Good Guides – The Mountain Company

Guest post:

The Mountain Company is based in the UK although we spend the peak trekking seasons staying in Kathmandu (Nepal). We organise trekking holidays and expeditions to the Himalaya and Karakoram.

We specialise in exploring very remote areas of Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and India.

Roland Hunter is owner and founder.

Roland has a lifelong passion for mountaineering and trekking in the high mountains. He enjoyed four expeditions to 8,000m peaks and made it to the summit of Mount Everest and Mount Makalu (no supplemental oxygen).

After starting The Mountain Company in 2004 his interest shifted more towards trekking.

Over the years Roland has led or recce’d most of our portfolio of treks and expeditions. Since 2009 his main focus of our interest has been The Great Himalaya Trail (GHT).

The media often portrays trekking in Nepal as overcrowded on all trails throughout the country. It is still possible to find wilderness with very few, if any, other trekking groups especially by following the GHT.

Section 1 starts in the East and it takes 36 days to trek from Kanchenjunga Base Camp to Makalu Base Camp.

Section 2 from Makalu to Everest is the technical crux as it crosses three technical high passes. Our favourite section for its unique culture and vast landscape on the border with Tibet is Upper Dolpo to Jomsom.  

In Pakistan we organise K2 Base Camp & Gondogoro La. This is an incredible trek past Karakoram giants and over a high pass to Hushe village.

We have been regular visitors to Pakistan since 2004 when Roland led an expedition to climb Broad Peak (8,051m).

In Summer 2019 we organised the remote Snow Lake & Hispar La trek. This connects Baltistan with Hunza following the Hispar and Biafo glaciers. 

Since 2008 we have enjoyed organising ten groups on the Lunana Snowman trek in Bhutan. This is a 28 day trek across the north of Bhutan on the border with Tibet and crosses many high passes. You are unlikely to see many other trekkers after Laya village. 

During Covid lockdown we have spent a lot of time looking at maps and dreaming up new places to explore. We have lots of exciting future plans for new treks.

In Nepal we are in the process of setting up Nepal Far West and Limi Valley GHT.

In Bhutan we recently launched remote treks to Dagana & Lawagu Pass and Haa Valley

We have uploaded videos for some of our treks on our YouTube channel and plan to upload more soon.

Recently we started a new Blog on The Mountain Company’s website with articles and news about trekking in the Himalaya and Karakoram. Hopefully we will see you in the mountains soon! .

Click PLAY or watch a sample adventure on YouTube.

Hiking Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island

Here’s our list of the best hikes in Strathcona, so far:

I spent over 3 weeks hiking Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island June – October 2020.

Fantastic.

The real experts on this park are Mike Blake and his team at MB Guiding.

If you are looking to organized a guide trip — climbing the Golden Hinde, for example — go with MB Guiding.


If you’ve never been to Strathcona before, easiest access is via the Paradise Meadows trailhead out of Courtney / Comox which gives easy access to the Forbidden Plateau.

Well signed, well organized, well maintained, there are loops of increasing difficulty depending on your time and the weather.

One loop is wheelchair accessible, for example.

There are trails ideal for kids, as well.

Three campsites on the Forbidden plateau are first-come, first-served. Great value at CAD $10 / person / night.

If you want to tent, I’d recommend you head for the furtherest campsite – Circlet Lake.

From there are fantastic day hikes to Moat Lake, Castlecrag and/or Mt Albert Edward.


There are even better trails in Strathcona in the more remote section of the park around Buttle Lake. That’s where you find the main car campgrounds.

My favourite was Cream Lake via the Bedwell Lakes trails.

Cream Lake

Nearly as good for me was Elk River with a tough side trip up to Elk Pass.

Landslide Lake

There are many, many more great hikes, of course, well documented in the best hiking guidebook – Exploring Strathcona Park by Stone.

I’ll return to do more.

