Himalayan Climbs & Walks Pre-Trip Newsletter Spring 2011 for Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Everest base camp, Island Peak

Himalayan Climbs & Walks Pre-Trip Newsletter Spring 2011 for Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Everest base camp, Island Peak

 
Photos in slideshow: Fabrice Imparato, Dan Mazur, Joanna Goodson, Ken Stalter, Ryan Waters, Bruce Manning, & Tunc Findik.

Himalaya Climbs & Walks Pre-Trip Newsletter Spring 2011

Dear Friends, Climbers and Walkers. I am Dan Mazur, one of the Everest summit and basecamp walk leaders at www.SummitClimb.com and www.SummitTrek.com. Our company is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year.

I am currently writing from our icy snowy www.AlpsMeet.com in a stunning quaint French mountainside village where winter is in full swing and a few jagged rocky crags are poking out through crusty white snow and high blue glaciers. For alps meet news, please check www.SummitClimbNews.com .

How has 2011 been for you so far? I hope you have been preparing for the mountains, staying fit, walking and climbing in your local hills, not working too hard and relaxing with family, friends and colleagues.

This is the pre-trip newsletter for men and women of all ages from around the world joining our March-July and September-December 2011 climbing expeditions and fun basecamp walks. It's hard to believe that our 2011 season kicks off in just five short weeks, but, there is still time to join our team if you hurry.

We send this pre-trip newsletter to you in case you are already a member, are still thinking of joining, or wish to read about how we conduct our expeditions and walks. Thanks in advance for telling all of your friends and colleagues about what we are trying to do, and please recall we pay you or anyone you choose a 5% cash commission when you refer your friends. Let us join together with a friendly team of men and women of all ages from around the world for fun and adventure in the mountains.

Please read down all of the way to the bottom of this newsletter so you do not miss anything important. Thank you very much and welcome to our team!

Please click one of the links below to go directly to that section of the newsletter or just scroll down. Thank you.

A. Introduction

We offer a number of exciting trips this March-July and September-December, which you may review on our website at www.SummitClimb.com and www.SummitTrek.com. Read a short description for each trip below and go to the links to view LIVE ONLINE slideshows (large peaks are at the top of the list and fun walks a bit lower down the list):.

Please ask as many questions as possible, so that we may understand one another's expectations. Informed team members achieve their goals with greater satisfaction, and are better and safer "team players". We love discussing our favourite subject, MOUNTAINS, so please ask us anything.

The famous Hillary Step on the south side of Mt Everest. Richard Pattison on the summit of Mt. Everest (Richard Pattison).

NOW IS THE TIME TO JOIN OUR 2011 TRIPS if you have not already.

All climbs now feature western leaders, excellent food, the best sherpas, a comfortable individual tent for each person in basecamp and some of the finest equipment on the mountain. back to top  

If you consider joining (we hope you will) please be sure to read this newsletter to the end and understand it fully. Thank you.

The three goals for our expeditions and walks are:

  • a. Safety;
  • b. Fun, Friendship, and Teamwork;
  • c. Achieving our goals, reaching the summit, basecamp, or achieving your charitable, not-for-profit service project, and returning safely.

B. Recent News:

Perhaps there is no better time to visit the Himalaya. Not only do the March-July and September-December seasons provide some of the best weather of the year, but 2011 is a very good time to climb and explore in Nepal and Tibet, as tourism has dropped to its lowest level in many years, due to the global economic situation. The mountains are very quiet and it has been rather peaceful for the last 3 years everywhere in Nepal and Tibet. Additionally, we continue to emphasize offering a very high level of service at the most affordable prices.

PAYMENT NEWS: *Special Notice* Charge your expedition to your credit card. Earn valuable miles and bonus points and pay off the balance gradually over time. Please visit www.SummitClimbPayment.com.

Please read down to learn more about all of our 2011 climbs, walks, and trekking peaks. Spaces are still available, so we hope you'll join us during this peaceful and sunny time to visit the Himalaya.

We encourage you to take advantage and book one of the presently inexpensive flights which are still available. Please let us know if you need any help finding inexpensive flights. back to top

Team on the north summit of Shishapangma. Clockwise from foreground: Jangbu, Gyelzen, Karten, Alejandro, Haris, Bart, and Richard. Team working their way past the gendarme (Dan Mazur).

C. Climbing Expeditions March-July and September-December 2011:

CLIMB MOUNT EVEREST - Have you thought of climbing Everest? Join us in April and May in Nepal and Tibet for a summit climb from the south or north side. We have great prices and the most qualified American, British, and European Leaders including Dan Mazur and Arnold Coster. Our Sherpas and equipment are excellent. We have led 15 teams to the top. www.EverestTibetClimb.com (6 team members) & www.EverestNepalClimb.com (5 members).

LHOTSE: www.LhotseClimb.com - 68 days. March-June. Leader: Dan Mazur. Climb Everest route; branch off before high camp; ascend Lhotse Couloir. High summit, low cost (4 members).

EVEREST GLACIER SCHOOL: www.EverestGlacierSchool.com - 22 days (or 7 day course only), March-April, May, or Oct. Learn glacier climbing on 6000 metre / 20,000 ft peak. Leader Max Kausch and Raj Thapa. Visit Everest basecamp (5 members).

