• Last Updated on Mar 11, 2024

Mountain Rock Treks is one of the sustainable trekking agencies in Nepal. As a travel company that specialises in safe working conditions for the workers in Nepal, Our Porter Welfare ensures safe working conditions for the mountain porters we hire for all the regions in Nepal, including Everest, Manaslu, Annapurna, Langtang, etc.

The majority of the porters hailing from the intermediate zones are poor, illiterate, unskilled, and lack the necessary equipment for high altitude, creating a lot of health and accident risks. At Mountain Rock Treks, we guarantee that every trek in Nepal includes proper care for our porters and guides.

An advantage to booking through us is that we have taken the initiative to take care of the porters to ensure you have a unique and ethical experience.

Mountain porters are an inseparable part of all our trekking and mountaineering expeditions. On a trek or climb, the whole group of travellers, guides, and porters is a team sharing the same needs for safety and welfare in the mountain area.

The most important thing for every hike is the team of trekking leaders, guides, and a team of porters. Without them, you can forget about marking "outstanding achievement" while going to any high-altitude trekking area like Everest base camp or Annapurna base camp off your list.

It may seem to admire these guys as 'heroes' who somehow help you to the top of Mt. Everest or Everest Base Camp by carrying two backpacks on their feet and shoulders while wearing flip-flops and old sweaters without any discomfort.

It's tempting to view your porters, Sherpas, or guides as heroic individuals who help you to the summit of the world's tallest mountain, Everest or Everest Base Camp carrying two packs while wearing flip-flops and second-hand sweaters without feeling any hardship. Although many porters and guides have a lot of strength and endurance, many companies and trekkers exploit them with overloaded packs, low wages, and unfair treatment.

For responsible trekkers, Mountain Rock Treks stands out as a beacon of porter support. As a porter-responsible company, we put the welfare of our invaluable porters on every trek first. Such a commitment is shown through several initiatives. We offer complete insurance coverage for their medical needs so they get appropriate care in emergencies. Moreover, we provide them with enough food and proper winter clothing suited to the season and altitude. 

Also, we have initiated "The Porters Clothing Bank," an excellent start that seeks to provide porters with necessary warm clothing. We highly urge and appreciate our valued clients to donate trekking clothes and accessories to this cause, fostering a culture of support and solidarity among responsible trekkers.

Here are some of the measures we at Mountain Rock Treks, as responsible travel organizers, have adapted to ensure the welfare of our porters along the way. 

Table of Contents

How do Our Trekking Guides Support Porter Well-Being?

The role of our trekking guides is essential in the welfare of the porters. Every trekking group is led by a local trek leader supported by a team of porters responsible for carrying all the supplies and equipment. 

Many of our trek leaders have actually been porters, so they are very well aware of the daily struggles these people face. They get thorough training on porter welfare and fair treatment, and in this regard, they always consider porters' needs and safety.

At Mountain Rock Treks, we give the same consideration to our porters' well-being as our guides and clients. All cases of misconduct or failure to follow Porter's treatment and welfare guidelines by our trek leaders are directly addressed. 

Through our high standards of care and respect for our porters, we work towards creating a supportive and equitable environment for all participants in our trekking activities.

Our trekking guides at Mountain Rock Treks prioritise the well-being of our porters through various measures:

  1. Respect and Dignity: Trek leaders are asked to treat porters with extreme respect and regard, appreciating their priceless role in trekking.
  2. Weight Limit Compliance: Our trekking guides make sure, the porters are never overloaded more than the prescribed weight limit for their safety and comfort during the trek.
  3. Equal Priority in Health: In case porters get sick, they are treated on the same level as our travellers, with quick medical assistance and support. These all 
  4. Language Skill Enhancement: Our guides facilitate communications between porters and travellers, allowing them to improve their language skills and engage with another culture.
  5. Direct Tips: Our guides are asked to allow porters to receive tips directly from the traveller, which enables them to obtain the necessary support and recognition for their excellent service.

Mountain Rock Treks Effort for Porter Support 

At Mountain Rock Treks, we are committed to helping porters and do this with total dedication. We prioritise their well-being by providing essential assistance and education:

  1. Medical Coverage: We ensure porters have medical cover for treatment, allowing their health needs to be met during the expedition.
  2. Provision of Essentials: Porters are provided with enough food and proper warm clothing appropriate for the season and altitude, thus preserving their comfort and safety.
  3. Health Education: Our trek guides instruct porters about manners, symptoms, and preventive measures for altitude sickness, hypothermia, and frostbite, thus improving their awareness and preparedness.
  4. Environmental Awareness: Porters are taught ecological conservation, which develops a sense of stewardship toward the nature they come into contact with.
  5. Fair Treatment: Our top guides guarantee porters are treated fairly, recognizing their physical capabilities and complying with the maximum weight limits for loads.
  6. Fair Wages: Porters are provided with the exact amount of the wage set in the tour budget and by local labour laws, guaranteeing fair payment for their efforts.

Porter Welfare Out on the Trail

Our porters can access tents or are given sleeping quarters, bags, mats, and cooking equipment. A porter's maximum weight differs depending on the trek or the region. On average, the porter can carry the backpack to 25 kg to 30kg.

Mountain Rock Treks enforces this weight limit. Similarly, During the pre-trip briefing, our leaders ask the travellers to pack only what is required for the trek so that their porters will have an easier task. Each porter and his or her load are weighted at the beginning of the trip.

Hiring Porter From Marginalised Communities

Porters and travellers are the first introduced on the trip. Your local guide will also inform you that when hiring porters, we normally pick those residing in the region and the marginalised communities (low socio-economic class).

