GARMIN 500 GPS – does it work in the Himalayas?

Navigation in the Himalayas is not difficult, at least, not when following the ‘Everest Highway’ in peak trekking season. Just follow the yaks, the guides, the porters and the Germans and you’ll be fine. It’s not a road you’d want to divert from anyway. A step or two off the beaten track could leave you several hundred metres lower in a matter of seconds.

Navigation is unnecessary

Readers of RT’S LOTR may recall that I was taking my bike computer (Garmin 500 Edge) with me to Nepal. It is not a navigation device; when strapped to my handlebars or wristband, it simply makes a little map of the actual route taken and records it so I can brag about it afterwards, or delete it if I’m not so proud of my day’s work. Those who take the trouble to click on my route below will see that I sometimes crossed a river without using the bridge. I was surprised to see this myself. If the device is to believed, I also passed some tricky sections halfway up a cliff, rather than using that track that all the wussy people were taking, so I hope everyone is suitably impressed.

I learned some valuable lessons about GPS use on this trip which I’m anxious to share with you…

(1) Remember to take the GPS in your daypack each morning. Leaving it in the kitbag will mean that a Sherpa porter will have carried it out of sight by 7am and you won’t see it again till you reach camp that evening.

(2) When you do have it attached to your wrist, remember to turn it on. Note the straight sections of the path where I forgot to follow this simple instruction.

(3) Remember to re-charge it every time you find electricity. Electricity outlets are limited in the mountains, and every available power point is grabbed by trekkers recharging their cameras and iphones. Battery life on the Garmin GPS is less than two days’ walking.

(4) Don’t become too obsessed with watching your wrist while walking. There are some interesting sights you may miss.

From left: Mt Everest, Mt Lhotse, Mt Ama Dablam

The link to the Garmin Connect website follows below.

You’ll see that on this leg we covered 22.05km and climbed a creditable 2444 metres at an average moving speed of 13.41 minutes per kilometre. This makes the result on the calorie counter all the more disappointing – only 1109 calories burned. Perhaps the Garmin 500 was also monitoring my intake of the three-course meals cooked by our chef Chitra Rai, aka ‘Mr Yum Yum’.

The writer was the guest of World Expeditions.


Filed under Hiking, Himalayas

3 responses to “GARMIN 500 GPS – does it work in the Himalayas?

  1. Pingback: TOP TEN IN 2010 – my travel highlights of the year « Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

  2. Reblogged this on World Youth Adventures blog and commented:

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