Logistics

Paperwork

Please take the time to read the entire Logistics section in full. If you have questions, feel free to call the Alpine Ascents office or email us. 

Make sure you have submitted the following paperwork to Alpine Ascents.

⎕  Application
⎕  Flight itinerary
⎕  Legible copy of photo page of your passport
⎕  Two passport sized photos

Trip Insurance

As there are many unforeseen circumstances that may occur during or leading up to the trip, we strongly recommend trip insurance for your expedition.

A variety of trip insurance options are available through different providers. We recommend Comprehensive Trip Insurance for your protection.

There are two basic policies: ‘standard trip insurance’ which can cover injuries or illness, or a ‘cancel for any reason’ addon which covers a wider variety of situations. Note – this addon is considerably more expensive, and if paid out only covers 75% of the trip fee. Please note this is just a summation of the policies available.

Please see complete specific policy information for our recommended policies..

Getting There

Please note the arrival date in Kathmandu on your day-to-day itinerary listed on your confirmation letter. Please ensure that your flight arrives in Kathmandu prior to 2 p.m. on your arrival date as this will allow you to meet the group in the evening. Flight reservations for your expedition should be made as soon as possible.

Alpine Ascents highly recommends the services of Charles Mulvehill at Scan East West Travel (800) 727-2157 or (206) 623-2157 or  [email protected] when making flight arrangements. Please e-mail or mail a copy of your flight itinerary to our offices. We will review your itinerary to ensure you will arrive on time.

Getting to Kathmandu, Nepal
For those arriving early or departing after the scheduled itinerary, we are happy to make hotel and airport transfer arrangements. Please contact  our office in advance of your departure if you would like us to make additional reservations for you.

Arrival: We will pick you up at the airport. Please look for an Alpine Ascents sign upon leaving the terminal. It is very rare that we miss a pick up. If you have waited more than 45 minutes for a pick up please proceed directly to the Yak and Yeti hotel (see hotels and lodging). You can also reach out to our local contact.

Upon arrival at the airport in KTM, be aware of people trying to “help” you with your luggage cart and then demanding large tips. Better to decline their services, roll your own luggage cart outside to the pick-up area and then follow the directions of the Alpine Ascents representative, who you need not tip.

Visas & Passports
It is best to obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport. Have 2 passport photos ready. It is recommended that you expedite the process by arriving at the airport with forms already completed using the online visa application process. Note: You can only do this 15 days or less before departure Please go to:

https://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa

Online Visa Instructions:

Select 30 day visa
Yak and Yeti is Hotel
Street number is 1016
Street is Durbar Marg
Municipality is KTM
Ward is 1
District is 3
Local address is same as hotel address

Please be advised that you must have a valid US passport that does not expire for at least 6 months from date of entry for most countries and have blank pages available in your passport. Alpine Ascents is happy to work closely with all climbers to determine visa/entry requirements.

Hotel In Kathmandu

Hotel Yak & Yeti
P.O. Box. 1016, Durbar Marg, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: 977-1-4248999, 240520 Fax: 977-1-4227781/4227782

For those requesting double room accommodations every effort will be made to pair you with another climber. A Single Room Supplement Fee will apply if a match cannot be made or there is a last minute cancellation. This will help keep our overall program pricing down since unlike other companies we do not charge more for smaller groups.

Trek Lodging
For the lodging during our trek we lodge in Sherpa village tea houses, many of them remote, giving us a rare look into both traditional and monastic communities. We access these villages through our long time Sherpa friends with the belief that a sharing of cultures is paramount in our understanding of the world. While the environs are often primitive by western standards, they are balanced by the warmth and tremendous support of the Sherpa people. Please note that while we hand pick the lodges, the Khumbu is a remote area and  accommodations/toilet conditions are very basic.

Single Room Supplement for Kathmandu & Namche:
For those interested in a single room for an additional fee, we can reserve single rooms in Kathmandu and Namche Village. Other lodges may have single rooms available but cannot be reserved ahead of time. One can pay the additional fee upon arrival to the lodge directly but it is best to plan on shared rooms in the Khumbu. Fees for single rooms vary by village but your guide will let you know cost and availability upon arrival at each lodge.

Gear List

Please review the annotated gear list below. We certainly understand that you may have personal preferences and have tested gear and gear  systems in the field, but encourage you to contact us with any significant variations from the gear list.