EVEREST TRAINING CLIMB: www.EverestTrainingClimb.com - 31 days (or 16 day climb only). April or May. Leader Dan Mazur teaches everything you need to know. Same route as Mt. Everest Nepal; stop in camp 3 at 7300 metre / 24,000 ft. Good altitude test. Check out Everest in a short time for much less money. Do well in April: transfer to Everest or Lhotse (3 members).

‘EASY’ EVEREST NORTH COL CLIMB - www.NorthColClimb.com - 28 days. March-April or April-May. 'Easy' 7000 metre / 23,000 ft peak. Leader Arnold Coster. Same route as Everest Tibet. Do well in April: transfer to Everest or Cho Oyu (4 members). back to top

CHO OYU: www.ChoOyuClimb.com - 38 days. April-May or Sept-Oct. Leaders Dan Mazur and Max Kausch. 'Easiest' "8,000 metre" / 26,000 ft peak. The best possible preparation for Everest (7 members).

BROAD PEAK: www.BroadPeakClimb.com . Announcing a new trip to Pakistan: Climb Broad Peak, one of the world's "easiest" 8000 metre/26,000 foot high mountains: 17 June to 5 August, 2011. Leader Max Kausch was in Pakistan climbing Gasherbrum 1 & 2 in 2010, so he knows the ropes (3 members).

MUSTAGATA CLIMB: www.MustagataClimb.com - 25 days, July. 'Easy' 7500 m / 24,500 ft peak. Ski, snowboard, snowshoe, and raquette. Top leader Jon Otto has led 10 Mustagata expeditions, speaks, reads, and writes fluent Chinese and English. Qualify for Everest (6 members).

SHISHAPANGMA: www.ShishapangmaClimb.com - 38 days. September-October climb to the summit of the lowest of the world's fourteen 8000 metre/26,000 foot peaks. Friendly and accomplished SummitClimb leader Sam Mansikka has led Everest and numerous 8000 metre expeditions and is now president of the alpine club (4 members).

AMA DABLAM: www.AmaDablamClimb.com - 32 days Oct-Nov. 6800 metres / 22,300 ft. Asia's best snow, ice, rock, and climbable-technical. Max Kausch will be leading his third successful expedition. Qualify for Everest (5 members).

MOUNT BARUNTSE: www.BaruntseClimb.com - 34 days. Oct-Nov. Leader Dan Mazur. Nepal's 'easy' 7000 m / 23,000 ft peak. Includes www.TrekMera.com & famous Amphu-Labtsa pass (7 members). back to top

Camp 2  on Everest Tibet and a stunning view of the lower Himalayan peaks beyond (Gordon Hopper). Herve Coron on the summit of Mount Everest (Herve Coron).

D. Walking and Trekking Peaks March-July and September-December 2011:

EVEREST BASECAMP WALK NEPAL: www.EverestNepalWalk.com - 18 days in March, April, May and October. Walk wide, snow-free trails to the world's most beautiful basecamp (7 members)

ADVANCED BASECAMP WALK TIBET: www.EverestTibetWalk.com  - 20 days in April and May. Drive from Kathmandu into Tibet past towering mountains through deep gorges onto the high altitude Tibetan plateau, then walk the world-famous 'golden highway' on good trails to Everest advanced basecamp at 6400 metres, made famous by Mallory and Irvine in 1924 (4 members).

EVEREST GLACIER SCHOOL: www.EverestGlacierSchool.com - 22 days (or 7 day course only), March-April, May, or Oct. Learn glacier climbing on 6000 metre / 20,000 ft peak. Leader Max Kausch and Raj Thapa. Visit Everest basecamp (5 members). back to top

ISLAND ‘TREKKING-PEAK’ CLIMB: www.IslandPeakClimb.com  - 22 days in April, May, or October. Nepal's famous ‘easy’ 'trekking peak'. Climb to 6000 metres in just one day (3 members).

MERA ‘TREKKING-PEAK’ CLIMB: www.MeraClimb.com - 22 days in October. Leader Dan Mazur. 6500 metre / 21,000 ft 'easy' trekking peak in gorgeous remote area of Nepal with pristine forests & rivers (4 members).

CASCADE GLACIER SCHOOL: www.CascadeGlacierSchool.com - 7 days in July. Free of cost. No charge. Leader: Dan Mazur. Learn glacier climbing. Attempt a 4500 metre / 14,500 ft peak (9 members).

E. Service & Volunteer Projects and Walks 2011:

REMOTE NEPAL SERVICE WALK: www.RemoteNepalServiceWalk.org - 15 days: June or Nov-Dec. Walk low-altitude hills near Everest. Bring medicine and education. Visit friendly Sherpas (3 members). back to top

 
Our October Service Trek team of 8 nurses in Phaplu after landing from the short flight from Kathmandu (Deha Shrestha). The view from Bhusinga (Erin Coughlin).

F. Preparation - what to remember. Please read the section below carefully. Thank you.

1) Purchase your flight ticket now. Flights are still available. Return flights from UK-Kathmandu-UK are 600 pounds, 650 euros, $950. Return flights from USA-Kathmandu-USA are $1500. Please let us know if you need assistance in booking your ticket. We are here to help.

