Everest Base Camp
and Gokyo Lakes
P3 - This trip is physically tough. Frequent exercise is necessary to prepare properly for this expedition. Regular walking mixed with training at the gym to build up endurance and cardiovascular fitness is key. Expect to be able to do 8 hour days in hilly and often steep train, carrying a pack of 6-10kg in weight with the occasional extra long day.
Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.
T2 - Consider this a trek, although there may be occasion to use hands for short sections of easy scrambling. No previous climbing or trekking experience is necessary.
Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.
Date & Prices
Pics & Vids
Trek to Everest base camp and Gokyo Lakes in the heart of Nepal and experience a magical blend of fascinating culture, jaw-dropping scenery and a glimpse of the world’s highest mountain. For many adventurers, it’s the ultimate trekking itinerary which doesn’t require any technical skills.
We start our trekking journey by heading into the Gokyo Valley, a stunning area close to the Everest region but hidden away and separated by a snowy pass. The Gokyo area offers quiet contemplation and reflection, especially if you visit the serenity and beauty of the Five Lakes. Make it to the Fifth Lake and you are rewarded with magical views of Cho Oyu, the ‘Turquoise Goddess’ feeling as though it is within touching distance across the border into Tibet. The majesty of Everest still graces this area and the journey to the top of Gokyo Ri offers a more western view of Everest, something which few others get to see and exemplifies the changing faces of the mountain.
We visit the basecamp of Mount Everest and enter the the real stillness of the Khumbu Icefall and get the famous eagle eye view of the Himalayas from the top of Kala Pattar.
We descend following an ancient trade route through vibrant Sherpa settlements, dense rhododendron forest with magnificent views of the Khumbu Valley.
Our route allows for gentle acclimatisation with plenty of rest stops, giving you the chance to comfortably explore and savour every nook and cranny of the magnificent region.
Find out more
Date & Prices
For private trips or bespoke itineraries inc. different dates, please contact the 360 office on 0207 1834 360.
Departure & Return
Price (excl. flight)
Price (incl. flight)
Start: 26 April 2020
End: 14 May 2020
Price without flights:
Price with flights: £2,925
Leader: Jo Bradshaw
26 April 2020
14 May 2020
Leader: Jo Bradshaw
Start: 23 October 2020
End: 10 November 2020
Price without flights:
Price with flights: £2,925
23 October 2020
10 November 2020
Start: 27 April 2021
End: 15 May 2021
Price without flights:
Price with flights: £2,925
27 April 2021
15 May 2021
- International & domestic flights plus taxes
- Local guides and a 360 guide (depending on group size)
- Sagarmatha National park fees
- Equipment & clothing for porters & local crew
- Accommodation in tea houses / lodges during trek
- Accommodation in Kathmandu sharing doubles or twins with breakfast
- Airport transfers
- All food whilst on trek and breakfast when city based
- Celebration meal
- 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor
- Monthly payment plan, on request
- Personal equipment
- Staff/guide gratuities
- Alcoholic beverages
- Trip Insurance
- Items of a personal nature; phone calls, laundry, room service, etc.
- Unscheduled hotels and restaurant meals
- Any additional costs associated with leaving the expedition early including any airline surcharges as a result of changing return airline tickets
Pics & Vids
DAY 1 : Depart UK
We most likely meet our guide for our trek at the airport. Depart London Heathrow in the evening.
DAY 2 : Kathmandu
Arrive Kathmandu mid-afternoon and transfer to hotel before soaking up some local colour . We’ll regroup in the evening for a full 360 brief and kit check from our guide.
DAY 3 : Lukla (2,800m) – Phakding (2,610m)
An early morning flight into Lukla, from where we begin our trek into the Khumbu region. The views from the plane are amazing, providing dramatic scenes of terraced hills and the distant Himalayan giants. After landing we meet our ground crew and begin a 3-4 hour trek to Phakding (2,610m), our night’s resting place.
DAY 4 : Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3,440m)
Walking through a beautiful pine forest, we follow the trail north up the valley of Benkar.
We trek along the banks of the Dudh Kosi, cross roaring rivers on exciting suspension bridges.
As we enter the Sagamartha National Park, we begin to climb with breathtaking views to Namche Bazaar, the gateway to the Khumbu region. After a full days trekking we rest for the night in Namche Bazaar.
DAY 5 : Acclimatization Day - Namche Bazaar (3,440m)
Today we rest and acclimatise in Namche Bazaar. Namche is the Sherpa capital and a bustling village crammed with markets and traditional Sherpa houses. We take an early morning hike to the Sherpa museum where we see views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse (the 4th highest peak in the world) and the beautiful Ama Dablam. The Sherpa Museum houses an exhibit of traditional Sherpa lifestyles and a fabulous photography display. The rest of the day is for private exploration of this enchanting place.
DAY 6 : Namche Bazaar to Phortse Thanga (3,680m)
We climb the Khumjung hill and descend to the east of the village down the broad valley leading to the Dudh Koshi from where the route turns north. We visit Mohang, the birthplace of the re-incarnated Lama of Rongbuk Monastery of Tibet who is believed to have introduced Buddhism in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The trail descends in a series of steep switchbacks down a sandy slope to the Dush Koshi. We stay overnight in Phortse Thanga, near the river.
