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Autumn Himalayan Climbs & Treks Pre-Trip Newsletter 2010 for Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu, Baruntse, Everest base camp

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

Autumn Member's Himalaya Climbs & Walks Pre-Trip Newsletter 2010

Dear Friends, Climbers and Walkers. My name is Dan Mazur, and I have been leading walks to the basecamp and climbs to the summit of Everest for SummitTrek during the last ten years. This is the pre-trip newsletter for men and women of all ages from around the world joining our September, October, and November 2010 expeditions and walks. How has 2010 been for you so far? I hope you are staying fit, walking and climbing in your local hills, not working too hard and relaxing with family, friends and colleagues.

We send this pre-trip newsletter to you in case you are already a member, or are still thinking of joining and/or wish to read about how we conduct our expeditions. Thanks in advance for telling all of your friends and colleagues about what we are trying to do. 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!

A. Introduction

We offer a number of exciting trips this year and next, which you may review on our website at www.SummitClimb.com and www.SummitTrek.com. Read a short description for each trip below (including how things went last year) and click links to view slideshows.

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

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.

NOW IS THE TIME TO JOIN OUR 2010 & 2011 TRIPS if you have not already. Please follow the links below and go to our **LIVE ONLINE SLIDESHOWS** (large peaks are at the top of the list and fun walks a bit lower down the list):

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 your service project, and returning safely.

B. Recent News:

Perhaps there is no better time to visit the Himalaya. This season provides some of the best weather of the year. The mountains are very quiet and it has been rather peaceful for the last 3 years everywhere in Nepal and Tibet. Additionally, we have decided not to increase prices in 2010, so you can enjoy 2008 level prices for just a few more months before we raise them in the coming year. back to top

C. Climbing Expeditions autumn 2010 & spring 2011:

AMA DABLAM: We currently have 7 full service members and 2 basic members signed up, so room for a few more. www.AmaDablamClimb.com .

MOUNT BARUNTSE: We have 15 members signed up for Baruntse at this time, and perhaps room for 1 or 2 more. www.BaruntseClimb.com .

CLIMB MOUNT EVEREST in April and May. We have 4 members for Everest and 2 for Lhotse. Team leader Dan Mazur has a wealth of experience including multiple ascents of Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Ama Dablam. www.EverestClimbNepal.com and www.LhotseClimb.com

We also invite you to join our 7th season on the Tibet side of Everest. 4 members are currently signed on. www.EverestClimb.com . back to top

‘EASY’ EVEREST NORTH COL CLIMB: 4 members are currently enrolled for April and 3 for May. www.NorthColClimb.com

CHO OYU: We are very excited to have 10 members, 6 Sherpas and 2 leaders going for the summit in September and October and also have 4 members signed up for our April 2011 expedition. www.ChoOyuClimb.com

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

 

MUSTAGATA CLIMB IN JULY: 4 have joined the team already. www.MustagataClimb.com

SHISHAPANGMA: September climb to the summit of the lowest of the world's fourteen 8000 metre/26,000 foot peaks. www.ShishapangmaClimb.com . back to top

D. Walking and Trekking Peaks autumn 2010 & spring 2011:

EVEREST BASECAMP WALK: There are 3 members in our group and we welcome several more to join our team. www.EverestNepalWalk.com

MERA ‘TREKKING-PEAK’ CLIMB: 5 members have joined with room for 1 or 2 more. www.MeraPeakClimb.com

EVEREST GLACIER SCHOOL: 5 members have already signed up so we only have room for a few additional members. www.EverestGlacierSchool.com

ACONCAGUA: February (20 days), led by Max Kausch. 3 members have currently joined, so we just need a few more to confirm the trip. www.AconcaguaSummitClimb.com

ADVANCED BASECAMP WALK TIBET: 20 days in April and May. www.EverestTibetWalk.com

ISLAND ‘TREKKING-PEAK’ CLIMB: 22 days in April, May, or October. www.IslandPeakClimb.com back to top

 

Ama Dablam seen from camp 1 at 5700 metres/18,800 feet. Camp 2 at 6000 metres/19,800 feet (Nikos Daniilidis).

