Stepping off a plane in a foreign country can often be a tedious experience. Our arrival in Kathmandu was no different until we found ourselves greeted by the smiling face of the individual who would be by our side for the next few weeks as we ascended from smoggy valleys to Nepal’s fortress peaks. I have never been an individual fond of using a guide unless I was climbing up into the altitudes where local assistance was absolutely necessary. After first meeting Rabin, my thoughts began to change. To us, Rabin wasn’t a guide, but a friend who knew the way. His warm disposition and gentle ways quickly forged a friendship that would last much longer than any trek. His knowledge of the path, from short-cuts to scenic routes allowed us to cater our trek in exactly the way that we had hoped. My brother and I are not the first people to recognize Rabin’s friendly demeanour. Even the owners of remote guesthouses remember such an individual, and we immediately became adopted by several families along the way, allowing for a cultural interchange that few tour companies could hope to offer.
I have been to Nepal on several occasions, allured by the majestic peaks that no other region on earth can compare with. My brother and I didn’t want to be corralled into a large group or feel trapped by the pace or routine of other individuals. We wanted to travel at our own speed, to stop and bask in the sun by rivers edge when the mountains were illuminated at that magical time of day… or pull up our boots and push over one more pass when the time felt right. Rabin happily accommodated our each and every need, always with a smile.
On several occasions, trekking in different regions of Nepal, I have run into guided individuals being led to one particular guesthouse, or often met with a sigh when they wished to push on. Often individuals have expressed their reluctance with using one company or another. I look back at these times and then compare them with my own experiences and I can only laugh. Either fate or luck, I can’t think of a better human that I would want by my side when ascending into the unknown, and if you are fortunate enough to be greeted by Rabin’s warm smile, you too will be able to know what I speak of.
After an exhausting effort, mixed with doubts of our own ability, my brother and I climbed up on the summit of Mera Peak on October 23rd at 7:40 AM. Roped in, we had to help cut the trail after severe winds prevented climbers from reaching the peak over the previous 36 hours. Atop the mountain, we soaked in several of the world’s highest peaks, including the highest, which seemed so close that one could reach out and touch it. The valleys that fell away below us, and the seemingly endless views now all seem to dreamlike to have been real. From departure to descent, none of it would have been possible without the knowledge and connections that a guide like Rabin has to offer.
I do not write this because anything of it will come to me. I write it because I have met an individual whom I know success will follow. Great things happen to great people, and when one meets such a person, no time in the day is small enough to offer them assistance. I wish not to sell you on any particular trek. This is Nepal. The world is stunning from any mountain ledge you find yourself on in such a place. I’m writing this to let you know that if you’re lucky enough to find yourself on a mountain ledge with a friend like Rabin, that your experience could only lead to a memory that brings a smile.
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