DAY 7 : Phortse Thanga to Machhermo (4,470m)
From Phortse Thanga it is an uphill climb to Machhermo. We walk on a trail alongside a rhododendron forest and pass through a waterfall before reaching Tongba Village. We continue our uphill trek and pass through Dhole, Labarma and Luza villages before reaching Machhermo. There is a Chorten right before the Luza village. Throughout today’s journey we will be walking alongside the Dudh Koshi River. Overnight in Machhermo.
DAY 8 : Machhermo to Gokyo (4,800 m)
We begin today by climbing a ridge for an excellent view down the valley to Kangtaiga and also up towards Cho Oyu (8153 m). The valley now widens and we descend to the riverbank before climbing onto the terminal moraine of the Ngazumpa Glacier on a steep trail. Upon crossing an iron bridge over a stream, the trail levels out as it follows the valley past the first lake, known as Longpongo, at 4690 m. At the sight of the second lake, Taboche Tsho, we become mesmerized by the shimmering turquoise blue sheet of water sparkling in the sun. the third lake is linked by a surging strem. Gokyo village stands by the third lake and Cho-Oyu Mountain as a backdrop sets an amazing spectacular view. After lunch, we explore around the third lake, Dudh Pokhari. Overnight in Gokyo.
DAY 9 : Gokyo Valley: Acclimatization Day - Optional Hike to 5th Lake: 6-7 hours
We can spend this day taking a rest in the Gokyo Valley or hike to some additional lakes – Thonak Tsho and Ngozumba Tsho.
If we want to, we can climb a hill, also called the Scoundrel’s Viewpoint, which is located at the edge of Ngozumba Tsho. From here we get astounding views of Cho-Oyu, Gyachung Kang, Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Makulu mountains. From here, we also see the Cho Oyu base camp. Another treat for us is the view of the biggest glacier of the world- the Ngozumba Glacier.
We trek back to Gokyo and spend the night.
DAY 10 : Gokyo to Thagnak (4750 m)
Today we can climb Gokyo Ri. Climbing to the top is fairly demanding (3-4 hours), but the scenery of Gokyo village, on the edge of third lake overlooked by Cholatse and the broad Nogzumpa Glacier, is magnificent. We are surrounded by panoramic mountains like Kusum Kanguru, Thamserku, Kangtega, Taboche, Cholatse, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Everest, Changtse, and Pumori. The sight of sunrays kissing Everest which towers over all the surrounding peaks is astounding. We trek through the Ngazumpa Glacier to the mountain on the other side. Next, traverse along the edge of that mountain and then meander into Thagnak. It will be a short hike today with an afternoon of rest which will prepare us for long hiking days and elevation gain to come.
DAY 11 : Thagnak to Cho La Pass (5,367m)
Today is going to be one of the toughest days of the trip. The Cho La pass is not itself difficult, but the terrain is steep and includes a glacier traverse on the eastern side.
We are rewarded at the top of the pass with an array of prayer flags and spectacular views – the pyramidal Ama Dablam, Cholatse, Lobuche East and Baruntse.
We need to pass through some broken terrain before we reach Dzongla Village. The village provides great views of these mountains along with the Pheriche Village far below.
DAY 12 : Dzongla to Lobuche (4940 m)
This will be a very short trek so we have a lot time to relax and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. We climb down from Dzongla and walk through a grassy trail while enjoying the view of Lobuche Peak. The trail curves through the wide river bed before reaching Lobuche. We can spend the rest of day taking a rest which will help us prepare for the next day’s long trek. Overnight in Lobuche.
DAY 13 : Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5,170 m/16,961ft), visit Everest Base Camp (5,364 m)
We take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once vast Gorak Shep Lake. The walk is strenuous due to thin air in the high altitude. We pass through rocky dunes, moraine and streams before reaching the Everest Base Camp and a sea of tents.
Nuptse, Khumbuste and Pumori are the mountains we can view from the base camp. We get back to Gorak Shep for a good night’s rest. Overnight in Gorak Shep.
DAY 14 : Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar (5,545m/18,192ft) to Pherice (4,288m)
From Gorak Shep we ascend the non-technical Kala Patthar (5,550m) and are rewarded for our efforts by unbeatable views. From this lofty perch we can clearly see the summit of Mount Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. This is simply an amazing panorama and we’ll allow ample time to savour the rewards of your efforts. Well worth the early morning start!
After returning to Gorak Shep for lunch, the afternoon is taken to descend down to Pheriche for a good night’s rest.
DAY 15 : Pheriche to Namche Bazaar (3400m)
We trek down through the hillside blanketed by rhododendron and juniper trees. After crossing the prayer-flag festooned bridge over the Dudh Koshi River, our trail follows the Dudh Koshi gorge descending rapidly through pine forests. In the forest, we may come across colorful pheasants and mountain goats. The path eventually reaches Sansa from where we can enjoy views of Ama Dablam, Thamserku and Nuptse mountains. We also pass winding trails then through a forest before reaching Namche Bazaar. Luxuries such as the internet and coffee houses await. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
DAY 16 : Namche Bazaar to Lukla (2,800m)
Today brings us back to Lukla which will seem like a thriving metropolis after our time in the mountains. Time to celebrate our efforts.
