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Kim Bannister - pre 2012
**This is a historic page frozen in time - see Our treks for the current website**
Kim is a delight to spend time with, so caring, positive and energetic.
Based in Kathmandu since 2002, Kim has been looking for the perfect spot to build her bamboo hut since the late eighties. Her search has taken her on fishing boats, rafts, rickety buses and small planes, along remote trails, through jungles and high plateaus and over high passes in such destinations as Central and Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, eventually leading her back through the States. In the US, she lived most recently in Hawaii, California and Colorado, where she spend most of her time outdoors biking, hiking, surfing, windsurfing and even working a bit doing marketing for one of the most prestigious adventure travel companies in the US. Although she now has a barn-full of ‘curios’ to fill the house, that idyllic dwelling still eludes her.
Kim left the States at the start of 2001, travelling to Kathmandu to teach English in the Everest region for the Spring. Soon afterwards, she met Joel and Jamie, joined Project Himalaya, and has been creating and leading treks in Nepal, Ladakh & Zanskar, Tibet, Bhutan and Mongolia ever since. She and Lhakpa Dorji Sherpa, her trekking partner, lead at least seven or eight Himalayan treks together each year; both love to explore, and never tire of camping high in the mountains, trekking along remote Himalayan trails, crossing high passes, staying in traditional Himalayan villages, learning about local cultures and living amongst the Tibetan and Ladakhi nomads.
Kim resides in her lovely apartment in Lazimpat, Kathmandu between treks in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. She spends her summers with her team based in Leh, in the Indian Himalaya. When not on her computer, Kim can be found on her yellow mountain bike, avoiding rickshaws, pedestrians and motorcycles in the small alleyways of Kathmandu, at Roadhouse in Kathmandu sitting at the bar with a bottle of wine and a spinach pizza, enjoying Indian tandoori food with a cold beer at Ibex in Leh or searching the Central Asian bazaars of Leh for treasures and trek supplies ...
Kim, with the help of Lhakpa Dorji, created the Kamzang website which features her treks/trekking style with Project Himalaya, private journeys and outdoor adventures such as biking and rafting. On Kamzang you'll also be tempted by wildlife safaris, spa & wellness suggestions in all of our hub cities. We're also developping a section on Southeast Asia getaways for before or after your trek with us. Don't miss Kamzang World Design and the Kamzang Fund. The Kamzang website is also a showcase for her years of photographs from all over the Himalaya ...
Kamzang World Design is one of Kim's other passions, a collection of locally-produced tribal silver, beads and jewelry and textiles and crafts from around the world. It is a work in progress, a bit of Kim's many years of travels wrapped up on one colorful package.
The Kamzang Fund a growing non-profit project which strives to put Himalayan children through school, to contribute to locally-run educational centers, to help mountain inhabitants (and other Nepalis) with medical issues and to support worthwhile projects throughout the Himalaya. Our latest project is a solar set-up for the Lo Monthang Library & Community Center, funded by one of our Mustang trekkers. Anyone is free to help or contribute
Kim on a rock outcropping over Lake Tso Moriri, in Ladakh ...
Trekkers Say ...
Thanks for another great trek. Your boundless energy and enthusiasm is remarkable, your organisational skills are tops, and with Lhakpa and the team your treks are simply wonderful. I thought the food was excellent on last year's trek but this time it was even better. Well done to Junar. Upper Dolpo was, as you had said, an amazing region. The scenery was spectacular and the remoteness of the area, without other trekking groups, made it even more special. I will treasure the memories.
Viv D, Upper Dolpo to Jomsom 2011
A heartfelt THANK YOU for a wonderful trek and fond memories of special people and their environment, and to you and Lhakpa for your hospitality and having made it possible to live these moments on the High Himalayan trails.
Jan Erik R, Dolpo 2011
Thank you so much for making our Himalayan experience so memorable. Your organisational skills in making even the weather cooperate, your capacity to multi-task and problem solve in turning potential crises into mere wrinkles, your love and respect for the high peaks - all come together in making this trek so wonderful. But even more importantly I was touched by how deeply you give of yourself. It showed in the great care you gave to us, in the warmth of your embrace as you met people along the way and most especially in how well you treat your staff. Yours is a difficult task but clearly for you it is not a job but a calling.
