I am a fairly experienced and soon to be technically qualified(meaning Advanced First Aid and Wilderness Skills certification) Himalayan trekker.
I wanted to know if hiring a guide to trek in GHNP(Great Himalayan National Park) is compulsory or not as I wanted the hiking group to consist of just my friends and I .

  • I don't know about the Himalayas, but for Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya there is a requirement to have a guide, and it has nothing to do with your skills or experience. They mainly just want to make sure that locals get employed as guides, so the government makes it a requirement. We're talking about places with >50% unemployment. In any case, your certifications don't relate to knowledge of the actual area.
    – user5017
    Dec 19, 2020 at 1:31

1 Answer 1


Short answer: Not really, as long as your venture falls into a hike.

Although you are technically experienced, the advance first-aid certification does not make one technically capable of leading a expedition in Himalayas.

For any of the mountaineering adventures above 6000 m, IMF mandates that a expedition leader should have a Advance Mountaineering Course certification from any of it's affiliated organizations and should have registered a successful ascent of a 6000 m peak.

However, you are clearly terming your venture as a hike, I assume it ill be at most up to 4500 m considering the GHNP region. It would be better if you opt for local guides and support staff, but no governing body mandates you to hire a guide. Also, hiring a guide and/or local support staff eases out the procedure with hiking permits in the region.

  • 2
    Are IMF guidelines legally binding?
    – JonathanReez
    Dec 18, 2020 at 16:54
  • @JonathanReez: No. You can legally choose not to take permissions from IMF. However, People prefer to register their expeditions with IMF because it provides accountability and tons of information which is very precise. Secondly, your climb gets registered which helps in a way that in future when you want to attempt other peaks that require IMF clearance, you previous climbs are considered before granting the permits.
    – WedaPashi
    Dec 21, 2020 at 5:41

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