DAY 17 : Fly to Kathmandu
Return to Kathmandu on the earliest flight. Spend the day recovering and getting some fascinating souvenirs before an amazing celebration meal.
DAY 18 : Kathmandu
City tour and day in Kathmandu.
We visit the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous ‘Monkey Temple’ (Swayambhunath) and Buddhist shrine (Bouddhanath), which is also one of the largest stupas in the world.
Possible night flight departing around 21:00 arriving back in the UK on Day 19.
DAY 19 : Arrive UK
Possible day flight to UK (previous night’s accommodation included) or arrive after overnight flight.
These are subject to minor changes depending on flight arrival and departure times, weather, group dynamics and fitness and so on, but the itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the trek and what you will experience.
Bags & Packs
A 80-120L duffel bag to transport kit. A duffel bag is a strong, soft, weather resistant bag without wheels but with functional straps for carrying. Suitcases and wheeled bags are not suitable
Approx. 40L capacity. Your day to day pack that you carry with your daily essentials, fitted with shoulder straps and importantly a waist belt
Waterproof rucksack cover
To protect rucksack from rain
Nylon rolltop bags that keep fresh clothing and other important items like passports and iPods dry in the event of a total downpour that seeps into your kitbag. Good for quarantining old socks.
Please note that many countries are now banning plastic bags. We would always advise buying re-usable nylon rolltop bags for keeping your kit dry (and sustainability).
Small kit bag or light bag
This is for any kit you intend to leave at the hotel and could even simply be a heavy duty plastic bag
For use on your kit bag for travel and on the expedition plus your hotel bag
4 Season sleeping bag
You should get a sleeping bag rated to -20C and choose a sleeping bag that functions within the comfort rating of this temperature. A silk sleeping bag liner will enhance this rating on the coldest nights
Sleeping bag liner
Silk is best for keeping the bag clean and you a little warmer
This can be a warm hat, beanie, balaclava, anything to reduce the heat loss from your head
Wide brimmed hat
Keeps the sun off exposed areas like ears and the nape of the neck
Category 4 minimum. Worth spending money on good UV filters. Julbo is our preferred supplier
Buy the highest SPF you can find as UV intensifies with altitude
Sun cream will not work on your lips and they are very susceptible to burn without proper protection
This is the layer closest to the skin and its principal function is to draw (wick) moisture and sweat away from the skin. You can also get thermal base layers for use at higher altitudes that provide an additional insulative layer while still drawing sweat during times of high exertion
These are typically lightweight microfleeces or similar technology that provide varying degrees of warmth and insulation without being overly bulky or heavy to pack
Optional – A great low volume additional layer to keep your core warm, whether down, primaloft or fleece
Light insulated jacket
A lighter jacket such as a Primaloft or lightweight down which can be worn at lower to mid altitudes is a great addition to your kit offering greater flexibility with layering
Soft Shell (optional)
Optional – These should be windproof (not all are) and insulative. They are mostly made of soft polyester and sometimes resemble a neoprene finish which makes them very mobile and comfortable to wear. While offering a degree of weather repellence, they are not waterproof
These jackets are thin, highly waterproof and windproof and worn over all other items of clothing. You’ll find these made of Gore-Tex or other proprietary waterproof yet breathable technology. Inexpensive hard shells that aren’t breathable will prevent evaporation, making you sweat intensely and are not recommended
Generally made using feathers, these are the ultra-warm and insulated layer that are used when sitting in the tea houses or in extremely cold environments. Those with a windproof outer fabric will provide the best insulation. Ask advice in the shop (or from us) when buying the jacket and mention you want it rated to -25C and the assistant will recommend the correct fill for you
Consider liners or a light polartec pair for lower altitudes and evenings, and a thicker waterproof pair like ski gloves for higher altitudes
Down mitts & waterproof mitts
Essential for higher altitudes and cold temperatures. To be worn with a liner glove underneath and waterproof & windproof layer over the top.
These tend to be polyester so they dry quickly after a shower and weigh little in your pack. Consider perhaps a pair with detachable lower legs as an alternative to shorts
Windproof or thermal lined trekking trousers for higher altitudes and the summit phase. Thermal leggings can still be worn underneath if necessary
Thermal insulation for the lower body
Like the jacket, an essential piece of kit to stay dry and should also be Goretex
Merino or wicking material, not cotton. How many pairs you take is entirely up to you
Well worn in 4 season waterproof boots with mid to high ankle support
For evening use and to give your feet a break once we reach the lodges
Start with lighter socks lower down, working up to thicker pairs for higher up as it gets colder. Some people like a clean pair every day, others are happy to change every other day – that’s a personal choice
Just in case
3L equivalent – Camelbaks are useful at lower altitudes but have a tendency to freeze up at higher altitudes without insulation tubes, Nalgene bottles are better at altitude. We suggest a combination of a 2L bladder and 1L bottle or 2 x ½L bottles to put in your jacket for summit night
Although generally all water is boiled some prefer to double up and add purification tabs as well. Always good to have in your bag
Keep it simple on the mountain. Essentials are toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Moisturiser is advisable, everything else is a luxury!
