipped Guides, that guide with more confidence.
  • By knowing their guest and having stories that fit their individual Guest.
  • Guides that fulfill the expectations of the Guest.
  • Guides that are willing to keep on developing themselves and their industry/company.

The training was partly done in a classroom setting and partly in the field- naturally as when they are Guiding their clients.

The training revolved around the theme of – ‘Ask, don’t tell’. What does the Guest want to hear from me? Where should I focus on? Why, what, when, where… are the key questions and not just sharing the Guides knowledge. The emphasis is on listening and implementing rather than the other way around. In a gist it was about making the trip about the clients and not the guides.

Another concept adopted was Storytelling where all Guides shared stories and discussed what are the best practices and what would be the learning? In this the trainer went over the tips and tricks of storytelling like:

  • Should have an opening, middle and end.
  • It should not be complex and easy to remember..
  • Performance matters- Tone, Body Language, Creating Excitement- you have to be like an Actor.

The final elements were based on a real-life case study. Participants were encouraged to advise how they would handle such a situation and what they could have done differently? This gave them an opportunity to express the difficulties they face also when guiding and how to overcome them. The other motivating element was the trainer providing a one-on-one time to all participants towards the end of the training to be able to express themselves as well as ask any questions. It worked as an ice breaker and allowed the participants to open up to the trainer.

In all the participants felt that they have learnt something resourceful, feel more confident and will be able to apply their learnings while guiding.

We also feel the objectives and outcomes of the training were met, which makes us confident for successful seasons in 2024.

Outdoor training can be a vital component of becoming a successful and competent mountain guide in Nepal. Through this training, we believe the guides developed the necessary skills, knowledge, and fitness to lead and manage groups safely and provide a lifetime of memories.

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