About Four Winds
Four Winds Himalayan Guide Service has been guiding trips in the Himalaya since 1994. We have more than 22 years and 38 seasons of experience at altitude, including 19 successful climbing expeditions. With an emphasis on uncrowded treks and remote climbs, clients leave Nepal/Tibet having experienced the rich culture, ancient trails, and the intense climbing available in the Himalaya. Founder Matt Fioretti has been Alpine climbing since 1984 and brings 26 years of experience to the high altitude arena. Gambia Sherpa and Singa Lama joined Matt early on and bring with them more than 30 years combined experience on the trails and steep faces of the high peaks. The accumulation of years and passion for the mountains between the 3 individuals insures a safe, rare adventure.
Our trips are intimate. We allow only 6 to 9 trekkers and 2 to 6 climbers on a journey. You can call the owner Matt Fioretti at home or office anytime prior to the trek or climb. Weather your on a climb or trek, individual attention is one of our top priorities. You can expect prompt, courteous responses to your questions. Pre-trip orientations allow for everyone to receive a comfortable knowledge about the journey. While on the trek our adherence to small group size helps members become brother and sister, a camaraderie that often lasts for years afterwards. The intimacy is extended to our Sherpa and Nepali friends. We have created lasting relationships with the locals. Our group is greeted with a warmth that suggests we are part of the family. You feel at home and get a “backstage” view into the culture.
Almost anyone can do a trek in the Himalaya. You can be a beginner and feel comfortable with our experienced staff. Our age group has spanned 11 to 79 years old. The pace is slow and comfortable, each day hiking village to village and traversing the highest mountain range in the world. Everyone has acclimatized on our treks because of the calm pace and expertise of the guides. For the more advanced we offer guided and commercial climbs. Climbers with experience but daunted by the idea of high altitude, are taught expedition skills and the logistics of climbing a big mountain in a safe environment. For those who don’t need a guide we offer commercial trips. This means we handle all the logistics and red tape that are inherent in the Nepal Permit system, but you go as a climbing team member proficient at climbing.
Safety is our number one priority. Each group is registered with the American Embassy in Kathmandu and is equipped with a satalite phone. In 22 years of leading trips on the trails and mountains of Nepal our safety record is flawless.
Join us. We are personable, professional, fun, and have years of experience at altitude.
We specialize in the Himalaya of Nepal so you will have a transformational, adventure. One cannot walk through the Himalaya with out being changed or experiencing some shift in the soul.
Trekking and Climbing Shedule
What clients have to say....
True to his word, Matt was committed to safety on our trek to Nepal.He is knowledgeable, organized and has a positive attitude which is infectious. Matt is well loved in the communities we visited. The respect and admiration he has developed with the Nepali people created a unique, enhanced and truly exceptional experience for our group. Thanks, Matt! October 2013 Trek.
Going to Nepal was like stepping into the pages of National Geographic with the color, chaos and crowds of Kathmandu to the breathtakingly beautiful snow capped Himalayas. Matt had said we would stay with friends (I read business associates; I was wrong). These people were Matt's second family and they treated us as family. I didn't have as much vacation time as the rest of my group, so I returned early. It snowed one night and the inn keeper, Urken wouldn't let me leave until the trail was broken. A little while later I looked out the window and Urken was up on the mountain checking the trail for me. He came back in and said it was safe to go now. Later as I was crossing one of many suspension bridges, my porter, Prem, ran ahead of me to stop the yak train from starting across the bridge until I had finished crossing. With Matt's group you're not a tourist, you're part of Nepal, you're family.
“It has been years since I went with Matt and his crew to Ama Dablam and crazy as it sounds, it still feels like yesterday. The experience was one that is hard to put into words, when you are there amongst the people and grandeur of the Himalayas you feel all at once small and insignificant, yet more real and present than ever. I carry the essence and spirit of that journey with me everyday. Just go… more than that, go with Matt.”
I was just shy of 60 when I did the Everest Trail Trek with Matt. It was one of the most memorable events in my life! I loved it! And I learned some trekking lessons that apply to the rest of life, as well---like "Pace yourself." Those of us who did pace ourselves made it to the magnificent Everest Base Camp area at 17,000'. Throughout the entire trek we always felt secure with wonderfully kind Sherpas always there to lend a hand and encourage us onward. It was a grand initial experience into trekking that held so very many gifts from beginning to end.