Travel towels from the likes of Lifesystems are perfect
Preferably biodegradable, these are great for washing when modern shower facilities become a thing of the past
A must have for good camp hygiene
For early stages and once back down
Provided on the mountain but a spare in your daysack may be useful if you need to hide behind a rock between lodges
Nappy sacks or dog poo bags
Only needed to bag your toilet paper if you are caught short in between camps and for keeping your rubbish tidy in your tent
Personal first aid kit
The 360 med kits are designed to be used in emergencies and akin to an A&E rather than a pharmacy on Expeditions so please come prepared with useful meds for yourself such as painkillers (Ibuprofen if you can take it and a Paracetamol) plus blister plasters, plasters, antiseptic, rehydration sachets and any muscle rubs you wish to use.
Keep this in your daysack
We recommend Petzl head torches. Bring spare batteries.
These tend to be a personal preference but help with your stability and can dampen the pressure on the knees coming down hill
Bring plenty of spare batteries and memory cards
You will be fed very well and given snacks each day however we advise bringing a small selection as a little bit of comfort. Extra snacks can be bought en-route if needed. Energy gels and protein bars are not suitable
iPod, book, Kindle etc.
Copy of passport
Just in case
Passport photos x 4
You will need this for visas and other bureaucratic impediments. For Himalayan countries a copy of your passport photo is needed for your expedition permit
Granted on arrival, it costs $50 USD for 1 month stay, $ 90 USD for 3 month stay; subject to change, you will need one passport photo to staple to your visa application upon arrival
Dental check up
We recommend you have a dental check-up before your trip. New fillings can be an issue at altitude if there is an air pocket left in the gap
We recommend you take at least US$200-$300 onto the mountain in small denominations. This will allow for c. $160 tip money plus any extras such as satellite phone calls and emergency funds. Small denominations are recommended as it may be difficult to obtain change and it will be easier to divide tip money
Copy of own travel insurance details. And relevant contact numbers.
We have a partnership with True Traveller and would recommend that you contact them when looking for travel insurance for your trip with 360. However, it is vital that you ensure that the insurance cover they offer is suitable for you, taking your personal circumstances (items to be insured, cancellation cover, medical history) into account. Many other insurance providers are available and we do recommend that you shop around to get the best cover for you on the expedition you are undertaking.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip. To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.
What information can you give on Nepal?
Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is located in the Himalayas with a population of approximately 27 million. Bordered to the north by the China, and to the south, east, and west by India and across the Himalayas lies the Tibet. A monarchy throughout most of its history, Nepal was ruled by the Shah dynasty of kings from 1768, when Prithvi Narayan Shah unified its many small kingdoms. However, a decade-long Civil War by the Communist Party of Nepal and several weeks of mass protests by all major political parties led to elections for a constituent assembly in May 2008 which overwhelmingly favored the abdication of the Nepali monarch Gyanendra Shah and the establishment of a federal multiparty representative democratic republic.
Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and the country’s largest city. Kathmandu Valley itself has estimated population of 5 million. Nepal has a rich geography. The mountainous north has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali. It contains more than 240 peaks over 6,096 m above sea level. The fertile and humid south is heavily urbanized.
How would you describe the Sherpa people?
The Sherpa people are the predominant ethnic group living in the eastern Himalayan region of Nepal. In 2001 there were approximately 150,000 Sherpas in Nepal. Their language is a variant of Tibetan. Sherpas belong to the Nyingmapa, the “Red Hat Sect” of Tibetan Buddhism. Allegedly the oldest Buddhist sect in Tibet, it emphasizes mysticism and local deities shared by the pre-Buddhist Bon religion, which has shamanic elements, in addition to Buddha and the great Buddhist divinities. The Sherpa also believe in numerous gods and demons who are believed to inhabit every mountain, cave, and forest. These have to be worshiped or appeased through ancient practices that have been woven into the fabric of Buddhist ritual life. Indeed, it is almost impossible to distinguish between Bon practices and Buddhism.
Sherpas are highly regarded as elite mountaineers. They were immeasurably valuable to early explorers of the Himalayas, serving as guides at the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region, particularly for expeditions to climb Mt. Everest. Today, Sherpa is a term often used casually to refer to almost any guide or porter hired for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas. Sherpas are renowned in the international climbing and mountaineering community for their hardiness, expertise, and experience at high altitudes. It has been speculated that a portion of the Sherpas’ climbing ability is the result of a genetic adaptation to living in high altitudes.
Where do I meet my Leader?
Your guide will generally meet you at the airport. At the check-in desk look for someone wearing a 360 logo.
Food and Water
What is the food like on the mountain?
