Mountaineering in Nepal
Mountaineering expedition has changed its meaning, scope and objective over many decades starting from the idea of reaching the highest summits in remote mountain ranges to being a recreational sport today. Mountaineering expedition today is a social high altitude trekking activity with the goal to summit a Himalayan peak as result. Still today like in early days mountaineering expedition requires high fitness level, determination, ability to cope with weeks of isolation and psychological ability to collaborate with a small group of people over 4-6 weeks.
Many expedition climbs are not highly technical but operating on high altitude increases level of difficulty and even non-technical aspects at sea level turn in to complex, difficult and potentially dangerous or even life threatening at high elevations. Therefore technical abilities or pre-expedition training is an essential part to safety and success with essential skills to use climbing equipment such as ropes, ice axes and crampons. Even guided clients must have a minimum knowledge, experience and awareness of basic rock climbing, scrambling steep snow and rock, protection techniques, crevasse rescue and being able to recognise a danger of potential unstable snow conditions, avalanche, physiological symptoms of dehydration, altitude sickness, cold and hypothermia and fast changing weather conditions.
Mountaineering training is a continuous and never ending process; it is a way of life and requires a constant practice, and mountaineering instincts have to become a second nature. A small mistake or lapse of concentration can be deadly. The reward however is breathtaking view and unforgettable feeling of life achievement of standing on the top of the summit. Mountaineering in Alps, Andes, or Canadian Rockies can be technically very challenging but adding another dimension of very high altitude in Himalayas over 8000m or even above 7000m, multiplies the level of technical difficulty even in case of a simple high elevation summit, which wouldn’t be classified as a difficult hike at low elevations. The mountaineering effort level ranges from introductory feasible for fit athletes with little prior experience to extremely challenging routes requiring the highest levels of mountain climbing skills, technical rock climbing skills and logistics and personal proficiencies.
Mountaineering in Nepal is one of the prime activities which positions Nepal as ultimate in high altitude mountaineering with no substitute. The fact that Nepal contains over 1310 snow-capped peaks with eight out of 14 peaks above 8000m attracts mountaineering enthusiasts from all over the world. Apart of obvious 8000m expeditions there are many 7000m dream peaks suitable for short expedition for various levels of climber experience.
Snowy Horizon Treks and Expedition has develop logistics expertise while organising full scale Himalayan expedition as well as logistic support for climbing peaks in Nepal and Tibet in collaboration with European, North American and Australian climbers, who contributed to our safety and quality system. Expeditions to Pumori, Amadablam, Baruntse are considered the most popular and preferred by many climbers among 6000 and 7000 meter peaks whereas Dhaulagiri, Makalu, Manaslu, Lhotse and Everest are the over 8000 meter peaks for the challenging climbing in Nepal . We arrange fully guided support for expedition and logisticson Cho Oyu, Shishapangma and Everest and we have had strong base camp presence since 2009.
Snowy Horizon Treks and Expedition provides logistics support to all levels of mountaineering to help you to achieve your goals and objectives on the adventure of your lifetime from the ever tough Mt Manaslu to stunning Mt Amadablam and the ultimate to everybody the Everest. We do support very experienced climbers and leaders with Base Camp services and provide mountain guiding and high camp logistics through our experienced climbing Sherpa guides, who not only have high level of climbing and guiding skills but also have natural genetic predisposition for adaptation to high altitude through many generations of ancestors living at very high elevation.
Our guides climb 8000m peaks including Everest season after season, they set-up routes for western climbers and western guides, who in general don’t have natural predispositions to adopt and work proficiently at very high elevations. In order to participate in Himalayan Mountaineering Expedition, you require psychological and physical stamina. A level of prior experience is also a good asset and it is indispensable on more difficult and technical climbs; however we can help you through our support and logistics program to flatten the steep learning curve. The minimum time required for high altitude Himalayan climb ranges typically from 30 to 60 days.The activity of challenging types of trekking above the altitude of snowline in the Himalayas is defined as Mountaineering Expedition. This kind of snow mountain trekking emphasizes on teamwork, psychological challenges stemming from isolation, hardworking, physical stamina, adverse environment, ability to use climbing equipments in a prominent manner such as ice axes, crampons, ropes etc. and confinement to small group for weeks. To be a participant of an expedition team one must be required a technical knowledge and experience to be able to climb in steep snow, technical ice and rock, protect him and his belayed on snow, ice and rock, setup fixed ropes and recognize danger due to hidden crevasses, avalanches, unstable snow, fast changing weather conditions, cold, dehydration and high altitude conditions.
Nepal with 1310 identified Himalayan peaks over 6000m including 8 out of 14 highest peaks in the world is unquestionably a premier mountaineering and climbing destination for thousands of climbers and mountaineers testing their skills and endurance and fulfilling their desire to summit a Himalayan peak and marvel the world from its rooftop. Currently there are 326 peaks open for climbing and mountaineering in Nepal.
Peak climbing expedition is usually both technically and physically very challenging activity. It requires considerable climbing skills and in Nepal usually is done on sub-eight thousand meters high mountains, where acclimatization is easier and more effort can be devoted to climbing skill rather then shier brute force to combat altitude.