2) Application paperwork and payment - what we need in your file. Now is the time for the completion of registration formalities, if you have not done so already.  back to top

Delay in receipt of the following items listed below may result an inability to get you onto the permit and perhaps even a delay of your departure from Kathmandu.

Here is a checklist of what we need to have in your file immediately. We encourage you to send an electronic scan of all of the below documents, please be sure they are signed. Thank you:

  • [ ] Completed Payment. Please restate payments you made and what those payments were for, ie full vs basic, sherpas oxygen, etc.
  • [ ] Make your Oxygen order (if any) crystal clear at this time, number of bottles, masks, payment, etc.
  • [ ] Make your Sherpa order (if any) crystal clear at this time, personal sherpa, quarter sherpa, payment, etc.
  • [ ] Signed Trip Registration and Waiver Forms (part 4 page form)
  • [ ] Signed Medical Form (part of 4 page form),
  • [ ] 2 Passport-Sized Photos Scan
  • [ ] Scan of passport identification pages,
  • [ ] Complete flight itinerary,
  • [ ] Proof of travel, mountain rescue, accident, and repatriation insurance (cancellation insurance is advised).

Please do let us know what further questions you may have about the registration process, or anything else for that matter. Thank you.

Annette and Lhotse summiter Herman Kristen (the first Dutchman to summit Mt. Lhotse in 2008), near the summit of Lhakpa Ri (Peter Hage). Dawa Sherpa assisting Ken Stalter across a crevasse on the North Col (Dan Mazur).

3) Please bring all of your personal paperwork, including your original proof of insurance, at least two extra photos, etcetera.

4) Please make sure to budget enough money and bring it along with you to Kathmandu for hotels and meals and lots of cash into the field for all of your extra expenses, tips, shopping, etcetera. Once you are away from Kathmandu you won't be able to obtain any cash and sometimes it’s hard to change money. We've found it's better to be prepared and bring too much cash than not enough. back to top

  • Everest members: please bring at least $2000 cash with you for the expedition.
  • Lhotse members: please bring at least $1500 cash with you for the expedition.
  • Cho Oyu members: please bring at least $1500 cash with you for the expedition.
  • North Col members: please bring at least $1000 cash with you for the trip.
  • Everest Training Climb members: please bring at least $1000 cash with you for the trip.
  • Everest Glacier School members: please bring at least $500 cash with you for the trip.
  • Everest Basecamp walkers: please bring at least $500 cash with you for the trip.
  • Remote Nepal Service walkers: please bring at least $500 cash with you for the trip.

If you feel uncomfortable carrying such currency on your trip, you can give it to our leader for safe keeping.

Please read down to see an itemized list of exactly what you will be using this cash is for. Thanks.

Your Nepal visa is conveniently purchased by you (with cash) upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport. It is not necessary to purchase a Nepalese visa prior to landing in Nepal. In 2010, the cost of a 60 day visa was $40 USD. If you will be going to Tibet, we recommend getting a 60 or 90 day double-entry Nepal visa upon arrival at the airport in Kathmandu instead of the normal single entry visa. Thus, when reentering Nepal upon your return from Tibet at the end of the trip you won't have to purchase a new visa.  Please bring cash and 2 extra passport-sized photos (extra photos are necessary to obtain the visa in the airport).

Visa note for Tibet trips: If your expedition is in Tibet, we provide special support to you in Kathmandu in organizing your Tibet-China visa. Be ready to pay up to $220 USD for your Tibetan visa if you are from the US and $135 if you are from other countries. It may be cheaper, but we will tell you and provide a receipt. Thank you.

Please also bring plenty of cash for tips + gratuities, for shopping, drinks, etcetera. You will be paying for your own hotel and meals in KTM. There are good bank, cash, atm machines, especially in KTM. However, these cash machines will only distribute Nepali rupees, so you must bring foreign currencies, $, £, €, from home. Travelers cheques are inconvenient. They can only be handled by large banks and may only be claimed into Nepali rupees. You can’t use them to buy things, pay for hotels, restaurants, nor for tips/gratuities. Be sure to bring extra cash to Tibet and Nepal basecamps for tipping the sherpas and staff as many of them will not be returning to KTM. $, £, €, work well in Kathmandu. For Nepal walks and climbs, you will change money into rupees after arriving in Kathmandu. back to top

If you are going to Tibet, please be sure to bring plenty of cash $, £, €, for your sundries and tips and China-Tibet visa. There are no cash machines in Tibet and travelers cheques are not accepted. You must carry cash. Dollars work best once you are inside Tibet. Those of you going to Tibet may wish to consider bringing only dollars or changing a portion of your currency into Chinese currency in Zhangmu, upon crossing into Tibet from Nepal. Bring plenty of extra cash. All of your tips to staff and sherpas must be paid on the spot in cash. Also, you may encounter the occasionally very good inexpensive carpet and souvenir shopping that can be found, at low prices where no credit cards and no traveler's cheques may be used. In addition, if you are going to Tibet, it can cost up to $700 in cash if you leave early and need to hire a car back to Nepal.

