VisaMost nationalities require a visa for Nepal, which can be obtained in advance or on entry. If you wish to apply before departure the current visa cost is £20 for a 15 day visa and £35 for a 30 day visa for UK passport holders. The current cost of a visa on arrival is US $25 for 15 days, US $40 for 30 days or if extending your stay $100 for 90 days. All are multiple entry. The visa on arrival fee can be paid for in cash in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros. You will also need a passport photo. Application forms are available in the immigration hall (or for electronic passports there are visa registration machines which, after inserting your passport, automatically fill out a form for you). You must firstly join the queue to pay the visa fee, and then go to the relevant immigration desk to obtain your 15, 30 or 90 day visa stamp. There can be long queues for visas on arrival.
Non UK nationals should check requirements with their nearest embassy (a few nationalities are not permitted visas on arrival).
VaccinationsThere are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is present in certain regions only (such as Chitwan); you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Most of our trips to Nepal go to high altitudes where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please refer to the TRIP NOTES for complete advice on AMS.
Eating & DrinkingBreakfast is included throughout the trip and all meals are provided while camping (all breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners).
Breakfast is included throughout the trip and all meals are provided while camping. On trek the breakfast will be a set menu usually consisting of porridge and toast. Any additional items that are not included in the set menu should be ordered and paid for separately. We do not include lunch and dinner in the tea-houses, allowing you to choose what you want to eat and when. Although most lodges have almost identical menus, they are reasonably extensive and offer a varied selection, ranging from traditional Nepalese dal bhat to pizza and apple pie.
Although meat is available in the tea houses, we advise against eating it on trek. The meat has often been carried in the heat from lower altitudes for several days before reaching the lodges, and can cause stomach upsets or illness. Germs can also be spread by handling dirty money - we recommend using hand sanitiser.
If you buy imported food and drink whilst on trek you will spend more than the suggested amount.
Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity but particularly so at altitude where it is generally recommended to drink at least 3-4 litres per person per day.
We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water on trek as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in Nepal’s trekking areas.
All tea houses will provide cold water free of charge, if requested. Although this should not be drunk untreated, we recommend that you bring a reusable bottle with a wide opening (Nalgene or similar) with you and use a SteriPEN to treat it with. A SteriPEN is a handheld UV water purifier – small, lightweight and battery powered so easy to pack for a trek. In Nepal’s trekking regions most of the bottled water isn’t strictly ‘mineral water’ anyway but is UV treated, so it’s exactly the same technology. It’s quick to use, far more effective than purification tablets, and the water is ready immediately. It’s fine to use a SteriPEN on non-boiled water so long as it isn’t cloudy or full of sediment (which is uncommon in these regions).
SteriPENs are widely stocked on Amazon, outdoor shops and other online retailers; look for the latest models but avoid USB charging ones. Better still, a SteriPEN will pay for itself over the course of the trek and you won’t leave behind a single plastic bottle – you will end up spending the same or even less than you would on bottled water, plus you can keep it for future trips.
If you prefer not to invest in a SteriPEN, the tea houses also sell boiled water for approx. Rs150-300 per litre (the price increases the higher you trek) which should not require treating. This is also perfect for a bedtime refill as it can double up as a hot water bottle.
While camping boiled water is supplied for drinking.
WeatherThe main trekking season in Nepal is from October to mid-May when daytime temperatures at most altitudes are generally comfortable for walking, the sky is clear much of the time and rain and snow are occasional occurrences. Daytime temperatures will vary from 15ºC to 35ºC in the Kathmandu Valley to around 10ºC at 3,600m and progressively lower the higher we go.
Different seasons offer different advantages for trekking.
Post Monsoon/autumn: Mid-September to November. This is the main trekking season in Nepal. Day temperatures in Kathmandu are approximately above 20ºC. Skies are usually clear and days on trek are sunny and mild with clear mountain views. At the highest altitudes although the days can be nice and sunny the temperatures can drop to 10ºC and much lower. Nights will be colder with temperatures dropping as low as minus 10ºC and lower at the highest altitudes.
Pre-monsoon/spring: March to May. Both day and night temperatures will be warmer in general but haze will often build up in the afternoons. It is very hot in the lowlands and temperatures rise to 35ºC in Kathmandu. Flowers bloom in this season and this is one of the reasons people chose to trek in spring.
Snow can be expected on any departure, usually at the higher altitudes. Summit day will be a very early start (usually about 2am) and will be extremely cold. Although mostly it is calm and clear on summit day the mountain does occasionally get high winds. You need to be equipped for temperatures as low as minus 25ºC plus wind chill on summit day.
Please remember that in any mountain area the weather is never wholly predictable and you should be prepared and equipped to deal with any differences in weather beyond the conditions described above.
More InfoThis is a Tough+ trek. It is activity level 9 with 16 days walking and full porterage throughout. The maximum altitude is 6,189m (or 5,545m without Island Peak) and the average is 3,680m. There are some steep ascents and descents and some narrow trails. As this trek also ascends to very high altitudes participants should be confident of their physical fitness and must have previous experience of trekking at altitude and in snow.
Although it is not compulsory to participate in the climb (the summit attempt is optional), anyone who does must have previous ice axe and crampon experience and know how to use a jumar and abseil device. There will be equipment checks and practice sessions for rope use, ice axe, crampon and harness use, abseiling and crevasse rescue. For safety reasons it is compulsory to participate in these sessions. If you do not take part the leader and climbing Sherpas will not allow you to take part in the climb.
Though technically harder than Mera Peak, for those with the necessary experience this expedition is within the reach of those seeking their first Himalayan summit. The climb requires strong lungs and a great deal of will power - it is graded alpine PD+ and starts with some rocky scrambling to a glacier. We cross the glacier roped up (there is one ladder to cross), and then come to a 200m steep 40-45 degree headwall, which leads to a 20m summit ridge. We will rope up to cross the glacier and you will be walking with an ice axe, crampons and plastic boots. There are fixed ropes up the headwall (approximately 200m) and along the summit ridge. On the ascent you will need to use a jumar and on the descent you will need to use an abseil device.
Please be aware that altitude can have a significant affect on your physical state. It is important that you take heed of the leader's advice and decisions at all times. The leaders are trained in first aid and are well aware of AMS symptoms and will keep a close eye on the group. We ask you to refer to the altitude warning within the Trip Notes.
The climb itself is not recommended for anyone with a fear of heights or vertigo and the main trail itself crosses three modern suspension bridges over rivers and valleys - all of these have mesh sides but some are quite long and high.