Category Archives: Nepal

What to pack for your Everest Base Camp Trek?

everest-trek-to-base-campOkay, so you’ve booked your trip to Nepal and you’re getting ready to hike one of the most epic trails on earth – the Everest Base Camp Trek!

So what gear do you need?

Firstly, no matter when you travel, weather conditions can change extremely quickly in the Himalayas and you’ll need to pack for the worst of it. Snow storms can hit you from nowhere and temperatures drop severely overnight.

If you’re trekking at altitude, which you will be, the temperature is also reduced. Therefore, packing properly for your adventure is a must.

Here is a summary EBC packing list, for a full list see here.

Base layer: Base layers sit under your normal clothes like skin layer, keeping all your body heat trapped within. Make sure its made from a high-wicking material though as you want moisture to be able to pass through.

Shirts: Trekking shirts are made from lightweight, high-wicking material which makes them very breathable. Take a couple of shirts as showers are few and far between!

Fleece layer: A fleece is a must and will be your go to item when the weather gets cold. Make sure its good quality and the material is not too thick.

Outer shell layer: This layer is your protection against the elements. You’ll need it to be light and wind/waterproof.

Gloves: Make sure you take two pairs – inner gloves and outer gloves. Wearing both layers will trap the heat and protect your hands far better than just one layer.

Trousers: Make sure to avoid cotton trousers and jeans. You’ll want some lightweight, durable and weather proof. Ski pants work well in winter but will be too warm inn summer.

Boots: A good pair of hiking boots is vital. Make sure the sole id good quality rubber and that you have excellent ankle support. We always advise to go with a quick lace system also. Make sure to wear them in before trekking.

Trekking poles: Trekking poles have been proven to reduce stress on your joints by up to 20%, particularly when hiking downhill. Lightweight carbon fibre ones are the best.

First Aid Kit: Carrying a first aid kit with at all times is a must – particularly when trekking solo. Blisters are common, as are bumps and scrapes. a good first aid kit will take care of this.

Snacks: You’ll stay at tech houses each night where you will eat. However, if you want that little boost of energy then please bring some energy bars with as your guide will not provide these.

Sun hat: Although it may not be warm, the sun is still powerful in the Himalayas and to avoid sunstroke and sunburn, we recommend taking a sun hat.

We hope this short packing list has helped you. Remember, you will have weight restrictions on your trek and flights, so pack sensibly and take only the necessities.

For more information on Everest Base Camp check out this site: https://ebctrekguide.com/

To Island Peak or Mera Peak?

island-peak-climbSo in April I was in Nepal for the 4th time. I just love Nepal, the people, the mountains, the culture. It really is a special place.

I was there with some colleagues and clients to meet our local guide team and climb Island Peak – one of Nepal’s most famous trekking peaks. Before we got there though we spent two awesome weeks trekking in the Goyko and Khumbu region, with a special visit and night camping at Everest Base Camp.

We arrived at Island Peak base camp on the 20th April and spent a day training with technical gear. To climb Island Peak you need to be able to use a fixed rope and crampons.

The technical elements of Island Peak include a glacier crossing, which today has two crevasse segments that require the use of ladders to cross (thanks to last years Earthquake) and a climb up a 150m icy headwall.

In past seasons the headwall has been a lot smoother, but today it is heavily broken up and scarred – compliments of climate change and wind shearing. The final segment includes a traverse with a 1000 foot exposure on either side to the table top summit.

We climbed with four highly experienced Sherpa, two of which had topped out on Everest twice and had many other impressive summits under their belts – including Ama Dablam and Cho Oyo.

Long and short is that Island Peak is a tough challenge. The altitude which maxes out at just under 6,200m is a challenge for most people, but the climb segment does indeed involve some climbing experience. I would definitely say that if you are a novice, it is better to start on a peak like Mera, which although higher in altitude, is a truer example of a trekking peak.

Once you have cut your teeth on Mera Peak or even a peak like Aconcagua in Argentina, then you can take on Island Peak.

If you are afraid of heights and big exposure then I would say give Island Peak a miss.

For everyone else, if you have the determination then I would say go for it! Check out Kandoo Adventures Island Peak offer or Kandoo’s Mera Peak trek.

For free information on both these peaks click here and here.

Various trekking options in Nepal

various-trekking-routes-nepal

The tiny mountainous nation of Nepal is famous for its stunning trek routes. Hordes of tourists every year flock to two main areas – the Everest region and the Annapurna region. Both regions are by far the most popular for trekking and it’s easy to see why. This article will briefly look at each region and the treks on offer.

