Lonely Planet Writer

Your smartphone will even come in handy in Nepal as it goes hi-tech with a new app for trekking

Some people take their phones everywhere. Now they can add the mountains of Nepal to the list. The newly launched Trekking in Nepal app from HoneyGuide is intended as both a multi-tool for trekkers in the Nepal Himalaya, and a show of confidence in Nepal’s trekking industry, which has taken a massive hit in recent years following the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015, and a string of other natural disasters.

Everest Base Camp, Nepal.
Everest Base Camp, Nepal. Image by emifaulk / CC BY 2.0

Available for Android and Apple phones, the app uses GPS technology to beam everything from place-markers for things to see on the trail to warnings about avalanches to trekker’s mobile phones. The launch version of the app includes guides to the Everest region and treks around Annapurna Base Camp and Ghorepani/Poon Hill, with plans to expand to other treks around Nepal. Mobile phone coverage is expanding rapidly across the Himalaya, reaching areas that were until recently off the grid due to the impracticalities of running fixed phone lines across the mountains. Phone users can now connect to a 3G signal at 5364m at Everest Base Camp, opening up a host of new possibilities for digital technology in the mountains of Nepal.

Putting the HoneyGuide app ahead of its competitors, maps and trail descriptions can be used offline, so you can dip in and out of reception as you drop into mountain valleys without losing functionality. When online, the app adds bonus features such as real-time warnings when trekkers wander off the trail. The only challenge for users is Nepal’s temperamental electrical system, with regular blackouts and many places yet to be reached by mains electricity. For the time being, a spare battery for your mobile is a sensible addition to your backpack if you intend to app your way to Annapurna Base Camp.