|North Face of Ama Dablam. Clients are standing at 16,000 feet. click on photo to enlarge|
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
Sunday, November 2, 2014
It is often not easy to keep up the calories because of this quickened metabolism. I found that the Landjaeger Sticks that Seattle Bavarian meats supplied me made it easy to keep up my strength and calorie intake. The meat is tasty. I will use them on long runs, hikes, and alpine climbs. They pack easy, last, and are super yummy. Definitely try the Landjaeger on your next outing. I look forward to trying other meat specialties I spied when at the store in Pike Place Market. Thank You Bavarian Meats.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Alpenglow, Mt Everest and Nuptse, with the jet stream hammering the heavens
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Suggested reading. If you are a parent a book called "Last Child in the Woods". Adults, "The Shallows".
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Our situation is only as our mind makes it. Reading accounts of Prisoners of War who survived you will find they spent their days in the mind to find peace. They could find the positive in the retched. They could not be broken because of the mind, spirit connection. Survivors understood that the retched captor could not capture the mind/spirit. It is only our mind that can truly jail us.
This mind spirit connection can be summed up by something I believe in. "Where ever your mind is, thats where you are". Further explanation comes from a quote by Pema Chodron.
"Whether we regard our situation as heaven or as hell depends on our perception"
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Once on the Nepal side the tension subsides and Tibetan Folk songs ring through the valley. Tibetans often whistle a tune that lulls Yak and herder into a meditation. The occasional, Ang Tashi, Ang Nima (yak names) echoing off the walls as the animals are persuaded to move faster.
On this trip I could hear the yak bells in the distance. A kind of soft sound making one forget the miles under feet.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
I was sitting with 2 holy men on a row of white painted steps. Their red dress with dashes of yellow popped against the white. Their dark eyes danced many a journey. I joked with them "You like to sit here to watch the pretty girls." A heaving body as they bowed their heads back and forth from the force of a big laugh. They have sworn to celibacy.
I saw another Saddhu, sitting slumped, his body smeared with the clay of the holy temple grounds. His hand held in a lazy Mudra (hand gesture of wisdom) "I jokingly said, "You look bored." Thinking he would reply with some astronomical punctuation of wisdom. He replied "Every Day" with a big smile.
Monday, May 5, 2014
As we walked into the courtyard we noticed a beautiful young dog laden with heavy chain around his neck. The fir was warn away where the chain hung. The dog had probably been chained since he was a pup.
The clients and I moved closer. The young dog wagged its tail and sat calmly has we glanced over his situation. He had a water dish with drops of water in it. He had a food bowl with a handful of rice. To escape the elements he had nothing. He was chained to a metal bar set in a cement wall that surrounded the court yard. It was snowing now, he was wet.
I grabbed the chain around his neck and found the locking mechanism. We decided to let him loose.
As the chains dropped from his neck he began sprinting around the court, a big smile on his face. It was beautiful to see this dog and his first minutes of freedom. He circled the monastery 3 times, darted toward Steve (a gentleman on our trek team) and because of the lack of experience with movement slid into his legs not knowing how to brake. His tail acted as a wild propeller, non stop turning, a happy dog for sure.
He went back to his food bowl and greedily finished his food. He made a few more rounds around the monastery running, jumping, then exited the courtyard doors, a slight whirlwind flowing out into the expanses.
We returned to our tea house. We found out the dog was actually the monks that we had passed on the steep stairs. I thought about Buddhism and compassion. I wondered what the monk what have felt like with a chain around his neck out in the open elements? Maybe his intentions were pure but did not know how to take care of a dog?
What I do know is that we passed a grumpy, frumpy Monk, and no dog should be chained in the elements without a roof over its head.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
I glance over his situation. He has a stone hut 8 feet by 9 feet long. It is perched on a the only flat terrace on a broad mountain side at 13,200 feet. As I glance back he is smiling while he sees us on. He has nothing but a thick wool hat on, canvas pants darkened with mountain life, a smile that is as vast as the ocean. Running near his hut is a small mountain stream, his life line.
I look miles to the north, only mountains and tundra, the border of Tibet beyond. I look west, a great mountain wall looms. I look to my left, East. I see a small heard of huge beautiful yaks, his life's work.
I continue down and think of my life, our life in the United States. We need insurances to keep from getting sued. I have a mortgage which ways heavy. Monthly bills. Can our children walk to school alone as I once did? Time seems to be a chain. Can I move freely? We fight to keep our guns. If we need guns are we living in fear? I do not know the answers but as I witness this Sherpa living in a stone hut with the cleanest water and unchained time, I believe we are missing something. I can feel it in his smile.
I turn one last time and yell a "Nameste". He stands, the happiest man on earth and returns "Namaste".
Thursday, April 24, 2014
You are the ones that make it possible for all who do not have the skill or strength to fix rope. You are the ones that make it possible for all.
I hope you realize how important you are, I hope you realize that Everest is your mountain. The mountain does not belong to Western Guide Services it belongs to you.
You are the angels of everest both in the physical and, for those who have died on her slopes, spiritual.
Peace and prayers to the safe passage of lost ones and to the families left behind.
This is the first time to altitude for most of them and they have entered this new experience with open hearts. We move up to 14,200 feet tomorrow. I am excited to see friends in the Thame and Gokyo valley as well as get a closer look at a climb for next October. Peace to all.
Monday, April 21, 2014
|Real Holy Men at Pashuputinath. The Saddhu on the left had walked barefoot to upper Mustang valley.|
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014
The conversation turned to the moon. How Beautiful, How blue, How mysterious, A spiritual teacher, How men had been there, and walked in the unknown. On that comment a Sherpa from a small village of 8 stone huts interrupted. "No man has been there!" He said it with complete conviction. We all smiled, humbled by the purity of the Sherpas statement. I said "Well yes, man has flown there". I grabbed a stick and mimicked a rocket flight.
The Sherpas are mountain people, they walk everywhere. They will walk 3 days to make a 3 minute phone call. 2 days to visit a friend for an hour. The trails are stony and steep.
The Sherpa interrupted again "No! No! No! You show me the trail that goes there."
Friday, March 21, 2014
I am excited to announce our 2015 schedule of climbing expeditions in Nepal. In March we will be returning to Kangchung Peaks. Rarely climbed, remote Base camp, and no crowds. In October I want to announce our return to Ama Dablam, a peak that challenges every skill of the Alpinist. Feel free to call or email with questions. Matt Fioretti has led 3 previous expeditions on Ama Dablam. Join us for a fast and light expedition. We limit our group size to 4 climbers. Matt Fioretti brings you to the summit and more importantly, back home.