We stay in lodges known locally as tea houses and these have basic kitchens. Apart from generators there is no electricity in the Khumbu region and the food is usually cooked on big stoves and ovens fuelled by wood or yak dung. Despite this the range of food produced is fantastic and the menus are very comprehensive. The majority of the meals focus on fuelling the hungry trekker by providing plenty of carbohydrates. Pastas, rice based dishes, spring rolls and pizzas are the staples. Every single ingredient is brought up either on a yak or by a porter and as such the menus get a little simpler as you get to the higher lodges. Most of our midday meals are also eaten at trailside restaurants and are usually accompanied by a hot drink or two. On top of well-balanced meals clients are provided with coffee, tea and snacks upon arrival into the lodge and at all mealtimes. Clients are invited to bring along any of their favourite snacks and goodie bags from home as buying additional snacks from the lodges can be expensive. Concentrate on high energy foodstuffs such as Jelly Babies to give you that little boost on an arduous day.
I have food allergies, can these be catered for?
Absolutely, please inform the office of any allergies or intolerances and we will ensure that these are taken into account on the trek.
Where does the drinking water come from?
For the first days bottled drinking water will be used (up to Namche Bazaar). At the higher lodges we will use locally sourced drinking water from streams or springs. These are usually fresh being topped up from melt water above or by rainfall but we also increase their purity by treating the water with purification tablets and by boiling it. We always ensure that our drinking water is 100% bug free.
How often is fresh water available for replenishing during the day?
Before leaving the lodge in the morning you will fill your water bottles or camel bladder. If this runs low you will have ample more water to replace it with. For most walking days water can be replenished at the lunch time site.
What kind of accommodation is there on the trek?
The teahouses vary in their quality and style depending on their location. Generally they have a communal room downstairs, with one or two bedrooms above them. Some have shower facilities, some will just have a stand pipe, and there are shared toilet facilities. They use a type of wood burning stove in the main communal area. Other rooms are generally unheated.
There are no facilities for changing money in the teahouses. We recommend that you organise sufficient cash in Kathmandu, your local guide can advise on this.
There is electricity in many of the teahouses at lower altitudes, but not when you get higher and the teahouses become more basic. A top tip for making your batteries last a little longer is to put them in the inside pocket of your coat or under your pillow at night. Cooler temperatures drain battery life so keeping them warm will ensure they last longer.
Will I have my own room?
Most altitude related symptoms manifest themselves at night. We therefore recommend room sharing from the onset of all our expeditions. Room share is always organised according to sex and where possible age groups. Obviously if you are climbing this mountain with a friend or partner then share rooms with them. If you have joined the team by yourself then it is highly likely that you will be sharing a room with your pre-assigned room buddy unless prior arrangements have been made.
Health and Safety
What happens if there is a problem on the trek?
All our guides are in communication with each other by phone and radio. In addition the national operates a rescue service. This service is linked by radio to the park headquarters. In the vast majority of cases of emergency rescue the problems can be attributed to altitude and if so the solution is immediate descent to lower altitudes. Our local mountain crew are all experienced in dealing with any problem that might arise. Our guides are either doctors or hold the highest standard of wilderness first aid qualifications and can handle any emergency to the highest level of competency, rarely requiring national park assistance.
Am I likely to suffer from altitude sickness on this expedition?
There are different types of altitude sickness. Although our acclimatisation regime ensures that everybody enjoys the best possible chance of getting high on the mountain, altitude related problems can happen.
The most common of this is high altitude sickness, (AMS -Acute Mountain Sickness)
Symptoms for this generally include:
It all sounds quite dramatic but generally this is just the process your body naturally goes through to adjust to the higher altitudes and the reduced partial pressure of the atmosphere.
For some people the acclimatisation process is a little longer and harder than others. For our guides this is all part and parcel of trekking at relatively high altitude and ascending a 6,000m peak and although we asses each client’s personal situation carefully we also further consider the compounding affects of dehydration brought on by excessive vomiting and lack of appetite.
AMS might sound frightening but our guides are fully trained (and experienced) in helping relieve your symptoms and providing advice on how to best proceed.
We don’t recommend using Diamox as a prophylactic and if you have been prescribed it by your GP, please raise this with your expedition leader.
What can I do to help prevent AMS?
In most cases AMS can be avoided by following guidelines:
- Drink lots of water
- Walk slowly
- Stay warm
- Eat well
We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the various affects that altitude can cause. During your pre-climb briefing, we describe altitude sickness to you in detail, and advise you how to cope with it.
The most important thing is not to fear it, but to respect it and to know how to deal with it and more importantly tell your guides how you feel.
Our guides have seen every condition that can occur on this trek, and they will always know how to deal with problems.
Is there a risk of getting HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) on the mountain?
HACE and HAPE rarely occur on this trek and our guides are fully trained in recognition of the onset of these problems and will deal with them at the first sign of their development.
What happens if I am unable to summit due to ill-health or altitude sickness?
