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HIMALAYA TREKKING

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When to trek in the Himalaya

February to May
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As Nepal moves out of its winter the weather starts to get warmer and showers are generally brief and infrequent. The early months are very quiet on the trails, the latter months less so, but still not as busy as in the Autumn. April and May is a fascinating time to vist Base Camp as this is when all the Everest climbers are in residence Dry, quiet and getting warmer
June to August
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With the arrival of the monsoon, temperatures rise, humidity goes through the roof and daily downpours in the afternoon are the norm. Unless you particularly like being wet this is a bad time to be in the Everest region but the Annapurna region still remains dry. Monsoon season
September to November
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The busiest trekking season in Nepal starts in September and lasts into the early days of December when temperatures fall away rapidly. Warm, dry days and clear, chillier nights become the established pattern and rain showers are brief and light. Warm, dry and clear
December to January
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As the days get shorter the temperatures drop dramatically and with increased precipitation there are regular snowfalls which make for beautiful mountains but difficult trails. Trekking at this time of year can be exciting but only with the best of warm weather gear. Cold and with frequent snow showers

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1What is included?

Included: Return Airport Transfers Hotel accommodation in Kathmandu before and after your trek on a bed & breakfast basis Transfers from your hotel to and from your trek start point Return domestic flights to Lukla or Pokhara All Sagarmatha National Park fees TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) fees Accommodation at a standard Teahouse on a room only basis Service of our qualified mountain guides and porters Insurance for all guides and porters Prices are based on 2 people sharing a room throughout the trek Not included: International airfare and departure taxes Items of a personal nature Tips for the crew - recommended tip rates: Lead Guide $15 per day, Asst Guide $12 per day, Porters $8 per day Entry visa for Nepal Personal trekking insurance (must cover trekking to 6000m) Breakfast, lunch and dinner on the trek Meals and drinks not specified

Q2What vaccinations are required?

In general, we recommend the following vaccinations: Hepatitis A&B - Everyone Typhoid - Everyone Polio – We recommend a booster shot for adult travellers. Yellow fever – Necessary for all travellers who will arrive via areas prone to yellow fever. Rabies – Not necessary unless visiting lowland areas, including Chitwan. Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) – We recommend a double dose for any born after 1956, unless they have already been given this vaccination. Tetanus-diphtheria – This vaccination should be renewed every 10 years. Of course, you should always speak with your GP or other health care professional about any vaccinations or other medicines you are considering taking. They will have more information about your specific health needs, and can make much more specific, reliable recommendations for you.

Q3What insurance do I need?

Any travel insurance you take out must cover you for trekking to 6000m, as well as the standard cover for medical evacuation and repatriation. Some policies include the trekking as standard as long as you aren't using ropes or it may be an additional option under the extreme sport option. (On peak climbs cover must be up to 7000m using fixed ropes). It’s always worth checking if you already hold a travel insurance policy. Otherwise, we can recommend a few insurance companies that clients have been happy with in the past, and which we know will cover you for trekking to 6000m. Dogtag - http://www.dogtag.co.uk/kili.aspx British Mountaineering Council – https://www.thebmc.co.uk/insurance Snowcard – http://www.snowcard.co.uk/ World Nomads – http://www.worldnomads.com/ (all countries)

Q4What is the best time to trek?

The two main trekking seasons for the Himalaya are Feb / March - May and September - November, which is either side of the monsoon season. The earlier trekking season is generally quieter, although more prone to brief showers but the weather in May would be considerably warmer. April and May also have the added bonus of being the time of year that the summit teams are preparing their assaults on Everest, so Base Camp will actually be seen as a working camp. October and November are the peak trekking season and have traditionally been a time of stable weather with clear blue skies most days and the early part of September can be prone to the tail end of the monsoon. Generally dry days making trekking conditions easier. Cooler and chilly nights. June, July and August is monsoon season so none of the Everest region treks run. Trails can be unpassable and Teahouses close. The Annapurna region lies partially in a rain shadow, so most of the area is protected from the worst of the monsoon. The Annapurna Sanctuary and the Panorama treks therefore will run during these months. December to January can be very, very cold. Some of the trails remain open but can be subject to short term closures due to snowfall. Island Peak, Mera Peak, Annapurna Circuit are closed mid Nov to mid-March, and Gokyo Lakes mid Jan to mid Feb.