Island Peak Gear List

Our gear lists are updated regularly, but some brands and models do change. You are required to bring every item on the list. We are happy to work closely with you on finding the proper gear. Please note that we flying in small planes with limited space so please adhere to the gear list as much as possible.

Alpine Ascents does not require trekkers to bring any food. That said if you want to bring up to a 1lb plastic bag of your favorite power bars and drink mix, you are welcome to do.

If you plan to rent gear, your rental form must be submitted at least a month prior to expedition start date. Please call our office or e-mail [email protected] with any questions.

Gear Lexicon

If you’re confused by items and/or language on the Gear List, we encourage you to refer to our Gear Guide for explanations on layering systems, differences between boots, etc.

Other Resources

Below are articles written by veteran Alpine Ascents guides that you may find helpful in preparing and packing for your expedition.

Medications & Prescriptions for Mountain Climbing

Women’s-Specific Tips

Not on the Gear List, but in our Backpacks

Packing Tips

People generally take too much “stuff” rather than too little. Study each item before you pack it. Eliminate redundant items, extra changes of clothing, and excessive “nice to have” luxuries. You will benefit from traveling light because of the costs of excess baggage and because of the frequent loading and unloading of bags. Take everything on the required equipment list and little else. Remember to review your airline’s weight limits and pack accordingly. If your airline enforces a strict weight limit, you should be ready to have your boots and another heavy item transferred to your carry on.

Expenses

With regards to personal expenses, bringing some cash in conjunction with using ATM in Nepal is generally best (limits on withdrawals are about $200). We will work with you in Nepal to change money to Nepalese rupees for the trek and assist with locating ATM machines Credit Cards are fine at bigger hotels. Smaller places in Kathmandu may or may not accept credit cards, but charge a fee when they do. In the Khumbu, credit cards are generally not useful (some places in Namche accept credit cards). Note that money changers in Nepal will not accept dirty, old, or wrinkled bills.

Money: Most trekkers change $500 into Nepalese rupees in Nepal before departing on the trek. This is for bottled drinks, purchases along the trek and shopping. Trekkers generally take an additional $500-$1000 (including ATM use) for expenses, some tips and emergencies.

Drinks: While we provide boiled water throughout the trek to drink at meal times, some trekkers will choose to buy bottled bottled drinks like beer, soda, or water. These drinks are expensive in the Khumbu; a liter of bottled water can cost $2-$3 (~4 bottles/day) or so along the trekking route.

Sundries: In addition to souvenirs, people might also choose to spend money on wifi access where its available (from $5-$10 a day), charging of phones/electronic devices (from $2 to $5 per charge) and hot showers which can be purchased at some of the teahouses for about $5.

Departure by Helicopter: It is usually possible to depart early from the trek at Dingboche (or nearby Pheriche) by helicopter. The heli will take you to Lukla where, if early enough you can board an onward flight the same day. Helicopters for later departure or inclement weather may also be possible from Lukla to Kathmandu.

Typical cost from Pheriche to Lukla is $700, but based on number of passengers. This would allow climbers to leave 3-4 days prior to the scheduled date but can only be booked during the trek based due to weather concerns. Typical cost from Lukla to Kathmandu is $400, but based on number of passengers.

Early Departure/Evacuation

If you need to leave the expedition early, you are responsible for all incurred expenses (evacuation fees, transport, extra hotel nights, etc). A comprehensive trip insurance plan is recommended, which can cover these costs in the event that they occur.

Climbers who opt not to participate in one of the three climbs will be responsible for hotels and meals during that time.

Tipping

It is customary for Island Peak climbers to tip about $300 -$350 for the Sherpa Staff. (Guide will collect and distribute). Alpine Ascents guides can accept and will greatly appreciate tips. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. It’s always hard to recommend a specific amount as we believe tips should be based on level and quality of services, as well as an amount that meets your budget. Please consider the information below to be merely a guideline. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of satisfaction and ability. For Alpine Ascents guides, 10-20% of the total trip cost per guide team is a very general guideline. If you plan to tip by check, please make it out to the lead guide by name. Please do not make the check out to Alpine Ascents. As always, we are happy to discuss this in more detail.