These activities illustrate Mountain Rock Trek's responsible travel policies. Most of them did not receive enough education, and their language skills were inadequate. 

The best way to learn the skills lacking is to practise on the job as often as possible. Most of our porters will become trek leaders; therefore, we want you to interact with them and support them as much as possible. Yes, it might feel a bit embarrassing initially, but overcoming any initial shyness and getting to know each other will learn as much from them as from you. 

What is “The Porters Clothing Bank"?

The “Porters Clothing Bank” is a charitable project by Mountain Rock Treks that provides our porters with essential clothing. Porters are critical components of trekking expeditions, carrying the loads to remote high terrain, where the right clothing becomes vital for the porters’ comfort and safety.

Most of the trekking equipment and clothes the tourists buy are specifically made to fit the high-altitude hikes; therefore, they are not very useful for lower altitudes. Instead of throwing them, we urge trekkers to give them to the poor porters. Such donations will greatly benefit porters who normally have little capital to purchase new materials. 

Trekkers can also bring their old warm clothes, such as raincoats, pants, sweaters, gloves, hats, sunglasses, socks, shoes, etc. These donations will go directly to Mountain Rock Treks's "The Porters Clothing Bank," maintained by the International Porters Protection Group (IPPG) in Kathmandu.

By "supporting The Porters Clothing Bank," trekkers provide the necessary clothing and demonstrate understanding and empathy towards those who make trekking experiences possible. We greatly appreciate and invite our clients to be part of this great initiative, which aims to provide a decent life and self-esteem for our porters.

How To Support Porter and Be a Responsible Trekker?

As respectful trekkers, we should ensure their wellness and thank them for their priceless help. Here's how you can support porters and be a responsible traveller. 

Tip Generously: 

At the end of your trek, if you’ve found the services of your porter invaluable, we suggest you tip them. If you’re not sure how much you should give, look at the trip notes for guidance or talk to your leader; they’ll be able to suggest the right amount, depending on the region you’re visiting. Generally, we recommend that you tip around 10% of the trip total. It is quite common for the leader to help with tip circulation to ensure equal distribution across the whole team.

Donate Quality Gear:-If you’ve got any good quality gear – trekking poles, a sleeping bag, a warm jacket – that you will never want again after the time in the mountains, don’t hesitate to donate them as well. These items make a huge difference and are greatly appreciated. 

Engage in Porter Welfare Programs:-Support such organisations or programs that enhance Porter’s welfare, e.g., paying fair wages, providing adequate equipment, and access to healthcare. You help create a sustainable and ethical system of trekking in the region if you actively take part in those.

Understand The Role of Porters:-Before going into how to support porters, one should understand the value of their responsibilities. Porters are not just the carriers of our stuff; they are guardians and navigators of the trails, often the cultural ambassadors of the places we pass through. The strength, tenacity, and deep understanding of the terrain that they possess help us a lot in being successful and safe during our treks.

Equitable Load Distribution:-A significant way to assist porters lies in the equitable way of distributing loads. Think about the weight of your things and pack reasonably. A uniform distribution of the weight among porters not only will make their physical burden lighter but also decrease the probability of injuries during the trek. Choose the lightweight and compact gears whenever you can, paying more attention to the essential things to reduce the excess baggage.

Respect and Fair Treatment:-Respect is essential when dealing with porters. Treat every porter with respect, kindness, and fairness all the way along. Please participate in insightful discussions, know about their culture, and acknowledge their achievements. Don’t put in unreasonable requests or tasks requiring unrealistic efforts. Thank them for their contribution and say thank you often, creating a good and friendly atmosphere in the team.

Some Tips to Support Fair Treatment for Porters

Make your journey even more fun by having a good relationship with the guides and porters – for many travellers, this becomes the best part of the trip. Here are our suggestions for ensuring the proper treatment of porters and guides on high-altitude treks: 

  • Ask the tour agency about its position on porters' rights and welfare. Ensure that the porters have the right clothes and shoes.
  • Learn some words of the local language for use in saying 'hello' and 'thank you.'' 
  • Make sure your luggage does not exceed the indicated amounts. Moreover, remember that less is better, as the porters will carry their stuff with the tourists' belongings.
  • Count the porters daily to ensure none have been sent back down for economic reasons. They won't get their tips, and the rest of the porters will be overweight.
  • Ask about porters' insurance and plans for them if they fall sick. No porters should be forced to continue working in case they are ill or injured, and they should be accompanied down the mountain instead of being sent down alone.
  • If you notice or witness something that makes you feel uncomfortable, inform your tour operator that it is not acceptable.
  • Pay your porters and guides adequately – agree on the rates before you start to avoid unsavoury talks at the end of the trek.
  • Check that the porters’ conditions are good to carry the loads. 
  • Some companies may have their own tipping policies, but we advise you that you tip the porter instead of the guide to ensure that the whole amount goes to him/her.

Who Benefits from the “The Porters Clothing Bank”?

  1. We prior to our supporting staff like our guide, Assistance guide, Porter, cook, kitchen helper.
  2. If we have more stuff, we are supporting other porters who work in Himalayas.
  3. We support in nature disaster, like as earthquake, landslide,Flood, avalanches etc.
  4. We support each other in different communities.
Dipak Pande

Dipak Pande

Dipak starts to step up from potter, guide, and trekking leader to the company owner. Sometimes he share his experience with others as well as wrote in local travel news. Most of time he spend his time on mountain and his company.