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

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 to Pharo, Bhutan

Please note the arrival date in Paro on your day-to-day itinerary listed on your confirmation letter. Note that trip dates include travel time from your home country.

Please schedule your flights to Bangkok or Delhi based on the day to day itinerary. We will then arrange for your flight from these cities to Paro, Bhutan. Once the flights are confirmed we will bill you accordingly and send etickets. This last leg of the flight can only be made by Alpine Ascents with our local outfitter in Bhutan. We are happy to make arrangements for those who would like to enter Bhutan early or stay after the trek. Please email a copy of your flight itinerary before booking. We will review your itinerary to ensure you will arrive on time.

Flight reservations for your expedition should be made as soon as possible. Please forward a copy of your flight itinerary before final purchase so we can review departure and arrival dates.

Alpine Ascents highly recommends the services of Charles Mulvehill at Scan East West Travel: [email protected] when making flight arrangements.

Alpine Ascents can make pick-up, hotel, and transport arrangements to meet individual itineraries.

Flying to Pharo, Bhutan

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 hotel in Paro (see hotels and lodging).

Early Arrival/Late Departure: We are happy to arrange an airport pick up for you if arriving early. For those arriving early or departing after the scheduled itinerary, we can make hotel and transport arrangements at an additional cost. Please contact our office in advance if you would like us to make additional reservations.

Visas & Passports

Bhutan visas have to be pre-arranged. You are required to email us a scanned copy of your passport for the visa process. Passport photographs are not required. The validity of the passport should be at least 6 months from the date of travel. Upon registration, we will process your visa with the government. After your visa is cleared, we will email you the Visa Clearance Letter (VCL). You will have to carry this VCL while traveling to Bhutan. Based on your VCL, the actual Bhutan visa will be stamped on your passport on arrival at Paro airport.

Hotels

For terkkers who prefer single room accommodations, these arrangements can be made for an additional fee. Be aware that private rooms are available at hotels during our trip, but not on the mountain.

For trekkers choosing 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. Hotel selection and reservations will be finalized within the months leading up to departure.

In Cities

In Paro
Tashi Namgay Resort www.tnr.bt
Khangkhu Resort www.khangkhuresort.com

In Thimphu
Hotel Migmar www.hotelmigmar.bt
Hotel Galingkha www.hotelgalingkha.com

For the lodging during our trek we sleep in tents. We work hard to have a diverse menu but this can be limited by availability and remoteness of region.

Gear List

Please refer to your Gear List:

You are required to bring every item on this list as described, so be as precise as possible when packing. We are happy to work closely with you on finding the proper gear.

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. Remember to review your airline’s weight limits and pack accordingly. Traveling light may be your key to summit success. Take everything on the required equipment list and little else.

Expenses

With regards to personal expenses, please note that American dollars are the preferred method of payment. Cash or cash in conjunction with a small amount of travelers checks is usually the best option. Credit Cards are fine at bigger hotels. Smaller places do often accept credit cards, but charge a fee. We will work with you in Bhutan to change money to Bhutanese Ngultrum/Rupees for the trek.

Money: Most trekkers change $500 in Bhutan before departing on the trek (for drinks, purchases along the trek and shopping.) Trekkers generally take an additional $500-$1000 for expenses, some tips and emergencies.

Drinks: We provide bottled water during the city tours. We provide boiled water throughout the trek.

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.

Tipping

It is customary for trekkers to tip about $300 for the trekking staff. Western guides can accept and will greatly appreciate tips with a rough tipping guideline as 10-15% of the trip cost for both local and western lead guides.

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 have expedition food as enjoyable as possible. We usually ship food from the US and spend days food shopping in Paro and Thimphu. We recommend bringing a personal selection of energy bars and GU for the trek. We provide bottled mineral water on the city tour. On the trek, boiled water will be provided for drinking. All trekkers need to bring water purification in the form of a Steri-pen.

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 & PCR Testing for Entry and Exit

TBD – Awaiting country opening.

Masks

Climbers will 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.

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 trekking location in better social distancing.

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

Dining on the Mountain
Guides may opt to have outdoor dining and not use a dining tent should circumstances warrant.

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 climbers may be verbally screened for these symptoms on arrival in Bhutan.

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.

I don’t have a single thing to say needs to be improved upon and will tell you that Ben did an (typical for AAI) excellent job of handling the necessary minor changes to itinerary and added on some nice cultural features that made the trip a very special experience.

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Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
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