"My trips to Nepal with Four Winds were life-changing experiences, in the best possible way. Being halfway around the world, in an unfamiliar place, thousands of miles away from everything you know, can be a scary situation, but when you're with Matt, there's a comfort level. It feels like all of Nepal is your family."
Yes, the trek stands out as one of my life's most amazing experiences, certainly because of the Himalayas magnificence, but also due to our group's lighthearted, playful camaraderie, the welcoming arms of the locals at the teahouses where you had been before, evening card games, and the way you kept us always under your protective eye ... checking every day for our oxygen saturation levels, making sure we drank enough water, stopping for rest when needed, and also encouraging us along, like on Gokyo Ri, for those last panting steps, so that I might not miss the view of one of the world's most spectacular, breath-taking sights ... and yet, I never felt pampered or stifled, as you simultaneously offered ample space for us to move in our own rhythms, moods and pace.
If I never properly said thanks to you before for all that Matt ... Thanks!!! ... the experience will continue to resonate within me for my lifetime!
Some things that are extraordinary about Nepal and going with Four Winds. Kids smiling faces, fluffy clouds, the aroma of incense, village life, and the journey in the mountains. I especially liked the pace of the trek. I could go at my own pace and felt comfortable. Tim S.
With Matt I have successfully climbed a 6000 meter peak and a 8000 meter peak in the Himalaya even though I suffer from a liver disease. The first was Naya Kanga, 6000M, post -monsoon , in the Langtang region near Ganga La. The friends I made have become lifelong best friends, not only the fellow trekkers but the sherpas as well, like Singi and Sangi who brought me milk tea (Dudh Chai)and cheese on the descent. The Four Winds staff, assistants and Sherpas, make the journey possible. When climbing Cho Oyu from Tibet we spent 7 weeks in the Dingri Region and 4 weeks above 20K feet, climbing to 27,500 feet without oxygen. Matt, being the consummate guide escorted a sick teammate back to BC. Two of the five members made the summit. When I go back it will be with Four Winds and fortunately with Matt who also had a serious illness sidetrack him, but who has already made his recovery and found his way back to the Himalayas. This is the true meaning of meeting life's challenges, and this is what you can achieve with Four Winds. Hope to see you on the high mountains. Namaste!
Matt and Four Winds Himalayan Guide Service kindled in me a deep love of alpine climbing on my first trip to Nepal in 1999. This first trip taught me a lot and I have returned to Nepal with Matt four times since. Matt has a deep love and respect for the indigenous culture of the Sherpa people of the Khumbu, and in his 20 year dealings with the people in that region, he has established many deep friendships; it is especially remarkable to share in these connections with him. I have always felt safe when climbing with Matt. He has developed good mountain sense over the years, and his motto "may the four winds blow you safely home" is a propos of his climbing philosophy which holds safety in high regard. Matt is also a fountainhead of ideas, and has always provided a source of inspiration for those seekers who take to the mountains. I have learned a lot from Matt's personal struggles with aplastic anemia, and his return to active climbing continues to inspire many people to see mountains as metaphors for the challenges we all face in life. I have Matt to thank for what has developed into a life-long passion for me. It all started with one trip to the Himalaya.
My journey to Nepal with Matt and Four Winds was inspirational and life-transforming. Matt's expertise in guiding allowed us to safely explore the exquisite beauty of the Himalayas and experience Nepal's fascinating culture. We always felt welcome wherever we went, as Matt has formed incredible connections with the people of Kathmandu, the sherpas who gently encouraged us, and the families who brought us into their homes and fed us delicious meals. Nepal is a hiker and climber's paradise and an adventurer's dream. It's beauty is truly divine. The journey has made a permanent impact on the way I live my life, appreciate nature and take risks. I highly recommend traveling with Four Winds! Aileen P.