On the Mountain

Physiology Of Mountaineering

Dehydration, hypothermia, frostbite, and altitude illness are all important health conditions to be aware of while climbing. Please read our overview of these physical factors:

Food & Water

We are all aware of the potential monotony of expedition food and Alpine Ascents makes every effort to make expedition food as enjoyable as possible. We work hard to have a diverse menu but this can be limited by availability and remoteness of region. A sample menu of the types of food that you might expect to eat on the expedition can be found at: https://www.alpineascents.com/pdf/info/nepal-menu.pdf

Tap water is not drinkable in Nepal. At mealtimes, we will provide you with hot drinks (such as hot water, tea or other local drinks) that have been boiled and are safe to drink. For drinking water on the trail and in the lodges other than at mealtimes, we will assist you in filling your water bottles and you can purify that water with the steri pen (best method) or water purification drops/tablets that you are asked to bring (see gear list).

Health Tips

You may want to consult your physician for advice on treatments for gastrointestinal upsets that you may encounter on your trip. In the past, climbers have relied on antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin. Your doctor may recommend medications such as Lomotil or Imodium to stop diarrhea, and Compazine to prevent nausea.

Leave No Trace

Alpine Ascents International practices Leave No Trace principles on all expeditions. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Before your climb, please become familiar with Leave No Trace:

7 Principles of Leave No Trace

As guides, we spend time teaching the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principles and practices. There is nothing more rewarding than working hard to get high into the mountains, reaching a pristine campsite, witnessing incredible views, and having the feeling that no one has been there before.

Conversely, there is nothing more disheartening than working hard to climb a mountain, reaching a site and encountering trash, food waste, and toilet paper. Please read the seven LNT principles, and call the office if you have any questions about what you can do to plan ahead.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Please note that Covid protocols, both best practices and entry requirements, are changing frequently. While we cannot eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19, we do carry out a variety of measures designed to mitigate the risk of illness for climbers and staff. It is important we work together with the same team-oriented perspective we rely on in climbing, and we greatly appreciate your partnership. Please take a few moments to thoroughly read the information below and know that we look to improve our operation as additional information about the virus becomes available.

Vaccinations
We expect that all climbers will be vaccinated before joining our expedition. Please contact us if getting vaccinated prior to the expedition is problematic.

Masks
Climbers may be asked to wear proper facemasks in all public places while not on the mountain. This includes while in towns, while being transported and while in hotel premises or during meals.

Testing
All climbers will need to arrive with a negative covid result completed 72 hours or less before departure to Nepal. We will assist with obtaining tests before returning to the US (mandatory) before departing on homeward.

Transportation
Based on recommendations and factors at time of departure we may opt to use multiple vehicles for transport to and from airport and to and from the mountain to maintain better social distancing.

Lodging
Lodging will be in shared rooms and tents unless a single room is requested. Subject to change based on conditions.

Screening
If you experience fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea please immediately contact Alpine Ascents. Anyone experiencing these symptoms within 14 days of their trip date will be asked to reschedule their trip. All trekkers may be verbally screened for these symptoms on arrival in Nepal.

Mitigation Measures
Hand washing and hand sanitizing facilities are provided throughout the program, We encourage you to regularly clean or sanitize your hands while on this journey, especially after touching your face, sneezing, coughing, using the bathroom, eating, or drinking. Common areas, high-touch surfaces, and restrooms are sanitized regularly.

We are committed to keeping our environment clean for your protection as well as ours.

Truly an outstanding experience. All guides were extremely knowledgeable and their skill level was at the top.

A similar view on our approach to base camp.
Touring the Swayambunath Temple, also known as the Monkey Temple, in Kathmandu.
Looking down into the holy Hindu temple of Pashupatinath.
Sadhus or holy men of the Pashupatinath temple.
A view down the impressive landing strip in Lukla.
Trekking through villages below the town of Namche.
Approaching the summit.
A view into the Khumbu valleyÁs largest village, Namche Bazaar.
Memorial cairns for Sherpa climbers, who have passed away.
A group inside the childhood home of Lakpa Rita, in the village of Thame.
Standing in the courtyard of the 300+ year old Thame Monastery.
Along the trail one continuously sees these ever-present mani stones or prayer stones.
The entrance to Tengboche monastery.
Evening light in Tengboche.
Young monks during the Mani Rimdu Festival at the Tengboche Monastery.
A thanka painting of the White Tara on a rock wall along the trail.
From the top of Kala Pattar a trekker looks out north towards Tibet with Mt. Everest summit ridge off to the right.
On the way out to Everest base camp with the Khumbu Icefall recognizable in the distance.
A traditional home with slate roof, along the trekking route.
Everest base camp during a spring expedition season.
Views south from the top with Baruntse in the distance on the far left and Ama Dablam on the far right.
The spectacular summit ridge of Island Peak.
View from the summit.
A similar view on our approach to base camp.

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