All Everest climbers, please note: Be sure to bring an extra $500 cash for descending to a low altitude village for one week before going to the summit.

This is Kristine O'Brien and Gary Kellund resting at camp 2, 6200 metres/20,300 feet on Mustagata (K. O'Brien and G. Kellund). Our all female team, the "Lipstick Blondes" from the UK, in between camp 1 and camp 2 on Mustagata (www.lipstickblondes.com). 

5) Helicopter rescue and travel insurance is required. Do you have your proof of travel and mountain rescue insurances? Remember, you need to be covered for all mishaps, including both in town, enroute, and during climbing and/or walking. If you have sent the above, thank you very much. back to top

6) Your credit card is your helicopter rescue bond. We will require you to complete a credit card authority letter, and attach your credit card. This will be taken care of at our office in Kathmandu. The letter and your credit card will be kept locked in our safe and we have never had a problem with this in the past. We need the name and contact details of an emergency contact person who is available 24 hours a day, speaks English, and is able to wire funds to Nepal on your behalf, up to $20,000, on immediate notice. This is in case you are injured and require a helicopter rescue (only available in Nepal, not available in Tibet, where rescue is via yak and jeep, but you still need helicopter insurance for Tibet climbs, in case you need a Heli down from the Tibet border to Kathmandu as this road is sometimes closed). They never start the rescue until they have your money, and we are unable to pay for any rescue on your behalf. The above mentioned insurance is necessary and also required, but insurance companies are slow in paying claims, and we can't have you lying on the mountainside, awaiting the helicopter rescue flight while your insurance company investigates the claim. Thank you.

Cho Oyu at sunset. Team members trekking down to basecamp after a successful season (Samuli Mansikka). 

G. In Kathmandu (KTM) - arrival and departure

7) Arriving in KTM, meeting your flight, and going to your hotel.

Note: Our staff will meet you at the airport holding a "SummitClimb or SummitTrek" sign.

Our staff try to personally meet your flight at the Kathmandu airport and bring you to the hotel. We were able to meet all of our team members during 2010. Do we have your exact arrival (and departure) information, including: airline, flight number, arrival date, arrival time, coming from where? If you have sent the above, thank you very much. Before leaving the airport please change a little money ($20, 10 pounds, or 10 euros) into rupees at the exchange counter. You will get a better rate once you are inside Kathmandu, so please don’t change too much. When you walk out of the airport terminal, please walk slowly and carefully and look for the sign bearing your name (usually your last, or surname, but occasionally your first, or given name). The sign may also simply say "Summit Climb or Summit Trek". In case we miss you, please take a 300-500 rupee taxi to the hotel. We did not miss anyone last year, but some members did not read the signs.

All members of all teams are urgently instructed to never tip more than $1 or 1 euro or 1 pound or 100 rupees at the airport in exchange for receiving help with your luggage. These airport people are becoming really persistent and expect that visitors will not know any better. Sometimes they ask for huge amounts of money and people give it to them, so please be aware and cautious when you arrive. Please also note that if 10 people try to carry your bag, they don’t all receive a tip. You just give the money to one of them and let them divide it among themselves. back to top

If you are arriving early, please make sure to go check in at our office, so our staff can begin working on the permit, check your equipment, help with purchasing any missing bits, etcetera.

8) Print out our KTM office details and carry with you at all times. Our Kathmandu office managers are:

Climbing Office -

  • Mr. Murari Sharma and Mr. Deha Shrestha
  • Everest Parivar Expedition (inside Beijing Hotel):
  • Jyatha Kantipath, Near Thamel
  • Kathmandu, Nepal
  • office tel: (9771)-4249825, 4248813
  • residence tel: 9771-4418210, 4428110
  • fax: 9771-4249835
  • mobile: (977) 985102-3985 or 985109-1456

PLEASE PRINT OUT ITEM 8 AND CARRY IT WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES (ESPECIALLY ON ARRIVAL) IN CASE YOU BECOME LOST.

9) KTM HOTEL. Hotels and food in Kathmandu only, but not out on the road, trek, or expedition, are your responsibility. back to top

This year we are offering two types of hotel, “basic” and “3-star”. Basic hotels cost approximately $20 per night for a single room and $25/night for a double room. Our basic hotel this year is the Kohinoor Inn.

  • 'Kohinoor Inn'
  • Jyatha Kantipath, Near Thamel
  • Kathmandu, Nepal

The 'Kohinoor Inn' is an 'ok' quality, hot water when-the-sun-shines hotel in a central neighbourhood, near many tasty restaurants, and excellent mountain equipment and gift shopping. They have good free wifi in the lobby, and a computer hooked to the internet in the lobby that everyone can use.

"Three-Star" hotels cost approximately $90 per night (One example of a '3-star' hotel is the Annapurna Hotel in KTM). The difference between three star and basic is that three star hotels have several restaurants, bars, and a swimming pool inside the hotel. They accept credit cards, with a surcharge. The Annapurna is a 15 minute walk from the Beijing Hotel and surrounding neighbourhood. We book your hotel for you, so please only view the websites to decide which hotel you prefer and leave the arrangements to us, or you will pay more.