The smell was of burning lantern oils and incense. The colors were the bluest of blues for the sky and the whitest of whites for the clouds. The sounds were of another language, and the ringing of yak bells were soothing to my ears late into the night. The touch of the air was bitter cold in a soothing way. The taste of the food was bland, yet sweet and interesting to my taste buds. When I close my eyes and think back on this journey , it was the most romantic thing I have aver experienced on my own. I have returned with Four Winds 3 times. David Frisk
“Thank you Matt for my wonderful trip to Nepal. It really changed my life forever” Jeanne
Monday, October 22, 2012
Monday, October 15, 2012
I am in the Khumbu on expedition and have a brief rest in Namche Bazaar. I will have to continue blogs on the Tibet trip upon my return to Kathmandu but leave you with this:
Day 3 of our journey heading West across Tibet I saw the ultimate nomad. We were 2 to 3 hours by car from any village. The hills of Tibet stretched beyond the eye, endless. The ultimate nomad caught my eye between horizon and road side, just a black speck in a sand sea. Trotting with an air of confidence, a regal traveler with head held high, tail curled tight, and business to tend to. This nomad is the formidable Tibetan Mastiff. I would guess that the one I view now from the comfort of my car was 150 miles from the nearest Tibetan hovel. The breed is known to travel 3 to 5 days without food and water. They will fend off wolf to protect the nomadic family and fight to the death to keep the yak heard safe from snow leopard.
They also have a very lazy side. I have watched the breed for 10 years or more and often you will see them lounging in the hot sun on a high rock. I brought one from Nepal in 2004 and most of the day she lays and acts like we need to tend to her. When it is time to protect the house from the odd raccoon she becomes fierce.
Viewing this lone dog crossing the Tibetan plateau made me think about freedom, strength, and living without fear. If you have a chance look up the breed do so.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Though the landscape spreads into an infinite painting and the days of driving long, you want to keep your eyes open and fight sleep. The colors, mountains, streams, high passes, huge puffy clouds, deep blue sky, and the characters on the road are wild and free. Every driving day was at least 5 hours and sometime 9 but I and the others rarely shut our eyes for chance we would miss something in this special land. I rarely blinked. Most of the hours were passed in pure silence. Three land cruisers, 4 people each car, rarely a word exchanged in the truck I traveled in. The driver of my truck was a larger man light on his feet. At one point he loaded a music CD and haunting Tibetan music came through the speakers. He began to sing and his voice melted our hearts, I could feel the land and his experience in his voice. His name was Pinejew (spelled phonetically) and he grew on all.
The characters on the road I will write about in the next blog. Imagine mad max meets Tibetan nomad. Also photos coming soon. Love to all.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
I have had bus drivers in Nepal smoking hash while listening to Santana, drinking Chang ( local rice wine) and slurring their words, visiting with their good friend in the jump seat next to them with their eyes on the road only 50% of the time. The great Himalayan gorges beckoning, tires just inches away from the great plunge. I was apprehensive as our bus pulled out in the early Kathmandu dust toward the North, and the cool mountain air. I cannot remember our drivers name but he was the first driver I ever tipped. He was awesome! Careful around blind corners where others would Carine a speeding bus into possible mayhem. One bus ride I actually jumped out the window as the driver tried to slip the bus past a landslide only wide enough to fit a small car. Every passenger followed, spilling out the door ways, the emergency exit in the rear, half opened windows, and the bus skidded to a dusty stop just inches before the plunge. Today our driver was smooth, safe, and kind. He probably listened to Santana in the safety of his home. I tipped him good and everyone was thankful. We arrived at the Tibet border in one piece and began the immigration process.
We had arrived at Kodari the last village before crossing the friendship bridge into Tibet and the town of Zangmu. The bridge brings back old memories. It was here after finishing an expedition on Cho Oyu the 6th highest peak in the world that I had trouble exiting the country. They would not let me leave an I could not figure out why. I had planned to escape at night by rappelling down into the deep gorge that separates the borders and then crossing the river into Nepal. Providence steps in again. I ran into a Nepali friend who was doing business on the Tibet side and told him of my plan. In his broken Nepali accent he said " No no no maaat, Chinese machine guns in valley". I decide to pass on the idea of escaping via valley.
I called the American embassy in Chengdu and Nepal. They contacted the Chinese officer in charge, I was out 2 days later.
Now crossing back into Tibet I was nervous that they would refuse me entry. As they checked our paper work mid bridge span I looked toward the Chinese guard with his crisp green uniform and white gloves holding a semi automatic weapon. First thought, not good, as I walked toward the guard. Everything actually went well after I passed. We went into an immigration room and a kind Chinese officer greeted us and apologised for the wait. Relieved, we entered Tibet on September 21st and were on our way to holy Mt Kailash.