Unfortunately people can get ill on the mountain. Your expedition leader is constantly monitoring your health and should you get ill with either altitude sickness or any other illness he will be discussing your options with you from an early stage. Should it become apparent that you are unlikely to be able to summit (without it being a life-threatening situation requiring a medivac) you will be turned around accompanied by one of our experienced Sherpas at all times until the group rejoins you. As this is outside the itinerary you would need to meet any additional costs incurred as a result, and that is why we insist on travel insurance.
Do I need to take Malarial drugs?
The Malaria protozoa generally do not survive over an altitude of 1,500m so once we have started the trek malaria poses no threat. (Lukla is at 2,700m). When visiting the lowland regions of Nepal or going to India it may be advisable to seek advice about if and when to take the malarial prophylactics. When visiting these places the chances of contracting malaria can be reduced by standard precautions such as sleeping under mosquito nets, applying insect repellent and wearing long sleeve shirts and trousers.
We advocate you visit your local doctor before departure to get the latest advice, MASTA Travel Health clinics, or many larger local hospitals have travel clinics.
You advocate taking a small first aid kit, what should it have in it?
We advocate a little bit of self-help on the trek. If you have a blister developing for example then please stop take off your boot and treat it before it becomes a problem.
Your own first aid kit should contain: A basic blister kit, plasters, antiseptic, sun-protection, your own personal medication (sometimes your porter might get to camp after you and if he is carrying your medication you may not be able to take it according to the regime you are used to), basic pain relief (aspirin and Ibuprofen,) a personal course of antibiotics if prone to illness etc. Foot powder in your socks every morning is great for preventing blisters.
Generally the best approach packing your first aid kit is to include such basic medications as if you would on a family or personal holiday.
Your 360 expedition leader and/or a local porter (we call the ambulance man!) carries a very comprehensive first aid kit which contains a wide range of supplies and medications. They are fully trained to use whatever is needed for any emergency that may arise. We advocate keeping this in mind when packing your own first aid supplies and keeping your own FA kit as compact and light as possible.
What vaccinations do I need?
The following vaccinations are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
This list is not absolute and it is important you should see your GP Surgery or travel clinic for latest recommendations and to ensure you are up to date on necessary vaccinations.
What clothing should I wear on the mountain?
We advocate the beg, steal and borrow principle for first timers, instead of buying brand new stuff that may never get used again. The cost of equipment is usually a major deterrent for people coming onto trips in the first place.
Kathmandu has hundreds of gear stores selling stuff at very cheap prices. A majority of them sell imitation clothes and equipment but 360 Expeditions guides will be on hand to show you the shops selling the good quality stuff.
Our guides usually start the walk wearing long, lightweight trekking trousers and T-shirts. Long trousers are recommended as a deterrent to insects, stinging plants and to act as sun protection.
Shorts can also be worn on the initial few days of the trek as the temperature is usually warm. Ensure that you apply sunprotection frequently, or buy a once a day product such as P20 if you’re not very good at remembering to apply it. Sunglasses are worn for most of the trek as well as suitable sunhats.
The prevailing conditions on the mountain will dictate what you will wear: if it is cold when you leave the camp in the morning then wear your fleece. As things warm up take advantage of the zipper system which most trekking clothing has – open and close the zips to adjust to your own preferred temperature. If you get too warm then take a layer off.
Waterproofs: are needed on hand at all times. It is not unusual to be caught out in an afternoon rainstorm low down on the trek. Waterproofs should be Goretex material or similar.
What clothing should I wear on the mountain during Summit day?
As we gain altitude it gets cold and daytime temperatures of -10 to -15 C are not unusual. On summit day it can get really cold and temperatures of -20C are not unusual.
Typically our guides wear 2 sets of base layers (long johns), a thick fleece layer (top and bottom) and then on the legs waterproofs whilst on the upper torso a down jacket is worn. As the wind picks up near the summit ridge our guides will put on their windproof layer to ward of the wind chill. On their hands they’ll wear a thin layer of fleece working gloves over the top of which a thicker set of “ski gloves” or mittens is worn.
Their heads are covered by a thermal “beanie” hat or a thick balaclava and the hood of their down jackets. On their feet the guides wear one pair of thin socks and one pair of thick.
On Kala Patthar summit day these are used as an invaluable windshield to protect you against the effect of wind chill when a strong wind blows.
What is the best type of footwear to use?
Because of the huge variety of terrain encountered when doing this trek it is very important to wear the right footwear. Boots should be sturdy, waterproof, insulated against cold temperatures and offer adequate ankle support. In addition it is highly recommended that your boots are well worn in to prevent the formation of blisters. A wide range of suitable boots are on the market and further advice as to which brand names are available can be found online or at your local gear store. When in-store try lots of boots on, use the ramps in the shops to test their traction, make sure they are comfortable as you will be almost living in them for days on end and they are very important.
To do this trek it is not necessary to buy technical boots with crampon clips as crampons are not used at any time unless you plan to progress to bigger things.
What clothing and footwear is appropriate when staying in the Tea houses and lodges?
