Hiking, Trekking and Mountaineering: What’s the Difference?

24 Jul 2019 Prakash Devkota

Hiking, Trekking and Mountaineering: What’s the Difference?

Hiking, Trekking and Mountaineering are the most popular outdoor activities. Many people mistakenly take all these three activities as similar. However, there are significant variations in these activities. If you know how they differ from each other, then only you can choose which of them suit your interest and requirement. This article may help you with sorting out the differences between the three.

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    Hiking in Nepal for Short-Distance Lovers

    Hiking in Nepal
    Hiking in Nepal for Beginners Explorer

    Hiking can be defined as a long hour of walking on trails. Wikipedia defines Hiking as a long and vigorous walk on the trails/footpaths in the countryside. Basically, it is an outdoor walking on a trail or off the trails for recreation. Hiking is the easiest among the three. It doesn’t require climbing skills and equipment. Even technical knowledge is not required.

    If you have general navigation knowledge and basic fitness level, hiking befits you. Anyone can go hiking if they have interest in exploration. It is popular because it is short. It is usually a day’s walk which also doesn’t require much preparation. You can simply make a backpack ready with some foodstuffs, water and some pieces of clothes. You can have a pair of hiking shoes. 

    You may be interested in: Why Nepal is best for Mountaineering?

    Generally, Hiking is a day’s activity. But some people even choose multiple days hike. Such activity is called backpacking. For multiple days hike more preparation is required. You need to carry more foodstuff and other equipment to spend the night in the wilderness. Hiking is done over a specified route. Therefore, it is a long walk from the beginning point to the destination and vice versa. Let me tell you some of the good reasons for hiking.

    • It helps to improve cardiovascular fitness.
    • It helps to promote physical health.
    • It is a great outdoor activity.
    • It is short and vigorous.
    • It befits anyone.
    • It doesn’t require much preparation.
    • It doesn’t demand technical knowledge.
    • It is the easiest pursuit.

    Beginner Climbers can Do: Mera Peak | Island Peak | Lobuche Peak

    Trekking for Long-Distance Lovers

    Trekking More Tough Than Hikes
    Trekking for Long-Distance Adventure Lovers

    Trekking in simple words is a long and difficult journey. In other words, it is a journey on foot, especially in the mountains. Wikipedia defines, “Trekking is a form of walking, undertaken with the specific purpose of exploring and enjoying the scenery. It usually takes place on trails in areas of relatively unspoiled wilderness.”  These definitions also describe loudly that trekking is longer and physically demanding. Many people regard trekking to be closer to hiking.

    However, trekking is longer and tougher than most hikes. Trekking is far more challenging than hiking. It includes tougher trails and lasts for about 10 days to the entire months. Trekking encompasses walking, camping and climbing too. It is an extended journey. Since it is a physically demanding and extended journey, you need to arrange many technical climbing gears, food and other stuff.

      Some of the popular treks may have teahouse whereas other trekking destinations are completely dependent on camping. Everest Base Camp Trek, Gokyo Lake Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, and Manaslu Circuit Trek are some of the popular trekking destinations in Nepal.

      You can search For: Trekking Peak – Without Permit

      Trekking is an inspiring activity to undertake because of the following reasons:

      • To enjoy the stunning outdoors.
      • To improve health significantly.
      • To reduce stress.
      • To learn a new culture and lifestyles.
      • To enjoy the stunning natural beauty.
      • To strengthen the interpersonal relationship.
      • To refresh yourself and revitalize your spirit.

      Mountaineering More Technical Than Trekking

      Mountaineering Needs Technical Skills
      Mountaineering Needs Technical Skills and Tough Than Trekking

      Mountaineering is the toughest among the three. It is simply an activity of climbing a mountain. It is the adventurous activity over the snow. Mountaineering is far more technical than the trekking. Technical climbing knowledge, previous climbing experience, climbing gears and equipment, and physical fitness are the very basic things for mountaineering.

      Climbing training and your knowledge about how to handle crampons or ice axe are mandatory for this adventure. Mountaineering activity includes a walk and climbs on snow/ ice and rock walls, glaciers and crevasses.  Since it is tough, you need to acquire a number of skills like scrambling, climbing, glacier travel, ice climbing, or mixed climbing.

      Most Popular Expedition: Everest Expedition | Ama Dablam Expedition

      Another most important thing that you should not underestimate about mountaineering is altitude sickness. Mountaineering is strenuous and physically demanding. Here are some reasons to choose mountaineering as an activity.

      • It involves climbing, scrambling, hiking and a wide range of other activities.
      • It also improves cardiovascular fitness.
      • It builds your confidence and team spirit.
      • It stimulates your wisdom.
      • It is a rewarding journey.
      • To taste your boldness.

      You may be interested in: Why Nepal is Best Country for Mountaineering?

      Which One to Choose?

      Mountaineering for all adventure loving climbers
      Mountaineering For Adventure Loving Climbers

      You can enjoy equally on Hiking, Trekking, and Mountaineering equally. Each of them has their own scopes and importance. If you are a novice climber and don’t have experience over the altitude, hiking is perfect for you.

      At the beginning try on short day hikes and in course of time, you can also practise multi-day hiking. It can be done anywhere, at any time. Budget is not a problem for hiking.

      If you have been regularly on hikes and can assume a few hours walking in the mountain, choose trekking. If you have time if you want to be close with nature, and if you can bear the high altitude without any problem, trekking is just a perfect thing for you.

      Similarly, if you have enough trekking experiences, good physique and if you are physically and mentally ready, mountaineering is for you. For hiking and trekking, you don’t have to use the climbing gears. But for mountaineering climbing gears as well as skill on fixing ropes, use of ice axe, crampons and other gears knowledge is very essential. Therefore, mountaineering is for the expert ones. 

        Final Say

        If you are seeking for leisurely activity, go for hikes

        If you want to experience the adventures on the remote country-sides, go for trekking

        If you want to behold the beauty of the mountains and scale its summit, go for mountaineering.

        Choose any one of them as per your requirement and interest. But mind the difficulty level, preparation and equipment needed for them. Proper preparation and a fit body make it done by every enthusiast. 

        Please drop your queries in the comment section below about these rejoicing activities.

        You would also love to visit: Top 5 Most Popular Peak Climbing in Nepal


        Prakash Devkota

        Managing Director and Team Leader

        Mr. Prakash Chandra Devkota is an established name in the Tourism Sector in Nepal. He is a focused individual gifted with a brilliant mind. He is also hugely dedicated to social work. Born in the Gorkha district, a beautiful hilly region of Nepal, he first entered the tourism industry as a guide in 1997. He has gained extensive experience in almost all the trekking and climbing routes like Mera, Island, Lobuche and, Ama Dablam, etc.

        He registered Nepal Guides Treks & Expedition in 2009 AD. Due to his passion for adventure and efforts to provide quality personalized service to his clients, he has established himself as a successful tourism entrepreneur. He has dedicated most of his time working diligently to elevate the tourism industry and collected more than 15 years of experience in organizing trekking and expeditions in Nepal, Bhutan, and India. He believes in the power of the tourism industry and the employment opportunities that can be created through it. He constantly looks for innovative ways to run the company.

        Mr. Devkota has always been an avid practitioner of eco-friendly tourism and has always promoted environmental conservation throughout his career. He motivates his staff to embrace eco-friendly tourism through responsible tourism practices. He believes promoting eco-tourism will preserve natural resources and positively impact the environment.