Steve & Jo F, Everest High Passes 2011
Thank you for a fabulous 3 weeks of trekking in the most spectacular mountain scenery I have experienced. Everything was efficiently organized. Your relationship with the lodge owners was wonderful to see and you should be proud of what you have developed. The tea-house trekking was great with comfortable lodges and amazing views ...
Leigh B, Everest High Passes 2011
What a trip! Thanks for all your hard work and imagination. Truly a spectacular journey and the clientele you attracted was a magnificent bonus.
Chris R, Wild Ladakh Rupshu 2011
Kim runs a tight ship. Everything felt totally thought out and under control. It feels like Kim does such a brilliant job for her own sense of personal satisfaction - that she wouldn't do anything less then to the best of her abilities! She's really human and fun and gets right in there with you - her enthusiasm for spotting flora and fauna or taking photos is with as much genuine energy and vigor (or more!) as her trekkers who are seeing these things for the first time. She is generous in every sense of the word, helpful, warm and lovely. Lhakpa is lovely too and hilarious and laid back and will carry you across rivers. The staff are fantastic and it feels like everyone is in it together and well cared for. I really really didn't want to leave and could have quite easily committed to trekking with Kim forever! I really loved it.
Alice B, Nomads 2011
I joined Kim's Nomad trek without knowing what to expect, as it was my first trek. And I absolutely loved it. So much that I'll try to make trekking my annual activity! Kim runs a very professional trek. Her knowledge of the local landscape and history is amazing. She is genuinely interested in helping the locals (nomads) and cares for their welfare. Her staff are such a close-knit group and they work so well and seamless together. She also provides small little extras that are such a luxury during the trek, biscuits, coffee, tea and very well thought out menu. I am not a strong trekker, in fact, I came last every single day. But never did I feel isolated or concerned about my safety. I can strongly recommend Kim's trek to anyone, from beginners to experienced trekkers.
Effi J, Nomads 2011
Thank you for making this trip one of the most memorable ones in my lifetime. You have been a friend when I needed one, a leader when the group needed one, an impeccable organizer and a great conversationalist. I marvel at your unlimited energy.
Shivan M, Last Nomads of Mustang 2011
Wow! What an unforgettable experience you have given me … I was constantly amazed at your patience with the individual needs and concerns of the group and of the heartfelt care and connection you have with your staff and horses. You are a great leadership team and a joy to wake up to each morning! The landscape, the interactions with the villagers, nuns and monks along the way, the exhileration of the more risky bits of the trip and your smiling faces will not be forgotten. Thank you & Jullay!
Annie K, Wild Zanskar 2010
It was a wonderful trek. Really, it was all that one could ask for; magnificent location, excellent weather and of course you and your crew were always friendly and efficient, always ready to give a helping hand. I am truly eleated to have done this trek.
Rein G, Last Nomads of Mustang 2010
I can gladly say that I've never done camping in such style. Had a two man tent each and a big dining tent with blankets and a constant supply of biscuits. We had something like 24 horses and mules to carry all the stuff and the food was gourmet - three course meals and always plenty of porridge, eggs and pancakes in the morning to get us going. The walking was very special, with many lovely villages along the way and the locals were always keen to come and check out our set up. Basically all above the tree line so the scenery was like nothing I'd ever seen before and every day was different.
Joe K, Wild Zanskar 2010
Thank you very much for a wonderful trek. At times it was a struggle, but since it was my first long and high altitude trek, that was to be expected, and I hope that I did not hold everyone up too much. I felt so very well looked after, from great food to river crossings to much needed breaks and always someone to see that we did not feel lost or alone. Your attention to detail, from the window seats flying to and from Leh, to the shopping expeditions both in Leh and along the way, from the variety and quality of food to making sure that everything we needed was provided and easy to access, is amazing. Also your energy and generosity of time and spirit in those extra expeditions to nomad tents, the fort etc. when many leaders would have signed off for the day.
Leslie S, Nomads, Lakes & High Passes of the Changthang 2010
I wanted to echo the sentiments of the group - I had an absolutely wonderful trek despite the challenges that I experienced some of the time. The trek was the hardest thing mentally and physically that I have every done but I am so proud that I achieved what I set out to do and it will stay in my thoughts for a long time. I will definitely be doing another one - and with Kim I hope.