Q5How fit do you need to be?

Our treks are designed for novice trekkers who are fit but have not necessarily trekked at high altitude before. Our treks to the Himalayas are anything between 8 and 18 days, and the schedule incorporates two acclimatisation days to ensure you adjust to the altitude as you make you way up to Summit. There is no technical climbing on any part of the route; you just need to be prepared to spend 5 -7 hours walking for one day after another. Stamina and determination are what you need most! The best way to prepare is to get out (on the hills if possible) and get yourself used to spending so much time on your feet. There’s useful information on our website here about getting yourself physically prepared. We recommend Cardio training, build stamina such as running, cycling, Zumba, aerobics etc, strengthening legs such as squats and lunges and flexibility, stretching properly before and after exercising and hiking.

Q6Have you trekked at altitude before?

NO – Most people who trek to in Nepal are not athletes or gym goers, or trained mountaineers and determination is the key. You will be walking 5-7 hours per day, every day of the trek. You can easily do a 6 mile trek here, but in the Himalayas it will take longer. Treks are measured not by distance, but by time, and you will be coming back to a basic bed with a thin mattress, not a bath and cosy pjs after a trek in the UK! The best way to prepare is to climb, trek or hike any hills or mountains near where you live and get used to putting the hours in. YES – Where have you trekked before? Machu Picchu is 4500m for most of the trail and you reach this altitude on day 2 (Inca) Kilimanjaro you reach Barafu Base / Lava Tower on day 5 / 6 at 4600m In comparison, it takes 5 days to get to 4252m on the way to Everest Base Camp so acclimatisation is better as it takes longer to get there. Your previous experience on Kilimanjaro will stand you in good stead for this trek. On the Everest Base Camp trek your highest point will be Kala Pattar at 5554m – slightly lower than the summit of Kilimanjaro. The big difference with trekking in the Himalayas is that you take a lot longer to reach this altitude – you would have summited Kilimanjaro in 5 - 6 days whereas in Nepal it will be day 9 before you reach this altitude, so you will have more chance to acclimatise. You will however be spending a longer period of time at the higher altitudes. On Kilimanjaro you reached Barafu Base Camp at 4600m, from where you summited but came straight back down again. You will be spending several days above 4500m. However, if you coped with the altitude on Kilimanjaro, you should be ok going to Everest Base Camp.

Q7What kit do I need and what are the weight limits?

The defining characteristic of weather in Nepal is the combination of extreme heat and extreme cold in a single day. The best way to cope with these changes is to have lots of relatively thin layers that can be combined or reduced as the temperature goes up and down. You can download a full info-graphic of our kit list with links to the specific items of kit we recommend. Also for when you are packing there is a printable check-list of all the items you need. Please note that airline baggage weight restrictions are 10kg for your main equipment bag and 5kg for your hand luggage. If you are joining a trip to climb a peak you will also need: • Climbing Helmet • Insulated climbing boots • Crampons • Climbing Harness • Ascending device : Jumar • Descending or belay device • Ice axe suitable for climbing • Two lockable carabiners For peak climbs we will increase the weight allowance of your main equipment bag to 15kg. However, if the airline is unable to take the excess baggage on the same flight, we will need to re-pack your climbing kit separately so that it can be sent on a later flight. A porter will then catch up with you on the trek to deliver it.

Q8What do you have to carry?

Your climb price includes a team of porters who, amongst other things, will carry your main equipment bag each day between camps. You will not have access to this bag during the day, as the porters will leave camp after you in the morning as they have to pack everything away, will pass you on the trail during the day and will arrive at camp ahead of you to set up. You will need to have a day sack with you, to carry everything you do need access to during the day, such as waterproofs, drinking water, spare fleece, sun cream, etc. We would expect you to carry your day sack yourself, but the personal porter option on private treks only is for a porter to walk with you each day and carry your daysack for you. A 35 litre day sack would be adequate, and you will be carrying around 5-8 kg (but getting lighter as you drink your water!)

