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. 

Please return the requested paperwork, (application and flight itinerary) as soon as possible. This information assists us in procuring permits and making final hotel reservations.

⎕  Application
⎕  Flight itinerary
⎕  Passport Copy
⎕  Trip Evacuation Insurance Confirmation (required)
⎕  Two Passport Photos (scans are fine)

Trip Insurance & Evacuation Coverage

We highly recommend trip insurance as there are many unforeseen circumstances that can occur leading up to a trip.  Evacuation coverage, however, is required for this trip. Evacuation insurance is not ‘insurance,’ as one must usually contact the insurance company prior to evacuation, and the insurance agency will make payment to directly to those conducting the evacuation.Please click here for more information:

https://www.alpineascents.com/trip-cancellation-insurance-trip/

 

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 noon on your arrival date as this will allow you to meet the group for our orientation and briefing in the afternoon.

Flight reservations for your expedition should be made as soon as possible.

If you would like the assistance of a travel agency, we can recommend our friends at Exito Travel.

Getting to Kathmandu, Nepal
Flights from the USA and Europe to Nepal are long! We highly recommend that you consider arriving a day or two before the start of the scheduled itinerary to rest, recover and transition to the new time zone.

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.

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.

Please download WhatsApp, a free and secure international messaging and calling app, to your cell phone before arriving in Nepal. The Kathmandu airport has free Wi-Fi and you can use WhatsApp to communicate.   Before your orientation meeting in Kathmandu, our staff will start a group text message thread for all trip participants on WhatsApp.  Please download WhatsApp prior to your arrival in Kathmandu and look out for our message the evening before your orientation meeting.

Health Requirements

There are currently no health requirements for entering the country of Nepal. Travelers should consider inoculations such as updating polio and tetanus and Hepatitis A. Participants should also bring a personal medical kit which includes the items set forth on your gear list. We encourage you to review the latest health information on the Center for Disease Control’s website:
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/nepal

We would recommend that you talk to your doctor about obtaining a prescription for Diamox, a drug that helps treat and minimize the effects of altitude sickness. Assuming that you are not allergic to Diamox (a sulpha drug), you would want to bring at least 20 pills, enough for 10 days of 125 mg of Diamox taken twice a day. Please use Diamox under the guides’ direction only. Your guides will discuss this in more detail at the orientation meeting in Kathmandu, but please contact us beforehand with any questions.

Visa and Entry Requirements

For those with time we recommend getting a visa from the Embassy ahead of time.

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:

http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa.  We will send you information regarding local details (such as hotel name and addresses) that you will need to complete the online visa form well in advance of the departure date.

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 visa pages available in your passport. Alpine Ascents is happy to work closely with all participants to determine visa/entry requirements.

POLITICAL CLIMATE

We encourage you to visit your home country’s governmental travel website. The State Department (USA) travel warnings for Nepal can be found at:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Nepal.html

Hotels In Nepal

We will stay at modern, full-service hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara. In Mustang, accommodation options are more rustic but still comfortable. Rooms generally have attached, simple bathrooms. There is electricity and, most of the time, Wi-Fi is available for a small fee.

For those requesting double room accommodations every effort will be made to pair you with another participant. 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.

For those interested in a single room for an additional fee, we can reserve single rooms in Kathmandu and Pokhara only. 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. Fees for single rooms vary by village but your guide will let you know cost and availability upon arrival at each lodge.

Physical Conditioning

Participants are expected to be in excellent physical condition.  Although we will travel mostly by vehicle,  we will be hiking and walking every day on footing that can be uneven, steep and rocky.  Some of the caves can generally be accessed only by climbing ladders. Do not underestimate the effect of altitude — the high altitude of Mustang will noticeably increase the amount of effort we need to expend.

Trekkers are expected to be in excellent physical condition. Being physically prepared for the rigors of the mountains is one of the key aspects to an enjoyable, risk conscious, and rewarding experience for the entire team. Please read the training information on our website:

https://www.alpineascents.com/treks/mustang/training/

Gear

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.

https://www.alpineascents.com/treks/mustang/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 so.

In The Field

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.

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 or water purification drops/tablets that you are asked to bring (see gear list).

Health Tips

Mustang is very dry and, most days, windy in the afternoons. The sun can be intense during the day and it can get cold at night.  A buff or facemask covering your nose and mouth will help protect against the dust and will moisturize the dry air.  Good sun protection is important.

You may want to consult your physician for advice on treatments for gastrointestinal or respiratory upsets that you may encounter on your trip Your doctor may recommend medications such as Lomotil or Imodium to stop diarrhea.  Please bring all the items listed under “Medications and Prescriptions” on the gear list and see the discussion of Diamox under “Health Requirements” above.

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.

Communications

Hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara have Wi-Fi. Most of the lodges in Mustang have Wi-Fi, sometimes free and sometimes for a fee.  There is also spotty cell service in Mustang but it is not to be counted on. If you would like to get a local sim card, we can assist you with buying one in Kathmandu.

It is possible to recharge cellphones and the like at our hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara. It will also be possible to recharge at most of the lodges in Mustang, sometimes for a small fee. In any event, we have found it very helpful to bring an external  battery pack  just in case.

Nepal has 230-volt electrical current.  The electrical plugs are either Type C or D (two round prongs or a triangular shape of three round prongs).

Cybercasts

We plan on cybercasting your trek. We hope to have a report posted on the cybercast page of our website every 1-3 days. We encourage you to show family and friends who want to follow the climb. Let them know that the lack of a current cybercast does not indicate a problem with the team. Please let us know if you would not like to be listed in these posts.

Personal Expenses & Tipping

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

Money: Spending habits obviously vary tremendously from person to person, but we have found that most participants change at least $500 into Nepalese rupees after they arrive in Nepal. People generally bring an additional $500-$1,000 for expenses, some tips and emergencies.

Kathmandu and Pokhara: You will need money to purchase meals in Kathmandu (other than the Welcome and Farewell Dinners) and Pokhara.  There is a range of restaurant options but you can expect to spend between $5 and $15 for lunch and $15 to $30 for dinner.  Other expenses in the cities might include drinks, taxis, souvenirs and personal items.

Drinks: While we provide boiled water throughout the trip to drink at meal times, some people will choose to buy bottled drinks like beer, soda, or water. These drinks are expensive in Mustang ; a liter of bottled water or a soda can cost $2-$3 or so along the  route.

Sundries: In addition to souvenirs, people might also choose to spend money on wifi access where its available (around $5a day) or charging of phones/electronic devices (from $2 to $5 per charge).

Tipping:  It is customary for trip participants to contribute about $300 to a group tip pool for the local staff (Nepali guide, drivers, hotel staff, etc). (Guide will collect and distribute). Alpine Ascents guides can accept and will greatly appreciate tips. 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. Alpine Ascents guides greatly appreciate tips; a suggested amount is 7-12% of the trip cost.

I must say that Alpine Ascents International once again proved that it’s the best guiding company on the mountain.

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