NOTE: We have a white-board in our Kathmandu office inside the Beijing Hotel near the Kohinoor Inn that announces the schedule of activities each day you are in Kathmandu. Please check this throughout the day, so you know where the team is meeting each day. Please also be advised that schedules can change quickly in this part of the world, so watch the board carefully for updates and stay in contact with our office. Thanks. back to top

Below the West Col of Baruntse looking up towards the summit. Tunc Findik, former SummitClimb team member and summiter of Everest, Cho Oyu and Pumori on the summit of Baruntse. A view of the Baruntse summit ridge heading up towards the summit cone at 6950 metres/23,000 feet (Tunc Findik).

10) Arrive in KTM on the first day of our itinerary for the team orientation. All members must be present on the first day of our scheduled itinerary in Kathmandu unless you have made special arrangements. We need your passports on that day so that we can obtain the permit for you to go to the mountains, and do quite a bit of intensive orientation, training, and shopping before setting off for the mountains, in the next day or two. It’s fine if you want to arrive earlier. Below are the dates we require you to arrive in Kathmandu (of course its no problem to arrive earlier). back to top

  • Everest: 29 March.
  • Lhotse: 29 March.
  • North-Col. Everest Training Climb & ABC Everest Tibet Treks: 29 March or 21 April.
  • Everest Glacier School: 29 March or 23 April.
  • Everest Base Camp Trek Nepal (and optional Island Peak): 29 March or 23 April.
  • Cho Oyu: 21 April.
  • Remote Nepal Service Trek: 15 June

11) Please don’t plan on leaving before the last day of our itinerary. We need you to stay until the last day of the expedition. Below I have noted the dates for your return flight home at the end of each expedition. Of course its fine if you want to stay on after the expedition ends and there are lots of fun things to do in Nepal like wild game viewing safaris, rafting, visit lakeside in Pokhara, etcetera.  

  • Everest: 5 June.
  • Lhotse: 5 June.
  • North-Col: 25 April or 18 May.
  • ABC Everest Tibet Trek: 17 April or 10 May.
  • Everest Glacier School: 19 April or 14 May.
  • Everest Base Camp Trek: 15 April or 10 May.
  • Island Peak: 19 April or 22 May.
  • Cho Oyu: 28 May.
  • Remote Nepal Service Trek: 29 June back to top

 

Gary at 5850 metresgoing for the summit of Lobuche East during our Everest View Glacier School (Keith Whelan). Squash videoing the view from the summit of Lobuche (Keith Whelan).

H. Equipment -

12) Shopping in KTM. Our planned schedule allows plenty of time for equipment shopping in Kathmandu, where there are so many shops that you will find almost everything you need, except good high-altitude mittens and gloves. Here is a partial list for those desiring to contact Nepalese shops and manufacturers:

  • For hardwear like boots, crampons, ice-axes and harnesses, go to the Everest Summitters shop in Thamel. Email: evecom@mos.com.np , phone: (9771) 4219404, 4468775.

For soft goods like down jackets trousers and suits, we have used two shops:

  • A. Shona's Shop in Thamel: e-mail: shonasrentals@hotmail.com , phone: 4265120
  • B. Everest Hardwear shop in Thamel. e-mail angsonam25@yahoo.com , tel 4230399, mobile (977)98510 45706

Note: Down suit, jacket, and sleeping bag orders in Kathmandu will require 2 weeks notice due to power cuts. Please contact a manufacturer as soon as possible. back to top

 
Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Sherpa people. See this unique village on our trek to and from basecamp (Tunc Findik). 

13) Storing excess baggage and personal possessions - valuables in KTM. We provide secure facilities in Kathmandu in which to store your extra personal items such as luggage, extra money, credit cards, passports (those people going to Tibet need their passports), jewelry, expensive watches, etcetera. These facilities are kept locked and are extremely safe.

14) Depart KTM for the mountain. After completing our orientation session and receiving permits, we plan to depart Kathmandu the following day.  back to top

H. Equipment and supplies for walking and climbing:

15) For an equipment list for climbing, walking and group equipment, please go to 'equipment' link on the top bar of the SummitClimb and SummitTrek website.

16) Buy your mattress in KTM. Regarding mattresses, above basecamp, we do not recommend anything you have to inflate. These "therma-rest" are unreliable with all of the sharp ice axes, crampons, and rocks that we will encounter. I never saw one not puncture when used above basecamp. These are a liability and dangerous. Please don’t depend on an inflatable matt above basecamp. Several traditional closed cell foam non-inflatable karimat mattresses are preferred. I like to bring 3 or 4 mattresses as they are inexpensive and I want to sleep warmly and comfortably at night. These are available very inexpensively in Kathmandu, so there is no need to bring any from home. Why fly around the world with a kit/duffel bag filled with foam? Our planned schedule allows plenty of time for equipment shopping in Kathmandu.