Mimi St J-A, Markha Valley & Nomads 2010
Kim and her fantastic staff in Ladakh, Indian Himalaya ...
Thank you so much for all of the effort, help and patience that you put in to make the trek special for us. We had such an amazing experience, and we will always have such incredible memories that we will remember for the rest of lives. It was truly an experience of a lifetime ...
I was so impressed with your whole operation; I don't know how you juggle it all. You are not only an amazing operator, pulling all the levers, but you are a gifted guide which makes the trip truly special for everyone. Also, your attention to detail is impressive, you can tell you put a lot of thought into how to make the whole experience as comfortable and pleasurable as possible.
Rob B, Manaslu 2010
I think about you and Lhakpa and everybody a lot; and I miss the trek, the beautiful mountains, the amazing sceneries and rich culture there. Every time when I go through my trekking photos, the memories of those great moments come back to me, speaking to me and asking me why I haven't packed my gears and signed up for my next Himalaya trip ...
Summer T, Wild Zanskar 2010
You all must be somewhere near the Tilicho Pass with the light of the full moon gracing you and the mountains. Oh, how I wish I was there with everyone. Thank you so, so much for your support, kindness and good sense in helping me through my dehydration crash. It all seems surreal as I reflect on it, except for the sadness and disappointment that is lingering with me. I truly appreciated and was comforted by your presence of mind and your willingness to stick by my side with the needs of the group also weighing on you. Please also let Lhakpa know how grateful I am to him for staying with us on that last hike to Jagat. You both inspired me along, step by step. Again, my deepest gratitude to you and I hope our paths will cross again.
Andrea C, High Manaslu 2010
Again thank you for another great trek. As per last year it was very well organized and you and Lhakpa were flexible and adjusted to individual needs.
Dennis B, Wild Zanskar 2010
What an amazing trek it was! You can not go wrong by trekking with Kim and Lhakpa. Their professionalism, friendliness, efficiency, expertise and unflagging good cheer and able assistance can not be overstated.
The meals were excellent, Junar is a very fine chef. 5-star, healthful dining for all three meals a day. Kim has such a thorough knowledge of their dress, customs and lifestyle. I loved that she would generously share these details with me as we walked. She is a wealth of knowledge and experience. She was also amazing at interacting with the people we would meet along the trail and get them to pose for her camera. What photos we have to remind ourselves of the fun we had! Lhakpa is the epitome of the ideal Sherpa host. Nothing we Westerners could conjure up would budge his smiling, courteous, and unflappable countenance. Exhausted and struggling on the trail? Lhakpa will carry your pack. (Not to be left out, Kim was quick to relieve us of our packs on steeper sections of the trail - two of them plus hers on one memorable day.) We did not see a single westerner/trekker until we reached the eastern border of the Khumbu. Culturally speaking, all of our interactions with the people were positive and enjoyable. Our porters and kitchen staff were a continual delight to get to know and try to communicate with. They are all really nice, helpful, extremely hardworking (and damn strong!!) happy guys. And Kim, words cannot describe her energy, always positive, unshakable, pleasant demeanor, and all-around world class guide capabilities. There was never a twinge of worry that we weren't in the most capable hands. You could go to the moon safely with her. I feel like they will be my friends for life. They really made the trek all the more memorable and extraordinary.
Lindsay H, Arun & Gokyo 2009
Kim's support team are uniformly excellent, and all pitch in to ensure a smooth operation and to make sure that you are ok at all times. The equipment is all top-notch and the food is very, very good. In addition, the smaller, more "informal" style really promotes interaction between members of the group and the guys helping out, which is a rare thing. They are all really friendly, down-to-earth people and have a great deal of knowledge about the trekking regions, local history and customs, and are very happy to answer any questions you have. A good measure of the success of these trips is the number of returning trekkers and climbers that choose them again and again for their holidays.I'd have to say that every trip I've made with them has been a really special experience. Suffice to say, not once have I been tempted to join any other trekking group.