There is no electricity above Lukla and lodges are heated by a pot-bellied stove fuelled with either wood or yak dung. These provide adequate warmth for the dining rooms but are not connected to the bedrooms. A thick fleece or light down jacket provides adequate warmth for inside the buildings. For footwear we suggest using either trainers (sneakers) or crocs. It is nice to get out of your trekking boots and to have something light to wear for the evenings.
How much will my pack weigh during the trek?
A daysack is worn by the climber at all times during the trek. The content of this is mandatory and should include: a fleece (for when taking breaks or weather changes); a full set (top and bottom) of waterproofs; sufficient water for the day; snacks; camera equipment; personal medication and a head torch.
Your day-to-day rucksack will weigh no more then 3 – 4 kilo’s and a rucksack of around 40L capacity will more than suffice. This rucksack can be filled to the brim with extra stuff when you check in at the airport. Our guides put their down jackets or a thick fleece and a pair of mountain socks in this bag to free up space in their hold luggage.
It is important that your day sack has an adjustable waist belt to transfer the weight of your daily load onto your hips and from here onto your legs (strongest muscles) to do most of the carrying. Another handy feature would be a compartment in which to fit a Platypus / Camelbak.
What do the porters carry? What is the correct porter weight?
Your porter bags should be of a soft material duffel bag or at a push a rucksack variety and should not be a suitcase or hardbodied metal case. Furthermore they should weigh around 15 kg when packed for the trekking phase of the trek. We have found this weight to be ample and usually everybody can plan to take only enough clothes and equipment needed for the mountain. Please bear in mind that on top of your load, porters will also have to carry a share of the food, kitchen equipment, camping equipment and their own survival gear.
Inside the porter bag should be a change of clothing, your clothing for higher up the mountain, a sleeping mat (thermarest), sleeping-bag, personal toiletries etc. (see equipment/clothing list). Also take a pair of light footwear to wear at camp at night (crocs etc.) and consider bringing a book or playing cards.
Are down jackets necessary?
They are highly recommended and are worth their weight in gold on summit day. Our guides wear them every evening above Namche Bazaar.
A layer system comprising of several layer of base layers, fleeces, jumpers and a thick coat will just about suffice on the climb but nothing beats the efficiency of a good down jacket (especially when topped with a water proof layer).
How warm does my sleeping bag need to be?
Sleeping bags should be rated within the -15C comfort zone. From the first camp upwards it is not unusual to experience frosty nights and a good nights sleep is important to give you the best chance to climb this mountain. Ensure you get a sleeping bag that has this temperature rating at this comfort zone rather then as its extreme zone.
Our guides take sleeping bags rated to well below -20C to ensure that they are warm at night. A 3 season sleeping bag can be enhanced by using an inner silk or fleece bag (or similar). The idea is to be as comfortable and warm as possible for the night and henceforth to ensure plenty of sleep for the arduous days ahead.
It is important to remember that down sleeping bags work by your own body heating the down that’s inside the bag. Once you have warmed up the bag the down will retain the heat and ensure that you sleep at a temperature that’s your own body temperature. For best results it is best to wear as little as possible when inside your sleeping bag. Our guides will often only wear a set of thermals in their bag. It is important for the bag to trap the heat. By wearing multiple layers of clothing your clothing will trap this heat and your bag will not function properly.
What clothing is suitable for when we come back from the mountain?
Kathmandu is at a relatively low altitude and daytime temperatures are warm. When in Rome do as the Romans. Shorts and T-shirts are fine to wear during the course of the day. Evening wear generally tends to be casual with long trousers and casual shirt appropriate for all hotels and restaurants. Nepalese are generally quite conservative in their dress code and are generally well dressed despite their situation in life. Your town and party clothes can be left in a safe lock up at the hotel and do not need to be taken up the mountain.
What other gear will I need?
Please review the equipment list. While all items are required there may be times when some of the items on the gear list may not be used (such as warm weather or changing conditions).
Is it possible to rent equipment before I go?
It is also possible to hire clothing and equipment before you leave from our partners Outdoor Hire (www.outdoorhire.co.uk) where 360 Expeditions has a 6,000m peak kit list set up and you can pick and choose hire items from this. We recommend that you buy your own boots which are worn in prior to the trek.
How out of my comfort zone will I be?
On a day to day level remember that you will be hunkered down in lodges at altitude. You are likely to be cold, washing and toilet facilities will be limited and basic, along with your accommodation. Your appetite may be affected by the altitude and as you get higher on the trek you are likely to suffer shortness of breath and many people experience difficulty sleeping. Remember that everyone on the trek is likely to be experiencing exactly the same symptoms, physical and mental.
Can I contact the others on the climb? How about the guide?
You can always call our offices and one of our guides will contact you to discuss any aspects of the expedition. Generally about 1 month before your trip departure we mail a list of other team members to you.
What is the best time of year to trek to Base Camp?
The optimal climbing seasons are late March through to early June when the daytime temperatures are the warmest and there is a reduced cloud cover. Late September through to December is also good as the daytime conditions are generally cooler but still clear.
How cold can it get?