17) Climbers and walkers-bring or buy duvet-down jacket. Trekkers and climbers, please be sure you have a duvet/down jacket. Fairly good quality down/duvet gear is available in Kathmandu inexpensively and is a crucial part of your equipment. Everest, Lhotse, Cho-Oyu and Shishapangma climbers will, in addition, need a duvet/down jacket with an insulated hood and duvet/down trousers as well. Or, many 8000 metre / 26,000 foot climbers prefer a down/duvet suit. We recommend you advance order your Kathmandu down/duvet clothing so you know it's available. Due to power cuts, 2 weeks advanced notice is necessary.

18) Food during the expedition - bring your own snack food. All basecamp and walk meals and high meals (3 per day) are included in our full-service expeditions. We provide more than enough food and cooking fuel for three meals per day on the high mountain. However, we ask each climbing member to provide their own daily-snacks and freeze dried meals at high altitude while climbing above basecamp. We do not provide any daily snack energy food, you need to provide your own. Please remember to bring your daily snack-energy mountain food for each day we are climbing above basecamp on the mountain. This food would consist of chocolate bars, power bars, energy gel, rehydration drinking powder, sweets, nuts, sausage, cheese, etc. More and more items are available in Kathmandu, but choice may be limited. In November of 2010, a wide variety of imported sweets, snacks, and chocolates were available, with quality brands such as Cadbury, Snickers, Lindt and Cafe d'Or in abundance. The prices were not bad. There were many kinds of local snacks and power bars available, but they still do not import foreign power bars, energy gel, etcetera. We request you bring your own freeze-dried meals. No freeze-dried food is available for purchase in Kathmandu. You must bring it from home. If you like imported cheeses, tinned meats, and other specialty foods, please bring them. Here is the list of food we suggest you bring for yourself:

  • Everest: 3-6 kilos - 7 to 13 pounds of snacks and at least 5 freeze-dried dinners;
  • Lhotse: 3-6 kilos - 7 to 13 pounds of snacks and at least 5 freeze-dried dinners;
  • North Col & Everest Training Climb: 2-4 kilos - 4 to 8 pounds of snacks and at least 2 freeze-dried dinners;
  • Cho Oyu: 2-5 kilos - 4 to 10 pounds of snacks and at least 3 freeze-dried dinners;
  • Everest Glacier School & Island Peak: 1-2 kilos - 2 to 4 pounds of snacks;
  • Everest Basecamp Treks & Remote Nepal Service Trek: 1-2 kilos - 2 to 4 pounds of snacks; back to top
Our team ascending the summit ridge on Island Peak (Emil Friis). Our team member on the shoulder to the summit (Stefano Ricci).

19) Boots and shoes for your climb - walk. Regarding shoes, please wear the following:

  • Everest: "One-Sport Everest Millet" boots high on the mountain and sturdy-lightweight leather boots for walking to camp ABC.
  • Lhotse: "One-Sport Everest Millet" boots high on the mountain and sturdy- lightweight leather boots for walking to camp 1.
  • North Col & Everest Training Climb: Plastic double boots or "One-Sport Everest Millet" boots. Sturdy- lightweight leather boots for walking to camp ABC.
  • Cho Oyu: "One-Sport Everest Millet" boots high on the mountain and sturdy- lightweight leather boots for walking to camp 1.
  • Everest Glacier School & Island Peak: Sturdy double plastic climbing boots that are made for crampons, in addition to comfortable lightweight walking shoes with good ankle support that are water repellant and well “broken-in”.
  • Everest Basecamp Treks and Remote Neapl Service Trek: Comfortable lightweight walking shoes with good ankle support that are water repellant and well “broken-in”. There is no snow on our walk. back to top

Please note: Members who have tried to wear leather or single boots to the summit of our 7000 metre / 23,000 foot plus climbing peaks have suffered frostbite. Not recommended, and, in fact, for 7000 metre / 23,000 foot plus climbing peaks we may disqualify you from the trip if you are planning to climb in only leather or single boots. Frostbite is not an option on our expeditions.

Good shoes and all types of climbing boots are available for purchase and hire inexpensively in Kathmandu. Our planned schedule allows plenty of time for equipment shopping in Kathmandu. Let us know your size and we are glad to check for you!

I. Sherpas and staff

20) Tipping your leaders, sherpas, and staff. Regarding gratuities (tips). Our leaders, sherpas, and staff are among the best, because we can count on receiving gratuities for a job well done at the end of each expedition. You will be impressed when you see just how hard we do work. It is a matter of pride for all of us. Besides individual tips, we also ask you to pay an additional “group” tip and we will "pool" these tips together and then, as a group, we will vote on the distribution of the gratuities to the individual staff. This method has seemed to be the fairest and has worked very well in the past. In addition there will be a high-altitude bonus. We recommend the following tip:

  • Everest Group Tip: $300
  • Lhotse Group Tip: $300
  • North Col & Everest Training Climb: $200
  • Cho Oyu: $250
  • Everest Glacier School & Island Peak: $150
  • Everest Basecamp Treks & Remote Nepal Service Trek: $125
  • Expect to pay the above tip no matter what. On our peak climbs, for a group Sherpa (Tibetan or Nepalese), who helps you to climb above the high camp or up to the summit and back down, expect to pay a summit-attempt bonus as follows:
  • Everest Summit Attempt Bonus: $400, Summit Success: $900.
  • Lhotse Summit Attempt Bonus: $300, Summit Success: $700.
  • Cho Oyu Summit Attempt Bonus: $200, Summit Success: $500.
  • North Col & Everest Training Climb Summit Attempt Bonus: $50, Summit Success: $100.