Beau M, High Manaslu 2009
Kim's genuine passion and love for these regions is highly infectious.Not only is the trekking and being in the mountains fantastic they also really look after you in terms of safety and ensure that they share their passion with you. You have your own top of the range tent and the food is amazing! I love nothing more at the end of each day than sitting in the dining tent with everyone drinking numerous hot drinks and eating the freshest and tastiest food sharing the days' stories. I always come away feeling so fit, happy and healthy. I have a fear of ice and Kim and the guys instinctively know when I need extra support and are with there with me all the way. Every evening they brief you on the day ahead, what to expect, the terrain, the practicalities,degree of dificulty, what to look out for, altitude and information about the history of the regions and villages we will be passing through.We have alot of laughs too.
What always strikes me about Kim is her interactions with the local people and the wonder and awe she expresses about these beautiful people and surroundings. The fantastic crew who go that extra mile to ensure that the group gets the best out of their trekking experience.
Louise D, High Manaslu 2008
Kim & Lhakpa heading up Cho La Pass in the Everest region ....
Kim, Lhakpa and the crew will put on a great trip and will take good care of you! The food is exceptional and Kim's attention to detail especially in the dining tent, adds a great personal touch. Having done trips with other trekking companies before, it's the small details such this, combined with Kim's obvious passion/empathy for these places and their people/culture that has drawn me back again and again. However, what really sets them apart for me, is that they provide a fantastic off-the-beaten track experience and do truly exploratory trips in an amazing part of the world!
Celesta, Remote Villages & Wild Canyons of Ladakh 2009
Kim you are one of the most unique people I have ever met. You live life to the fullest.
Tom N, High Passes 2009
Kim, I admire the intensity with which you embrace adventure ...
Mike S, High Passes 2009
Thank you for making our journey such a magical experience ... an amazing adventure. We could not have wished for a better guide.
Everest High Passes Group, Nov 2008
Thanks a million times, once again, for the absolutely amazing trek - what a fine, life changing, experience, thanks to you and your amazing crew.
Lindsay H, Arun Valley & Gokyo 2008
Thanks so much for a fantastic Manaslu trek. Your energy, knowledge and passion for the area is infectious and inspiring! Thanks for getting me down the pass, and for picking me up when I fell (in true Lou style, on my butt) ... Thanks again, Kim. I had the best time!
Louise D, High Manaslu 2008
I have to thank you again (I hope I already did when I left). I enjoyed the trek much more than I could ever expect. When I left home my main goal was basically just to see all those big mountains, I didn't think so much all the other things I was going to see in Nepal. So, I was truly amazed how great it was to meet local, ordinary people, especially kids, and I felt so privileged when you made it possible to visit many homes of local people. The trek itself felt like being on a trek with a good friend who has excellent knowledge of local culture and people, and who knows very well the mountains also ... you did so well in all areas when compared to any other trekking guide (local or westerner), at least I felt very safe every time we were trekking, and nobody was as well taken care of as I was when we were staying in lodges. You had nice attitude all the time and you even took it calmly when I was grumpy or irritable. Maybe the most important thing for me was that in some nice way you were so easy to be with, I mean that even sitting beside you and just reading without saying a word felt so natural; this doesn't happen with everyone.
Olli PL, Everest High Passes 2008
Thank you for the great trip! It was certainty an adventure for me and so much fun. Reviewing my pictures and trying to delete 750 down to 100 is my goal and not an easy task. I have many stories and experiences to tell anyone who asks me.
You were great and a big help to this old man and I'll always remember your concern for me and our group. I already miss the spicy food - sure. And the smells of yak drivers and even Nima. But mostly I miss your infectious smile and spirit.
Tom B, Kharta Valley 2007
With Jim & Irving on the Nomads, Lakes & High Passes trek ...
I was on Kim's High Passes trek in November as well as a trek in Ladakh summer '06. Kim and her staff are professional and practice solid risk management, all with a personal touch. I never felt like I was on a commercial trek, yet trekking with friends.
