Island Peak & Everest Base Camp FAQ Pre-trip preparation Expedition Documentation Please note you will be emailed out a set of Trip Joining Instructions after we confirm your booking. This includes detailed information to assist in the planning of your trip, from travel and medical advice to equipment lists. The following is to serve as a helpful guideline but please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. Our team is here to help! How hard is it really, how fit do I need and what skills/prior experiences do I need to climb Island Peak? Although it’s officially classified as a trekking peak by the Government of Nepal, Island Peak is technically the same grade as the normal route on Mont Blanc; it’s not suitable for complete novices. We recommend that you are familiar with mountaineering ropework and the use of ice axe and crampons and advise clients to gain experience climbing grade 1-3 winter routes in the UK before joining this trip. We can cover some of these basic skills onsite. Previous experience at altitude is also beneficial. We consider this a mountaineering expedition rather than a trekking expedition. On the climbing phase you’ll be camping at high altitude on a glacier. You’ll be cold, your appetite might be affected, and you may struggle to sleep. These are common effects at altitude. You'll be trekking and climbing for multiple consecutive days, at high altitude and in varied temperatures (as low as -25C), so good cardiovascular fitness is required – the fitter you are the more you will enjoy your experience. You should aim to walk regularly in the hills with a light pack (7-10kg) and follow a comprehensive exercise routine to strengthen your core and legs and to increase your cardiovascular fitness. Trekking to Everest Base Camp itself is a tough high-altitude challenge and requires a good level of fitness, physical and emotional strength, and stamina and it is important that you are prepared. You need to be comfortable carrying a backpack and have a reasonable level of cardiovascular fitness. Summit day on Kala Patthar can be very cold, but very rewarding, especially when the sun comes up! Your training to trek to Everest Base Camp should incorporate aerobic, anaerobic, strength and flexibility exercises. Most importantly, you should spend time walking in the hills, in the boots you are going to be wearing on the trek. People of all ages and sizes can reach Base Camp but the more you train, the fitter you’ll be and the more you’ll enjoy the experience. The training plan here is focused on the National Three Peaks Challenge but it’s also good prep for a non-technical high-altitude trek. Do I need a visa / vaccinations? Visa - The answer is yes, all UK, Irish and US nationals require a visa for travel to Nepal and this should be obtained prior to your challenge departure. If you are of different national heritage to those mentioned above, please check your local Nepal Embassy website for visa requirements. Vaccinations - Make sure you are up to date for all boosters and courses as advised for life in the UK. You should also take a course of antimalarial medication and be aware that depending on the type you may need to start taking these up to a month in advance of departure. For advice on any additional vaccinations or treatments, please speak with your GP or doctor. What insurance do we need to get? We require you to have insurance for any personal or medical incidences that may occur during the expedition. This should include cover for illness, medical emergency or evacuation as well as trip cancellation, baggage loss, damage or theft, or any other such mishap that may occur. We recommend you obtain insurance as soon as possible. What is trip cancellation insurance? Trip cancellation insurance may allow you to cancel your trip without losing any pre-paid expenses. We highly recommend trip cancellation insurance - if circumstances cause us to cancel a trip (minimum numbers are not reached or travel to a country becomes too dangerous) then we will refund your fees paid, but trip cancellation insurance covers your airfare and any other costs that you may have incurred. Do I need evacuation insurance? Yes, it is very important. Many of our expeditions are in remote places with no roads and developing medical services. In the unlikely event that you get sick, you want to get to good medical care ASAP. Our insurance must cover you for trekking up to 5,545m What sort of hotels do we stay at in the city? Prior to and after the trek/safari, we will arrange your Kathmandu accommodation and our chosen properties maintain a high level of customer service and quality aligning with our high standards. Typically, we stay at the Maya Manor four-star boutique hotel, which is just 1.5 km from Hanuman Dhoka and just under 2 km from Durbar Square. Many important national landmarks including Monument Tower, City Clock, Nagpokhari Sacred Pond, Nandakeshari Heritage Courtyard, and Narayanhiti Golden Sprout surround the hotel. Travel What time should I arrive and where do I meet my guides? Please plan to fly into Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) and arrive latest on the afternoon of Day 1 of our itinerary, where you will also clear Nepal customs. We will arrange an airport transfer to take you to your hotel. Prior to your trip, we’ll send you a final details email including hotel details, information on your guide, details on when and where you will meet your guide, as well as any other pertinent last-minute information. What if I arrive early or depart late? We ask that you try to arrive on time, so early is great! Your bags then have a chance to catch up with you, if for some reason they are delayed. If you do arrive early, we’ll be happy to help you with your hotel arrangements and additional transfers. The same goes for departing later, and don’t panic if this happens. If your bags don’t arrive, we can send late bags up with additional porters if necessary. If your flight is late, we will find a solution that allows you to join the trek. How much cash should I plan to bring? Participants are usually really excited to purchase local artisan crafts. There are cash machines in towns, but cash is king! Most get by with US$400-$800 for gifts and additional local expenses. Life on the trek & climb How big is the group? / What support will there be? All of our Island Peak adventures will have a maximum size of 12 participants for the mountain phase. We welcome individuals, couples and groups of friends on our treks & climbs, and many who join us literally have a mountain to climb in terms of the scale of the challenge they are taking on. We advocate camaraderie and team bonding, and really believe that this enhances your experience. Your challenge will be led by an experienced international expedition leader with extensive high-altitude and group management experience. Each of our leaders holds an advanced Outdoor First Aid qualification. Our