The temperature at the top of the Kala Patthar can vary widely. Sometimes it is only a degree or two below freezing, but climbers should be prepared for possible temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, especially in conjunction with wind chill. On the trek expect cold mornings (sometimes frosty). An afternoon rainstorm is not unusual at the lower altitudes.
Do I need to book my own flights to Nepal?
360 Expeditions will be booking flights on your behalf. We provide confirmation of flight times and departure terminal approximately eight weeks before your departure date. Please be aware that flight schedules are subject to change. Please ensure that you have checked flight details before setting out for your flight.
Do I need special travel insurance for the trek?
You must carry individual travel insurance to take part in the expedition. We cannot take you on the mountain without proof of insurance.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip. To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.
Your insurance details are requested on the booking form, however this can be arranged at a later date. 360 Expeditions will be requesting your insurance details 8 weeks before your departure.
Entry into Country
My passport runs out 3 months after the trek, is this OK?
Your passport should be valid for 6 months after the date the trek starts. If it runs out before you may be refused entry. It is also advisable to have a couple of photocopies of your passport in case of loss.
Do I need a visa for Nepal?
Visas are compulsory for entry into Nepal for all foreign nationals. Although these can be acquired relatively easily at the border (Kathmandu international airport and all land borders) for a fee of $40 USD, we recommend that you contact your nearest Nepali embassy to avoid queuing, unnecessary delays and potential clearance issues.
Embassy of Nepal in the UK
12A Kensington Palace Gardens
London, W8 4QU
Tel: 0207 229 1594 /0207 229 6231 / 0207 229 5352
How fit do I need to be for this expedition?
Trekkers are expected to be in good physical condition. The better your physical shape the more you will be able to handle the demands of trekking to Base Camp. Having a good level of fitness will allow you to enjoy the expedition all the better and increase your chances of reaching the summit of Kala Patthar.
Any tips on how a trekker can maximise their chances of success?
The 360 training programs have been devised to be expedition specific. Use these as a guide but also feel free to contact us for individual advice on how to best incorporate the best suitable fitness program with your own lifestyle.
The idea is to increase the intensity of the exercise over 4 to 6 months before you leave for the expedition. Concentrate on cardiovascular work-outs during the initial weeks by taking short runs when time allows and try to spend at least 2 weekends a month going on long duration walks (longer than 6 hrs) carrying a rucksack of around 10kg. As you get stronger increase this rate of exercise and the duration by walking every weekend and running 5km every second day.
A focused regime will not only prepare your body for carrying minor loads but will harden your body against the big days on the mountain itself. In addition the weekend walks will help break in your boots and get you used to your equipment. In combination this will pay dividends when you reach Nepal because even though you can’t train for altitude your body will be ready for arduous days and you will be familiar with how to best use your equipment.
When is the money due for this expedition? What kind of payment do you accept?
Generally speaking deposits are due upon booking to secure your place as we need to book the international flights well in advance. The full amount should be paid 4 months prior to departure. However having said this our aim is to get you to the top of Kala Patthar and we understand that everyone’s personal financial situations can vary.
Please contact our friendly office crew to discuss a suitable payment plan should you find raising the funds to be difficult. We have been in your shoes and go by the motto of where there’s a will there’s a way.
What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Please read our terms and conditions careful before you depart. 360 Expeditions highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions. Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits we must adhere to a stringent refund policy.
How much do we tip our local crew?
Our local crew work extremely hard to ensure that your expedition runs well. Although tipping is not compulsory once someone sees how hard the crew works and realises the minimal amount of money they get paid relative to us, tipping will seem the least they can do to say thank you. As a general rule we suggest around $160 per client for the entire local crew to be shared amongst them. For the leader this is your call.
Money: am I correct in thinking we only need to take US Dollars with us?
US dollars are readily recognised and are easily converted to the local currency. Upon arrival there will always be a bureau de change at the airport. These provide a better rate of exchange than your hotel. Buying gifts or small goods such as drinks or snacks with small denomination US dollars is not a problem. Getting change for a $20 bill when buying a $1 coke will be a problem. Larger bills are good for tipping your porters at the end of the expedition and a sufficient amount should be carried with you. Your 360 leader will remind you in the pre-expedition brief of the correct amount to take on the trip with you.
What additional spending money will we need?
The amount of money you will need depends on how many presents you wish to buy or how much you have to drink when you come off the hill. As a basic rule of thumb $250 should be more than adequate for any post expedition spending. Nepal is a relatively cheap place and when indulging in the local custom of haggling goods can be bought for very good value for money. Your 360 leader will be happy to point out the relative bargains and the suitable prices and where to get the best value for money. The only cash you’ll need to consider taking with you on the mountain is the local crew tips which are presented to them before we leave Lukla (see above) and for any additional snacks and soft drinks you wish to purchase from the Lodges encountered en route. Additional supplies can be quite expensive though as all this is brought in by porters.
Do we need a travel adaptor for the plug sockets in the hotel or are they the same as UK?
The voltage is 220v / 50Hz like the UK. Rectangular or round three-pin plugs are used. It is possible to recharge your electronic items and batteries for a small cost at all the lodges.