Facts of Mountain Expedition
Identified Peaks: 1310 in Nepal
Above 8000m: 8 out of 14
Opened Peaks: 326 peaks open for climbing
Top Mountains: Mount Everest, K2, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri I, Manaslu, Nanga Parbat, Annapurna I
Peak Climbing Question/Answers
What is trekking peak?
Trekking Peaks are the mountain which can be approached in a day to the summit from their base camp including return to the basecamp. Trekking peaks are generally between 5000m to below 7000m. The climbing permits for these peaks can be obtained from Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA). These peaks are also called NMA Trekking Peaks.
Who can climb a peak?
There are no restrictions to obtain climbing permit and anyone with appropriate fitness and skills can attempt a peak climbing. Climbing difficulty varies for different mountains and routes. Non-technical climbs can be attempted by a fit trekker with little or no climbing experience. For technical climbs one needs to have an appropriate level of climbing experience.
I have never climbed before. Can I go for peak climbing?
There is always first time for everything including peak climbing. There are non-technical peaks, which can be climbed safely by a fit trekker and even slightly technical peaks can be attempted by a novice climber with a professional climbing guide.
What are physical fitness criteria to climb a peak in Nepal?
To climb high elevation peak the health and fitness is a paramount criteria. The level of fitness required is proportional to peak elevation and route difficulty and length.
What is climbing permit?
Climbing Permit for trekking peaks is a legal document issued by the Nepal Mountaineering Associationauthorizing the climber to attempt the climb on designated peak or route. Attempting a climb without permit is illegal.
Do I need climbing permit?
Yes climbing permits are required to climb any peak above 5000m and it is illegal to do so without a climbing permit.
Who will lead me during climbing?
A licensed, trained and experienced Climbing Sherpa Guide will lead you while Peak Climbing.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes the rescue insurance is required while climbing.
Which is the best season for peak climbing?
In general August to November and March to May are two climbing seasons in Nepal.
Do I need to join in a climbing group?
There is no legal requirement to join the climbing group however climbing solo is an unsafe practice. It is recommended to hire the guide even for simple routes.
What will be the food and accommodation?
During the access trek you will be accommodated in a lodge/teahouse; once in the basecamp you will be assigned a tent and your climbing Sherpa will prepare high altitude food; all your climbing gear and food for the climb will be carried by the porter up to the base camp.
How much time is generally required for trekking peak?
It varies for different peaks and weather condition. Generally most of trekking peaksrequire one or two days to summit from the basecamp. The access time varies also and depends on peak location and peak elevation.
How difficult are the trekking peaks?
It depends on the Trekking Peak. There is a variety of peaks available ranging from non-technical through easy technical to difficult and very difficult technical routes.
Is there any age limit for trekking Peaks Climbing?
Children below 18 are Restricted for Peak Climbing in Nepal. Is this incorrect?
What are the sources of drinking water supply during Peak Climbing?
On most of treks bottled water is available. There are also purified filtered water stations in many lodges. The boiled water will be also available in the lodges and from the camp kitchen.
Where do we eat our meals?
On popular trails we will stay in lodges and guest houses and the meals will be cooked for you with continental menu meals often available as well as soups and noodles and rice dishes; on some routes there will be a limited choice and on some more remote routes only local Nepal Dal Bhat and curry or instant noodle soups will be available. In the basecamp your Sherpa guide will prepare meals for you from instant dry meals.
Is there any communication while we are on trekking?
It all depends on the area with most of the trekking routeshaving local VHF Phones; increasingly more places get mobile coverage of varied capacity; in remote communication is not available or very limited so the only option would be a satellite phone.
What type of shoes or boots should I wear?
You need comfortable trekking shoes preferably with Gore-Tex style lining for ultimate comfort and thick vibratim soles to have comfortable walk on rocky paths. On snow routes you will also require crampons, climbing harness and on many climbs the iceaxe.
What problems can arise on altitude?
At high altitude your cardio-pulmonary system is affected by low oxygen density and you can suffer from general breathing difficulties to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) as well as your skin is susceptible to sunburn if not protected by cloths or sunblock. The AMS is preventable through appropriate trekking pace and undertaking acclimatization.
What type of insurance should I have? Where can I obtain the insurance?
You need to obtain travel insurance before you arrive to Kathmandu. Your insurance should cover rescue insurance and it should allow the expense of helicopter supported medevac. Nowadays such policies are readily available through many airfare booking agents. Try ihi.com if you cannot find your insurance.
What type of insurance should I have? Where can I obtain the insurance?
You will require a travel insurance, which will not exclude climbing and helicopter evacuation. You need obtain your insurance before you arrive to Kathmandu. Climbing insurance may be obtained through some climbing clubs and some insurers such as IHI.
What is the cost of Peak Climbing?
The cost depends on peak you wish to climb and the number of climbers in the group. The cost of the climb consists of trekking cost, transportation costs (airfare or surface transportation), equipment and staff requirements, climbing duration and permit costs. Please consult us.