leaders are selected for their experience, knowledge, enthusiasm, sensitivity and sense of humour, and will ensure that your trip runs smoothly. Your leader will be carrying a fully stocked medical kit in case of any emergency. They will carry out daily health checks on the trek to ensure you’re acclimatising properly. We’ll carry an emergency supply of oxygen. Your leader will be in constant contact with all of our local guides via two-way radio - and between our local office staff. Your leader will also carry a satellite phone (and spare battery) for emergencies. If for any reason you need to leave the group early, local staff will assist you with your descent and will arrange transfers, accommodation and medical care if necessary. For the climbing phase we’ll have a 1:3 guide:client ratio Will I be sharing a room with other participants? Is there a single room option on this trip? When in Kathmandu or on safari, the hotels/lodges are priced on a twin-share basis. On the mountain, team members will share twin or dormitory rooms and tents on Island Peak. There is the option of a hotel single room supplement, please contact our office for details. How long is a typical day on the mountain? Your morning starts with a delicious cooked breakfast in our teahouse/lodge. We then aim to start trekking by about 8 a.m. We usually trek for between 5 and 7 hours, taking time for photographs and breaks along the way, including a sumptuous lunch at a local teahouse, before arriving into our next village in the afternoon by 3 or 4pm. Summit day on Island Peak can be up to 14 hours. How heavy will my pack be? Typically, 6-10kg on the trek phase. Each day, you’ll be carrying water, snacks, other essential items and any layers that you will need for the day. Porters will carry the bulk of your equipment and clothing, which will be awaiting your arrival at your lodge. How much kit can I bring? The internal flight to Lukla has a 15kg baggage allowance for your personal gear. Your technical climbing gear (crampons, harness, ice axe etc.) will be flown in blue barrels and carried ahead of you by our porter team. You’ll be reunited with it after we return to Dingboche from Everest Base Camp. What is the weather like on Island Peak? The best time to climb 6,000m peaks in Nepal is from March to May (pre-monsoon) or September to November (post monsoon). There are also two main trekking seasons for Everest Base Camp and all of our expeditions take place during these periods; pre-monsoon (February, March, April and May) and post monsoon (late September, October, November and December). Everest climbing expeditions take place in April & May, when the weather is warmer and the trail to base camp becomes incredibly busy. The temperature at the top of Island Peak is highly variable – from just below freezing to -25C. The winds can be fierce so wind chill can be a major factor. Mountain weather is very changeable and hard to predict, but we provide a general overview of what to expect in terms of temperatures and trekking & climbing conditions. You should prepare for the worst and hope for the best. On the trek phase, temperatures vary from 20+ degrees in the valley at Phakding on Day 1 (you can wear shorts & t-shirt for trekking here) to -15C at night at Gorak Shep on Day 9. On the trek, expect cold, frosty mornings at times. A sensible layering system will help you stay comfortable and a good sleeping bag and warm down jacket for the higher lodges will increase your comfort levels. What will the Everest Base Camp food / accommodation be like? On the trail we take lunch at tea houses en route, which serve either local food (dal bhat - lentil curry) or a variety of western food. At night we sleep in a local lodge or guest house and the higher we trek, the more basic the facilities. You can see an example of the type of lodge we stay in here. Showers are available at least up to Namche Bazaar, but you will pay extra for a hot shower. We tend to eat a three-course meal at dinner, which can be a combination of local or western food – you definitely won’t go hungry on this trip. You can buy soft drinks/beer even up at the highest lodge in Gorak Shep. The dining rooms tend to be heated with a communal stove, but the bedrooms are not heated so it’s important to have a decent 3 or 4 season sleeping bag. We also recommend that participants pack some of their favourite snacks to enjoy throughout the day. What type of communication is available on the climb? The local guides carry radios and mobile phones. If you bring a mobile phone from home, please double-check the cost of global roaming with your network supplier. Local SIM cards are available for purchase in Kathmandu can and offer better reception, so please advise if you would like assistance with arranging one. Do please note however that once we are higher on the trail there is no cell phone reception and limited internet access available, which is also expensive. How much should I tip the local staff? Tipping is mandatory as your guides, porters and camp staff work very hard on the mountain. Suggested tipping amounts are $150. You can also donate any unwanted items of kit or clothing, as long as they are in serviceable condition. What happens if I need to leave the expedition early? Communication is sometimes difficult in the mountains. However, our guides and local staff will make every effort to obtain the necessary transportation and reservations to get you home as quickly as possible if for any reason you need to depart early. Flights & extending your stay Do you provide flights? International flights are not included in your package. You need to arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) on the afternoon of Day 1 of your itinerary. If you’re flying from the UK, this typically means departing the UK the previous day. Many of UK-based clients this fly on Qatar Airways and the flights from the UK are via Doha, Qatar. Other airlines also serve KTM from the UK. Can I extend my trip? If you would like to extend your trip it is absolutely possible. We offer a fantastic Chitwan National Park jungle safari extension packages. To find out more, please check the website or email [email protected] and a member of the team will be in touch! Funding & fundraising How can I fund this expedition? You can choose to: fully fund the expedition yourself fundraise for a charity of your choice or fundraise for our social mission (we’re a social enterprise!), from which approximately 50% of the sponsorship will cover your trip cost, or opt to do a mixture of both! For all three funding options, a registration deposit of £250 is required to secure your place We have worked with many UK charities and welcome partnerships with new ones all the time! As long as the charity you propose to raise funds for is a registered UK or Irish charity and agree to you doing so, we are more than happy for you to fundraise for any charity close to your heart.