The above amount of money may be split between climbers who were in the summit party. If you have a personal Sherpa, your tip will be at least the above amount or more. We request you to bring this money with you to basecamp in cash, and be ready to pay it there, as many of our staff are local and will not be returning to Kathmandu with us. Traveler’s cheques and credit cards may be of use in Kathmandu, but they will not work in basecamp. back to top

A beautiful sunrise cresting over the summit of Everest (Tunc Findik). A view of the famous second step on the north side of Mt. Everest (Franck Pitula).

21) Bring gifts for sherpas and staff. Regarding other gifts you may wish to provide, please bring as many as possible. These equipment donations are quite important to our staff and their families as they are often handed down to needy relatives and Sherpas who are learning to climb and need some assistance. Most, if not all sherpas got their start on "hand-me-down" kit.

Do you have extra mountain equipment, clothing, and shoes/boots? Older equipment, shoes, and clothing are fine. We encourage you to bring any extras for our staff. Please remember that Sherpa people come in all sizes (from extra small to extra large), and would appreciate any rucksacks, old harnesses, helmets, ice-axes, old ice and rock gear, warm clothing, goretex and fleece, pile, down, and duvet clothing, windproof clothing, and any kind of out-of-door shoes and boots, including walking, climbing, running, etc.. Children’s and Women’s clothing is also needed. Thanks for helping and being so very thoughtful. back to top

J. Communication

22) Telephone. We plan to have access to mobile and satellite telephone on walk and in basecamp. Those wishing to use our sets are required to post a $100 deposit, prior to departure from Kathmandu. The cost is $4 per minute. Incoming calls are not possible. If your usage exceeds the deposit amount, you will be required to pay more cash in basecamp, or stop using the phone. Be sure to bring enough $, £, or €. While unable to receive telephone calls, at times members can receive short text/SMS for $4 a message from their friends and family.

23) Website where your friends, family, and colleagues, can read about your expedition. There will be a website where your family, friends, colleagues, and sponsors can watch the progress of our climbs and walks. This website is a public service from www.SummitClimbNews.com and www.SummitTrekNews.com . Once reaching the site please go to “recent news” and you will see the dispatches from your expedition. We have traditionally asked all members to become involved and to write or phone "dispatches" or reports about the progress of our expedition. However, these dispatches are only to be about your impressions of our climb and are strictly for public viewing. Please don’t confuse them with personal phone calls to family, loved ones, friends and colleagues at home. back to top

24) Battery charging: laptop, ipod, mp3 player, and/or digital camera. On our climbs, we bring a solar charging system on the expedition that members have access to. As long as there is sun, we are able to charge batteries easily on the mountain. Be sure to bring your wall charger compatible to Kathmandu’s 220 volt current (when its working). We encourage you to bring your own smaller solar panel, as these seem to work very well.

Computer, ipod, mp3, camera note: Laptops work well up to about 4000 metres/13,000 feet. Altitude can destroy or wipe hard drives bigger than 7 - 10 GB above this altitude, or hard drives that have a moving disk. There are several options out on the market for laptops with non moving hard drives that work well in altitude. Some early ipod and mp3 players have this problem as well. Check to make sure your ipod does not have a moving drive, especially before you turn it on above 4000 metres/13,000 feet. We have had several instances where these were wiped or crashed. Digital cameras work well. We recommend that you keep them in your jacket during the day and in your sleeping bag at night.

K. Additional information for climbers:

25) Bring warm mittens. Special warm high-altitude mittens are necessary for all of our climbs, for example: http://outdoorresearch.com/home/style/home/handtools/gloves/ascent/71870 . You won't need to wear any liner gloves inside these mitts (they already have their own integral liner) so fit is very important. This company ships around the world. Be sure to discuss the size of your hand and what size mitt you might need with the person at the shop. Sometimes our members from other countries have them sent to our US office address and US team members bring them over to the mountain directly for the person. If you decide to pursue that option, please allow plenty of time. Please don't frostbite your hands. As of this writing, Kathmandu does not have very good mitts and gloves, but that is certain to change. I prefer mittens to gloves, as mittens are so much warmer. If you are in London, try visiting a snow and rock shop and trying some on. back to top

26) Bring or buy a figure 8. Climbers, please be sure to bring a "figure 8" for rappelling/abseiling. Modern rock climbing descenders ie: "atc’s" do not work on fixed line nor on frozen ropes, and are a liability because they slow you and the team down considerably. It is hard for some people to believe until they witness this personally, but we are asking you to believe it now. Please go out and purchase a figure 8. You may also purchase a figure 8 in Kathmandu.

27) Bring spoon and cup. Please remember to bring your own personal cup and spoon for altitude. Bring it from home or purchase it in Kathmandu.