E. Service & Volunteer Projects and Walks 2010 AND 2011:

REMOTE NEPAL SERVICE WALK: 3 members have joined for 22 November to 5 December. 14 days on wide trails, low altitude, no snow, in the foothills of Everest. www.ServiceWalk.org

EVEREST BASECAMP SERVICE WALK: 22 days in April. Join a support walk to the Pema Choling Women’s Convent also known as the Deboche Nunnery. www.EverestBasecampServiceWalk.org

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 around 600 pounds, 650 euros, $850. Return flights from USA-Kathmandu-USA are around $1500. Please let us know if you need assistance in booking your ticket. We are here to help. back to top

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.

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. If you have not already sent these, please do. 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 mountain rescue and repatriation insurance,

      [ ] Proof of travel, 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. 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).

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 other than US dollars, etcetera. We've found it's better to be prepared and bring too much cash than not enough.

  • Cho Oyu members: please bring at least $2000 cash with you for the expedition.
  • Baruntse members: please bring at least $1000 cash with you for the trip.
  • Ama Dablam members: please bring at least $1000 cash with you for the trip.
  • Everest Glacier School members: please bring at least $750 cash with you for the trip.
  • Everest Basecamp walkers: please bring at least $750 cash with you for the trip.
  • Remote Nepal Service walkers: please bring at least $750 cash with you for the trip. back to top

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 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 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 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 exchanged into Nepali rupees. You can’t use travelers cheques 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. Members who don’t bring enough cash are often found sitting on their hands in a dark and cold hotel room or tent while the rest of the team are out having fun enjoying the night life that is sometimes surprisingly interesting and funny, the sometimes fun pubs, swimming pools, spas, and shopping. 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 Traveler's 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 and changing a portion of your currency into local currency (Chinese Yuan) 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.

 

 

Tents lined up. Camp 1. The mountains behind are sub-peaks of Baruntse. Dave, Arnold, Thorsten, and Michael on descent in the West Col couloir.Team making final ascent of Baruntse's second summit. (Dan Mazur). 

5) Helicopter rescue and travel insurance is required (2 kinds of insurance). 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 $10,000, 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. back to top

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 2009. 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 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.

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. 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).

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

Climbing & Trekking 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 back to top

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.

Climbing (For members doing Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Baruntse, Mera Peak, also for Service Trek members) -

This year we are offering two types of hotel, “basic” and “luxury”. Basic hotels cost approximately $25/per room per night (this means if you are sharing a room you each pay half). Our basic hotels this year are the Beijing Hotel and Komfort Inn.

    'Beijing Hotel'

    Jyatha Kantipath, Near Thamel

    Kathmandu, Nepal back to top

The Beijing hotel is an okay quality, hot water when-the-sun-shines hotel in a central neighbourhood, near many tasty restaurants, and excellent mountain equipment and gift shopping.

Luxury hotels cost approximately $95 per night (One example of a luxury hotel is the Annapurna Hotel in KTM). The difference between luxury and basic is that luxury 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.

NOTE: We have a white-board in the lobby of the Beijing Hotel 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.

Walkking & Trekking Peaks (For members on the Everest Basecamp Trek Nepal, Island Peak, and Everest View Glacier School) - back to top

We are booking your hotels at either the Hotel Tibet or Hotel Shakti. They are both comfortable and clean mid-range hotels in the heart of Kathmandu, close to good shopping. They cost around $55 USD/night. Here is the information for them:

              HOTEL TIBET PVT LTD

              P.O BOX 7956,Lazimpath

              Kathmandu, Nepal

              Tel : 977 - 1 - 4429085 - 8

              Fax : 977 - 1- 4410957

              Hotel Shakti

              Amrit Marg, Bhagwan Bahal, Thamel,

              Kathmandu, Nepal

              Tel.: 977-1-4700902, 977-1-4700893  back to top

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).

  • Cho Oyu: 2 September.
  • Ama Dablam: 10 October.
  • Baruntse & Mera Peak: 10 October.
  • Everest Glacier School: 9 October.
  • Everest Base Camp Trek (and optional Island Peak): 9 October.
  • Remote Nepal Service Trek: 22 November. back to top

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.  

  • Cho Oyu: 9 October.
  • Ama Dablam: 10 November
  • Baruntse & Mera Peak: 10 November for Baruntse & 31 October for Mera Peak.
  • Everest Glacier School: 30 October.
  • Everest Base Camp Trek (and optional Island Peak): 26 October for Basecamp Trek & 30 October for Island Peak.
  • Remote Nepal Service Trek: 5 December.

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).

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 orders in Kathmandu will require 2 weeks notice due to power cuts. Please contact a manufacturer as soon as possible.