Everest Region

Everest Base Camp trek

Made famous as the route taken by Hillary and Tenzing on their famous journey to the summit of Everest, the Base Camp trek is Nepal’s most popular trek. Following the Khumbu Valley, you begin by passing lovely cultivated fields and Sherpa villagers before heading into the mountains proper where you will see some incredible vistas and some very old Buddhist monasteries! Be sure to summit Kala Patthar as the view of Everest is the best in the region.

Gokyo Lakes trek

If you have more time, we think this is the best option in the region. Taking a similar route to begin with, the trek veers off after Namche and heads towards the three holy lakes at Gokyo. The stunning blue lakes should not be missed and neither should the wonderful vistas from atop the Cho La pass. When you come to Base Camp remember to check out the infamous Khumbu Icefall that has been so deadly to mountaineers.

Annapurna region

Annapurna Circuit trek

Considered to be one of the greatest treks in the world, it deliver a diversity of environments that is simply incredible. You begin in sub-tropical conditions in the lower meadow areas before ascending up into the more forested alpine section. Make sure to look at the stunning vistas of the Himalaya when trekking over Thorung La pass – they’re simply incredible. You then continue down into the more arid section known as the Mustang region before finishing your trek.

Poon Hill

This is the perfect option if you’re just starting out your trekking adventure. It is also a lot shorter than the Circuit trek and is a good option for people with less time in the region. The trek takes you to the summit of Poon Hill where you get fantastic views of the surrounding areas such as Annapurnas, Machhapuchchre and Dhaulagiri.

Annapurna Sanctuary trek

Slightly longer and more difficult than the Poon Hill trek the route takes a very similar path to begin with as it summits Poon Hill. After marveling at the views, the trek then heads down into a deep valley known as the ‘Sanctuary’ because of the mountains either side towering above it.

Your clothes for Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit in detail

annapurna-packing-listHere are details of the clothes you will need on a trek to Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit. Many items will be available in Kathmandu, Lukla, Pokhara or Namche Bazaar, but genuine labels will not be and cheaper equipment will often be insufficient for the kind of cold to which you can look forward.

Layering is crucial as the weather can change radically along with the altitude. Lukla is at 9,383 feet and Kala Patthar, 18,373 feet. There are also the seasons to consider. There are three layers for you to think about.

Here is the packing list for clothes on the EBC and packing list for Annapurna Circuit.

The base, first or next-to-skin layer is highly important at the higher reaches of the trek but will likely see little use at other times. If this layer fits tight to the skin, airflow is reduced. It should be of high-wicking material to enable moisture to escape.

The second, insulation layer is best constructed of fleece material. You may be able to live without a second layer for your legs. For your torso, a Polartec 200 Fleece Jacket is lightweight, warm and breathable. The 100 range is too light and the 300 range, too heavy.

The third, outer core layer comprises a warm, waterproof jacket and trousers which are indispensable at the higher reaches. A top-of-the-range option is the North Face Nuptse Jacket while the North Face Resolve Jacket is more affordable. Think of the Nuptse as a lifetime investment – it will last for years. Trousers should be warm, fleece-insulated ski pants as supplied by Helly Hansen, O’Neills and Trepass.

In addition to these three layers, you will also benefit from trekking shorts for the evenings. Rain might be encountered, particularly around the rainy season from June to September, so bring lightweight rain gear or, at the very least, a poncho. Jeans are to be avoided as they take an age to dry out and are uncomfortable for trekking. Cotton is to be shunned because it absorbs moisture.

There is also the matter of headwear. You cannot contemplate this trek without a hat that protects the head and neck against the sun. It should be light and capable of fitting inside your daypack. A beanie, otherwise known as a headband, will be appreciated when it grows cold in the late afternoon or early evening, particularly as you draw closer to Base Camp. Berghaus and North Face are very reputable suppliers. Sunglasses with a minimum of 80 percent light reduction are another must-have, for example those by Julbo.

Gloves are necessary. Outer gloves should be ultra-warm, waterproof and durable, for instance Dakine’s Gore-Tex gloves. Inner gloves ought to be lightweight and quick dry, like Pearl Izumi’s Thermal Lite Gloves, which can be used without outer gloves if the weather is not too severe.

Your feet are what will get you to Base Camp and back again. Boots should fit correctly or blisters, lost nails and sore feet will follow. The test is placing your foot in the boot with the laces untied and then sliding it to the front; you should be able to insert a single finger down the back of the boot. Full leather boots have a tendency to be too heavy. Trainers can be worn in-camp. Not to be forgotten are four or five pairs of trekking socks, with Coolmax being one provider. A further two pairs of thermal socks will be used on the colder days near Base Camp. Smartwool thermal socks are an example.

Get further issues on trekking in Nepal from TAAN.