28) Group vs personal sherpas. Our climbing sherpas carry group equipment. They will not be carrying your personal equipment. Each year, at least one of our team members decides to hire their own personal sherpa. We encourage you to do so, especially if you are not excited about climbing with a rucksack which is loaded with your personal equipment, oxygen, water, and snack food. We now encourage members who need a bit of extra assistance to use our "equipment carry service”. The cost will be 1/4 (not including the tip, which you must also pay) and includes carriage of ten kilos of your personal equipment up and down to and from basecamp to the highest camps. For more information, please visit our Sherpa link on the Leader tab of each website . By the way, hiring your own personal sherpa has been shown to markedly increase summit success and safety, especially on descent. back to top

Slightly above ABC, one of our Everest climbing expedition members is heading up to ascend the North Col, where camp 1 is located at 7000 metres/23,000 feet (Tunc Findik).

29) Everest, Cho Oyu, and Lhotse oxygen. On Everest and Lhotse, you must have oxygen available. About half of our Cho Oyu team members use oxygen. Cho Oyu is not like Everest where Oxygen is absolutely necessary, but many Cho-Oyu climbers prefer it because it gives them a little extra edge of "insurance" that they will be feeling as well as possible when resting in the high camp and on summit day. In addition, supplemental oxygen usage has been shown to markedly reduce the incidence of frostbite. Our Sherpas will try to help you carry the oxygen, and 5 four-litre bottles of oxygen (or more) are recommended for Everest and Lhotse and 3 four-litre bottles should be more than enough (2 might suffice) for Cho Oyu, and you also need the mask, hoses, and regulator. Or, you can have the full set of five bottles plus mask-regulator-hoses. We 100% guarantee all of our bottles and oxygen systems, and test them thoroughly with the mask/hose/regulator set-up. We have our own oxygen analysis instrumentation, and we are able to certify the contents are 100% oxygen. Additionally, we are able to measure the volume of contents in the bottle. Our bottles/masks/hoses/regulators are 100 percent guaranteed and reliable. We always have spare parts and back up bottles, masks, regulators, and hoses. We have a 40% "buy-back" policy on unused oxygen, and masks, hoses, and regulators in good condition, so it's like you are renting the oxygen and equipment. back to top

Here are the costs:

  • A. Cho Oyu: 3 bottle set: $1950 (40% buy-back policy applies).
  • B. Everest and Lhotse: 5 bottle set: $2850 (40% buy-back policy applies).
  • If purchased separately:
  • C. Mask + Hoses (guaranteed to be in perfect working order and match the bottles and regulator perfectly): $280 (40% buy-back policy applies).
  • D. Regulator for high-altitude oxygen bottle (guaranteed to be in perfect working order and match the bottle and mask and hoses perfectly): We have a 40% buy-back policy on regulators in good condition. $410 (40% buy-back policy applies).
  • E. One large Russian Oxygen 4 litre bottle for high-altitude climbing (guaranteed to be in perfect working order and match the regulator and mask and hoses perfectly): $510 (40% buy-back policy applies).

In an effort to reduce environmental pollution and encourage reuse and recycling, we now offer a $60 cash bonus for each empty oxygen cylinder you bring down to basecamp/abc in working condition. back to top

L. Donations of medical and educational supplies, clothing, etcetera for the Mount Everest Foundation:

30) Please consider donating supplies, clothing, funds, building materials, solar equipment, etcetera, as well as your own time and efforts to the Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development in Nepal and Tibet. Your donation will be used wisely by the Foundation which exists to help poor farmers help themselves. These families live in Nepal and Tibet near Everest, but far from the tourist trail where life is very primitive, making Nepal the 12th poorest country in the world and the poorest country in all Asia. The foundation builds schools and hospitals and protects fragile environments. Please see what we have been doing with recent donations at www.ServiceTrekNews.org . We encourage you to become involved and we conduct service treks and volunteer projects you might wish to join.

Thank you so much for all of your kind compassion and wonderful help to the people of Nepal and Tibet!!! back to top

M. Conclusion

31) What have we forgotten? Please express yourself now, and communicate all of your thoughts, questions, and ideas. It is very important that we build another top team this year by working together, beginning today. We always enjoy discussing our favorite subject: MOUNTAINS. Also, this kind of conversation may help us to understand one another's expectations.

32) Let us begin climbing and walking. We are looking forward to further discussion, to meeting, to climbing and walking together, and to seeing you feeling well on the trek, in basecamp, the upper camps, on the summit, and on the way back down.

Thank you very much, Cheers for now and we look forward to climbing with you soon, Yours Sincerely, from Dan Mazur and all of us at SummitClimb.com and SummitTrek.com .

Ps. Thanks for telling all of your friends about what we are trying to do. back to top

  • High Altitude Regards-Dan Mazur
  • danielmazur@SummitClimb.com
  • www.SummitClimb.com and www.SummitTrek.com
  • find me on facebook, plaxo, linkedin, twitter
  • skype: SummitClimb or SummitTrek
  • +44 (0)7810375400 (evenings are best)
  • 184 Bishop Road, Bristol, BS7 8NB, England
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Mazur

USA:

  • 360.570.0715
  • POB 123, Lakebay, Wa, 98349

Ps. Congratulations, you made it to the bottom of this newsletter. You must have the patience and perseverance necessary to become a team member of www.SummitClimb.com and www.SummitTrek.com .

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