Hiking with a TRAILER rather than Backpack

– Easy transportation of luggage on bus, train or airplane

– Prevent common hiking injuries from carrying weight

– Easy to manoeuvre on a variety of terrain

– Easy to handle on steep and rocky ascents and descents

– Ergonomically designed for easy of use and hiking with an armrest

– Holds enough gear to support one, two or three hikers

– Easy to take apart and reassemble

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Radical Design made that one. Not inexpensive.

This father and son walked Camino de Santiago keeping the gear for both in one trailer. 40KG is maximum load.

Hiking Della Falls, Vancouver Island

Della Falls is located within Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island in British ColumbiaCanada. … total height of 440 m (1,440 ft).  

The Canadian Government recognizes Della Falls as the tallest officially measured waterfall. That’s certainly not correct. James Bruce Falls in B.C. is much taller by any criteria, for one.

Meg Cuthbert:

Access: Boat access only, from the far end of Grand Central Lake near Port Alberni.

Canoe Distance: The canoe from Scout Beach Recreation Site is about 20 kilometres, the lake is tip-to-tip 35 kilometres long.

Hike Distance: 16 kilometres one-way from the trail head to Della Falls.

Canoe Difficulty: The wind on the lake tends to pick up in the afternoon, so at times the paddle was quite difficult. Be prepared to lock it in.

Hike Difficulty: The hike is a moderate difficulty, mostly due to the pack on your back. The elevation gain over the 16 kilometres is only 350 metres

Her group paddled in by canoe.

Read her 2019 trip report – Della Falls – Canoe, Hike, Canoe

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Most hikers book rides on the Della Falls Water Taxi. Both ways.

The real experts on Strathcona Provincial Park are MB Guiding. If you want to hire a guide or get up-to-date information, be sure to check their Della Falls page:

WHY am I not in Patagonia?

by BestHike editor Rick McCharles 

Reality Check – You can’t thru hike  the Route of Parks in Chile. Matador and many other normally responsible sites are wrong about this.

For 3 of the past 4 years I’ve been in Patagonia in January. It’s paradise for the outdoor enthusiast.

Much of the international press coverage in recent years promotes the Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia (Route of Parks),

A chain of 17 National Parks. Fantastic.

Many are connected by the Carretera Austral highway , ideal for cycling. Not great for walking.

Some Parks are quite inaccessible.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

If you are looking for a long thru hike in Patagonia, check the Greater Patagonian Trail route.

It does not connect in any way with the Route of Parks because that’s a road. 😀

top 10 hikes – Lake O’Hara, Canadian Rockies

Alpine Circuit, Lake O’Hara 

Super popular, it’s very difficult to get a reservation to camp overnight.

AT A GLANCE

  • Yoho National Park in British Columbia near Banff, Alberta.
  • time zone is Alberta, not B.C.
  • mid-June through the end of September (start and end dates vary)
    • for example, bus operated for hikers and campers from June 19 to October 4, 2018
  • 11.6 km
  • perhaps 9 hours
  • perhaps 900 photos 🙂
  • highest point 2528 m
  • elevation gain 1012 m

Some like O’Hara best late in the season to see the larch change colour. Green to golden.

Details on our Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit information page.

Pumalín, Chile – Laguna Tronador trail

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

Duration: 4 hours round trip.
Distance: 4,8 km round trip.
Return: Same route.
Difficulty: Medium-High

Parque Pumalín 

This physically challenging trail climbs through an alerce forest, once burned and now recuperating.

Excellent.

You need your own wheels to get to trailheads like this. I tried to hide my bike in the bush before heading up.

The cost to develop trails is here is high. And these workmen are superb.

I love how they use local materials to blend in to the pristine environment.

At one point they tunnelled under roots of a tree.

Though shockingly well maintained despite the climate, one railing did rip out on me. Happily I was using it for balance, not support.

The path generally climbs up near loud waterfalls.

One reason to choose this trail over others is free camping at Laguna Tronador. There are only 2 excellent spots, however.

I recommend the Laguna Tronador trail.