Q9What health checks are there?

Health checks are given twice a day. This includes a blood oxygen saturation level test and checking your pulse rate. You are also evaluated by using the Lake Louise system, which is a series of scoring questions to find out how you are feeling. If your blood oxygen saturation level goes below 75% then you have to begin your descent immediately. EMERGENCY DESCENT PROTOCOL If your guides have concerns about your health, or believes that continuing the trek would be dangerous for you, they will insist that you begin your descent immediately. This decision will be made using the protocol detailed below to make sure that you remain safe, while maximising your chances of a successful ascent. Your blood oxygen levels will be measured. If they are below 80% you must rest every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours. If your oxygen levels fall below 75% and do not recover, you must begin your descent immediately. If it does rise above 75%, you may continue your climb, subject to closer monitoring. Please notify your guide immediately if your condition worsens, even slightly. Your Lake Louise score will be measured. If it is above 8 at base camp, you must descend. If it is between 6 and 8 at base camp, then your guide will consider your score, your blood oxygen levels, and your overall well-being to determine whether it is safe for you to continue. Again, notify your guide immediately if you begin to feel worse. Symptoms of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) are: • Vomiting, Nausea or Loss of Appetite • Weakness or Fatigue • Feeling Light-headed or Dizzy • Difficulty Sleeping • Numbness, Pins and Needles • Shortness of breath • Rapid Pulse (especially if persistent) • Sleepiness or Drowsiness • Overall Malaise • Swelling or oedema of face or extremities ‘Walk High, Sleep Low’ We make every effort to give you the opportunity to do a short walk at a higher altitude every day after setting up camp, rest there for approximately 30 minutes, then descend again to sleep. Go slowly! You need to maintain a breathing rate low enough that you could easily maintain a conversation. If you find you are breathing hard, slow down. Overworking your heart and lungs puts you at much higher risk of AMS. Drink more than you feel you need to Proper hydration not only makes AMS less likely, it makes you less vulnerable to a host of other problems as well. To protect yourself, you need to drink at least 3 litres of water each day, especially if you don’t feel thirsty. If your urine is yellow (or worse, orange) you are not drinking nearly enough. Dehydration can be mistaken for HACE, and cause you to be taken back down the mountain, so drink up!

Q10What medication can you take for Altitude Sickness?

The only option you could consider in advance is to take Diamox. There has been a lot of research on Diamox (which you can find by googling) that shows is that it has been reasonably well proven to be helpful in avoiding AMS – it’s what our team in the UK take when they are trekking at altitude. In the UK it is a prescription drug which must be prescribed by a doctor, but some doctors are reluctant to prescribe it. The concern is that by taking Diamox, people believe that they are immune from AMS and can ignore the symptoms. In reality, although Diamox can help prevent the symptoms, should symptoms still develop it means the drug isn't being effective and you have to take notice. Your guides will be carrying out twice daily health checks but you should always keep them informed of any changes to your health. Diamox is taken before you start climbing to prevent altitude sickness, not once you start trekking and symptoms have developed. Common side effects include numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes, and changes to your taste which makes fizzy drinks taste awful. You will also experience more frequent urinating, which will be exacerbated by the amount of water you will be drinking to help with acclimatisation.

Q11How long has your company been running?

Our company has been running for 11 years. We started as Private Expeditions, but have only recently re-branded to Kandoo Adventures to reflect our continued growth. We have refreshed our brand with an offer that now includes private and open group trekking experiences.

Q12What makes your company different from other trekking companies?

We do not outsource our treks to other companies, we have our own operation in Nepal and employ all of our own guides so we can control every aspect of your trek. We are members of the Nepal Mountaineering Association and work within their guidelines for wages for our crews.

Q13How experienced will my guide be?

All our guides are licensed by the Nepal Mountaineering Association and have many years experience trekking and climbing in the Himalayas. Both our climbing guides, Jyamchang and Pimba, have climbed Mount Everest twice and are qualified to the prestigious IMG standard.

Q14Are your team insured for emergency evacuation in an event of an accident

We do insure our crews for emergency evacuation. However, we do not insure our clients and you would need to make sure your insurance covers you for helicopter evacuation.

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