Frequently asked questions
Who are you dealing with? Real people who really care!
"I liked the fact that we trekkers were treated as competent adults who did not require hand holding rather than numbers moving through the operation." - David Koelle 2014
+ we are some of the most knowledgeable, caring trekking guides in Nepal-India
+ we try harder than almost anyone to make sure you have
the best experience
+ we have our own dedicated trek crews, and most staff work exclusively for us
+ our equipment and trek meals are second to none
+ our exploratory trips really are unique, these are real pioneering efforts
+ we run amazing, adventurous Ladakh and Zanskar treks
+ our Nepal treks are also the best
+ all itineraries are planned with acclimatization in mind
+ we will be totally honest with you
+ we enjoy what we are doing!
We have been trekking the region for a while - here is a glorious 2001
Lobsang, Tenpa (Temba), Sherap and Punsok (Punchok) still work with us, Kim now guides since 2002,
Luke (Lucas) worked with us for 2010-11-12, and John is still in touch - photo by Joel Schone
Basically Project Himalaya is Jamie McGuinness and Kim Bannister (and Joel Schone, now very sadly dead). We organize and/or run things ourselves where appropriate and work with good local companies for more logistically challenging trips. Project Himalaya is an internet-based business, we live much of the year in Nepal-India and spend around 6 months a year in the mountains.
Our business model is lean and clean; we are beyond paperless - we are officeless, only a laptop each. The trip leader is responsible for the trip as a whole, including the web pages, email, organizing and leading. This means virtually all of your money goes directly on our ground operation and the staff. Jamie handles the marketing, web design, additional info and maintenance. We are not interested in expanding, in fact actively keep the operation small.
Leading trips really is our passion; we are not focused on the bottom line. We don't have to satisfy investors or company directors etc, none of us own a car or house and don't cut corners on the operation to make more money. Rather, we find the right balance on spending for the trip so that we (you and us!) have a fantastic trip.
Jamie started leading his own treks in the mid 1990's and started the website in 1997, Joel started running PH trips from 1999 (died 2010), Kim in 2002 and Luke from 2010 to 2012, so Project Himalaya has long, successful history. Truly, trekking is our passion and lifestyle.
No. The New Zealand Inland Revenue service kindly suggested that if Jamie is based out of NZ and satisfied certain criteria then we won't have to pay any NZ tax. We have done this. Rather than running our own trekking company in Nepal and India, we use locally owned companies for selected services instead.
How are clients protected legally then? Basically you are relying on our honesty - and you can. Many of our clients are generated by word of mouth and repeat business.
Kim runs wonderful trek journeys; Jamie runs major expeditions (including to the summit of Everest), treks with a 6000m peak or two, and truly exploratory treks with an aim, such as opening a section of the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT), as well as an occasional classic trek.
Kim's "Kamzang-style" treks are a boutique level of service, likely the highest standard treks in the Himalaya there are, with woman's attention to every detail. Jamie's treks also have well thought out details but with a weight and practicality balance suited to pushing trekking limits and climbing, eg we don't usually take (and have never needed) a Gamow/Pac bag.
We both have wonderful regular trek crews, care for smaller details such as taking the most delicious local jams rather than the cheap mixed fruit "bubblegum" flavour, using the highest standard cooking oils etc, and both provide branded roomy single tents and have comfortable setups.
PH treks are distinguished from others as the leaders are passionate about the people and what they do. The staff are amazing and Jamie and Kim care for their crew.
Jamie's treks are truly wild and exploratory with a unpredictable element that lends itself for true adventure. The small group sizes mean there is always an option to be adaptable and flexible and to cater to people's interests along the way. As well as fantastic, remote trekking there is sometimes the opportunity to bag 6000m along the way, Or as we did last year we slept out on some amazing high passes to photograph the stars.
Kim's treks are fun! I love that she knows so many of the locals intimately as she had come back again and again, so has those great relationships with people. The food and ambience on her treks are fantastic.
I was on a trek to Everest Base Camp with ... a well known Australian company and I got rather a noticable case of altitude sickness (nose bleeds, eyesight problem, walking like a drunk). Hence I started the walk down through the mountains to get to a hospital, although I still couldn’t keep either food or water down and having had a few days like this, I was scared. Fortunately, in the "middle of nowhere", I ran into Joel from Project Himalaya. Joel gave me [a drug to stop me] vomitting, stayed with me to make sure I could eat something, measured my oxygen [saturation] level and generally made sure I was OK. He then organised to catch me around lunch time the next day on the way down, just to check I would still be OK. Joel didn't know me at all, he'd never met me, I wasn't his client, yet he did more to ensure my health and safety in getting back to Lukla than the well known trekking company I'd paid!
... I can't thank Joel enough! You got a total stranger out of an awful situation. I couldn't recommend you more highly. Thank you.
Paula Allen, 2009