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.  back to top

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

H. Equipment and supplies for walking and climbing:

15) For an equipment list for climbing, trekking peaks and group equipment, please go to this link:

For an equipment list for walking and group equipment, please go to this link:

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 iceaxes, 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. 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. back to top

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

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 April of 2010, a wide variety of imported sweeets, 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 powerbars 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: back to top

  • Cho Oyu: 2-5 kilos - 4 to 10 pounds of snacks and at least 3 freeze-dried dinners;
  • Baruntse/Mera Peak - 2-4 kilos - 4 to 8 pounds of snacks and at least 2 freeze-dried dinners (NOTE: only half that much if you are just doing Mera Peak);
  • Ama Dablam - 2-4 kilos - 4 to 8 pounds of snacks and at least 2 freeze-dried dinners;
  • Everest Glacier School: 1-2 kilos - 2 to 4 pounds of snacks;
  • Everest Basecamp (with optional Island Peak climb): 1-2 kilos - 2 to 4 pounds of snacks;
  • Remote Service Walk Nepal - 1-2 kilos - 2 to 4 pounds of snacks;

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

  • Cho Oyu: "One-Sport Everest Millet" boots high on the mountain and sturdy- lightweight leather boots for walking to camp 1.
  • Ama Dablam: Plastic double boots or "One-Sport Everest Millet" boots. Also sturdy- lightweight leather boots for climbing to camp 2.
  • Baruntse: Plastic double boots or "One-Sport Everest Millet" boots. Also sturdy- lightweight leather boots for walking to camp 1.
  • Everest Glacier School: Sturdy warm 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”.
  • Mera Peak: Sturdy warm 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: Comfortable lightweight walking shoes with good ankle support that are water repellant and well “broken-in”. There is no snow on our walk.
  • Remote Service Walk Nepal: Comfortable lightweight walking shoes with good ankle support that are water repellant and well “broken-in”. There is no snow on our walk.
  • Island Peak: Sturdy 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”.  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!  back to top

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 for our group staff:

  • Baruntse: $200
  • Ama Dablam: $200
  • Cho Oyu: $250
  • Everest Glacier School: $125
  • Everest Basecamp Treks: $75
  • Remote Service Trek Nepal: $75
  • Island Peak: $125

Each member should expect to pay the above tip no matter what. On our peak climbs, for a group Sherpa, 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:  back to top

  • Cho Oyu Summit Attempt Bonus: $200, Summit Success: $400.
  • Baruntse Summit Attempt Bonus: $100, Summit Success: $200.
  • Ama Dablam Summit Attempt Bonus: $100, Summit Success: $200.

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 30% 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.

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. back to top

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.

J. Communication

22) Telephone. We plan to have access to mobile and satellite telephone during the 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.  back to top

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 SummitClimb.com. However, we rely on you to participate in making the dispatches. If you don't help out by calling in a dispatch, there will be no news about your team on the site. For a shortcut to our news page, please go to www.SummitClimbNews.com or www.SummitTrekNews.com . Once reaching the site please go to “recent news” and you will see the dispatches from your expedition (if you made any dispatches). 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.

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). If possible, please bring an automotive 12 volt charger for your laptop, digital cameras, ipod, and mp3 players, as you can plug it straight into our solar system. 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. back to top

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). 

K. Additional information for climbers:

25) Bring warm mittens. 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. As of this writing, Kathmandu does not have very good mitts and gloves, but that is certain to change. back to top

Special warm high-altitude mittens are necessary for all of our climbs, such as: 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 removable 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. Thanks! Please don't frostbite your hands.

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, 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 heavily 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

29) Cho Oyu oxygen. 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 3 four-litre bottles should be more than enough (2 might suffice) for Cho Oyu, and you also need the mask, hoses, and regulator. 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 its like you are renting the oxygen and equipment.

Here are the costs:

  • A. Cho Oyu: 3 bottle set: $1950 (40% buy-back policy applies).

If purchased separately:

  • B. Mask + Hoses (guaranteed to be in perfect working order and match the bottles and regulator perfectly): $280 (40% buy-back policy applies).
  • C. 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).
  • D. 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 and walking with you soon, Yours Sincerely, from Dan Mazur and all of us at SummitClimb.com and SummitTrek.com .  back to top

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

  • High Altitude Regards-Dan Mazur
  • danielmazur@SummitClimb.com
  • www.SummitClimb.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 . back to top

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