Regarding High Passes specifically, the most important quality about the way Kim leads in that area is a profound attention to acclimatization. The itinerary is appropriately conservative to allow plenty of time for clients of all abilities to acclimatize. In addition, if specific clients acclimatize faster and perhaps have more capacity for activity, the itinerary offers optional side hikes from various lodges. In other words, if I was feeling less motivation or physically less than par, I could spend an afternoon reading in the lodge while others could do another hike in the area. Finally with regard to this issue, Kim is very flexible and provides very well for uncertainties. We had two people who struggled from the outset with the altitude. Rather than ending their trek and sending them back to the starting point, she discussed options with the clients and her sirdar (Nepali guide), and a new itinerary was created for the clients including a porter and guide. This allowed them to travel at a slower pace and still get to Everest Base Camp. They were not able to cross the passes, but we re-joined them at Namche Bazaar, and everyone felt they had reached their goals and were successful. This flexibility would not have happened with a different guide. As a matter of fact, we met clients from other trips who were on their way down after having felt sick and needing more time, and their group continued without them -- no alternative itinerary, just "trip over."
Kim treats her porters very well and considers them a vital part of our trip, caring for them with better wages, some outfitting, first aid, responsible loads, and an itinerary that also took their needs into account. The porters often joined us in the lodge, and we felt they were a part of our group as was appropriate.
... All of this goes without saying that the Everest region and the two high passes (Cho La and Renjo La) are utterly magnificent! We were indeed at the top of the world, and I felt like with this trek's itinerary we really experienced the entire area.
Ann McC, Everest High Passes 2008
In Ulan Batar, Mongolia, winding down with delicious Chinggis Khan beer after an epic Mongolia journey ...
I would happily repeat the Arun-Gokyo trek, or do any other trek, with Kim and her crew. Kim is a pleasant and exceedingly competent trek leader; Lhakpa, the cooks, and the porters are special people and in my experience, a pleasure to travel with. They looked after us cheerfully and with care, but never intrusively. They are a warm and fun group, and pound for pound, physically the strongest people I've ever been around.
The people we encountered were fascinating, and the beauty of the place is beyond my ability to describe, it's photography heaven. The cultural differences between rural Nepal and my town are enormous, yet I felt welcome, secure, and at home the entire time we were trekking. Don't miss the walking tours in KTM with Kim, and be sure to ask her to take you shopping...
Steve & Karen, Arun Valley & Gokyo 2008
Even after a week here in the States, my heart and mind are still in the Himalayas!!! Thanks so much for all that you did to make our trek the incredible experience that it was. Although I got a bit tired at times, I did so enjoy the experience so much. How blessed I feel to have been able to go on this trip, especially with such a great group as our merry little band. Do greet the crew for me and thank them again and again. I hope all of you are safe and having a blast out there on the trail somewhere...
Terry R, Ladakh, The Land Beyond 2007
Kim was terrific. She has an enormous amount of energy and is extremely generous in spirit and heart. Indeed, she very a kind and passionate guide who loves what she does.
Ornella C, Manaslu & Nar-Phu 2006
I swear you are one of the most amazing people I've ever met. You simply never ceased to amaze me with your seemingly endless energy. On top of that you were always there to see how I was doing and never failing to have a solution to whatever was the problem of the day. Your professionalism, organization, and friendliness shined at every turn.
Lowell, Everest Gokyo & Kala Pattar Christmas 2005
Your energetic leadership and guidance and positive outlook have made this trip truly memorable. Thanks for your kindness and inspirational support.
Jim W, Everest Gokyo & Kala Pattar Christmas 2005
Yes, it turned out to be a real good trip and I am most glad that I participated ... The land and the people turned out to be as interesting as you had promised. And the fellow travelers turned out to be amiable. The last, but not the least, Temba [Tenpa] and his assistant cooked up a storm. And all this sunshine...
Rein G, Zanskar, The Land Beyond 2005 (led by Kim and Joel)
I also wanted to tell you both again how much I enjoyed the trek, how it really has been a "trip of a lifetime" for me that has given me wonderful new insights into Ladakh and a rich experience that I will always treasure (and hopefully repeat)! You were both instrumental to that experience, and I appreciated immensely your energy, enthusiasm and passion for trekking and your deep knowledge of the culture and history of Ladakh.
Scott R, Jumlam 2005 (led by Kim and Joel)
Thank you Joel, Kim, Lobsang and co for a trek that far surpassed all hopes and expectations. You can supply the adjectives for yourself to save me descending too far into the realms of cliché - any delighted superlatives will do. Unforgettable, and certainly not the last time I hope to come out.
Evan J, Caravan 2003 & Ladakh 2005 (led by Kim & Joel)