Please note you will be mailed a set of Team Reference Notes upon registration. This extensive booklet includes detailed information to assist in the planning of your trip; from travel and medical advice to equipment lists and photography tips. The following is to serve as a helpful guideline but please feel free to call or e-mail if you have any further questions. Our team is here to help!
Is Adventure Consultants right for me?
- How long has Adventure Consultants been in operation?
Adventure Consultants started in 1990 and we have been guiding internationally ever since.
- It seems that a few outfitters ‘claim’ to have the same level of experience and prestige with that of Adventure Consultants. In this league, what do you think makes you a first choice for your climbers?
Most operators will claim they are of the same ilk as us and in our promotion we are not able (or really wanting to) outline our competitor's shortcomings.
If there is one way to highlight the difference here's just one example: on every commercially led expedition on the mountain in 2006 and since, there were quite a few serious frostbite cases and many people are now without fingers and toes. Why, it was not because the weather was any worse on most of the days that we went to the summit, but mostly because the climbers had only Sherpa support and did not have the mentoring and supervision of the experienced western guides as on our expedition. The guides are there to assist the climbers on our trips and I can guarantee that now those people who have had fingers and toes amputated recognize that they would rather have kept them! Most of our expedition members are rather spent when they get back from the summit day and the guides are there to ensure you get the food and fluids you need and the necessary hydration. The guides meanwhile are cognizant on the ascent and descent and our experience at altitude allows us to focus on your well being.
Food, Accommodation and Facilities
- What showers and washing (clothes) will be available on the trek?
You should not come on our trips and expect a shower each day, but we do offer shower facilities on all our treks and expeditions; these will be made available as often as possible. We advise people to bring wet-wipes for the impromptu wash in between available showers. In Nepal most of the days in Base Camp start with a 'hot towel' delivered to your tent or dining table. Hot water is sometimes available to wash clothes, and in places lodges provide a laundry service for a small fee.
- Would you let us know what food will be available?
If you have any special treat you like, we encourage you to bring some along. You’ll get breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks, and ample hot and cold drinks. We can cater for vegetarian as well as many other special diets as long as we are informed of this prior to the trip. All of our expeditions provide excellent local and western food! Our food is rated so highly that our guides are frequently seen chasing guides and clients from other expeditions out of our mess tents!
- What is the food like?
Our well-trained cooks prepare high quality ‘western’ food as well as popular local dishes. Please indicate any specific dietary requirements you may have on your application form. We are happy to accommodate for those with specific diets.
- What are the lodges like? Can I have my own room?
Through our local agents we book tidy, clean, modern lodges. They are well known locations to us and we have a good relationship with the lodge owners. We can book private rooms for you if you like, at an added cost. Our standard trips are based on shared rooms, usually twin share and sometimes triple share.
- What is the best way to get to Nepal? From US? UK? Australia/NZ?
Most airlines fly direct to Bangkok from North America, Europe and Australia/NZ. From there Thai Airways fly direct to Kathmandu once a day. Silk Air (Singapore Airlines) also has a daily flight and there are flights via Doha, Delhi and Hong Kong to Kathmandu.
- Do I need to arrive the day before the trip starts? And when should I book my flight to leave?
No, our trip programmes all have an arrival day and a departure day built into them. You are welcome, and encouraged, to arrive a bit earlier to explore your arrival and departure city if you have the time.
- My travel agent says I can just get an ‘e’ ticket (electronic ticket) and will not need to be actually issued a physical ticket.
'E' tickets are the standard practice these days and are now acceptable in Kathmandu. Do ensure you print your itinerary and have your booking number with you, as this allows our local agents to assist with changing your return flight plans if need be, while you are in the mountains.
- When should I book my ticket?
Generally we ask you to wait until 90 days prior to your trip start date to ensure your trip has met the minimum numbers and will operate. If you see a good deal and want to book your flights then ensure you can make changes to your tickets or you run the risk of losing your ticket if we do have to cancel the trip. In such situations we are usually able to help you book on to an alternate departure, either with us or another operator.
- Can I get a cheap ticket online?
The problem with these tickets is that you usually end up having to pay quite a lot more if you have to make any changes to your ticket. Some of the places we go to aren't straightforward, and we highly recommend using a travel agent for such travel as there are many intricacies that they can help you with. In the long run they save you money! We use professional travel agents for all our staff and guides' travel bookings to our expedition and trek destinations.
- Where do we meet? Will I be picked up?
Our International expeditions generally originate in the particular country's main airport. An Adventure Consultants guide or agent will be there to pick you up off your flight on the scheduled arrival date. If you are arriving before the scheduled trip start date, we can often make arrangements for a pick up, though taking a taxi is generally the easiest form of transport before your trip starts.
- What if I am arriving early or departing late?
Adventure Consultants can make reservations for you and can often make recommendations for attractions you can enjoy while waiting for your trip to begin. Please let our office know your specific plans.
Clothing and Equipment
- Do you have a recommended list of clothing we should bring?
Yes, you will get be sent a personal clothing and equipment list once our office has received your trip registration form and deposit.
- Do I really need all the equipment on the equipment list?
Yes, these lists have been carefully prepared. Please bring everything on the list!
- How warm do we need our sleeping bags to be? Will there be extra blankets available if required?
This will be clearly stated in your recommended gear list. It will depend on where you are going, but in general you will need a sleeping bag warm enough for you in conditions that can be as cold as freezing. Blankets are generally not available so pay careful attention to what bag we recommend. We suggest buying a sleeping bag big enough to allow you to wear some clothes in if it is especially cold. Sleeping in a warm hat can greatly improve a bag's warmth.
- What are supergaiters? And where can I buy them?
Supergaiters have a rubber rand which fits snugly over your plastic boot, for protection from crampon damage. The uppers are lined insulation and most have convenient front zips. These are not available in NZ, but are available in Australia, the USA and the UK. We suggest doing an internet search for “supergaiters” and finding your nearest supplier. Our equipment coordinator can provide advice on where to obtain.
Acclimitisation and Oxygen
- Will there be any oxygen carried on the trek? Is this included in our trek fee?
Most of our expeditions take oxygen as a medical backup. We also take PAC chambers with us (Personal Altitude Chamber). A trekker or climber with mountain sickness is placed inside the PAC chamber and it is inflated around them. It increases the air pressure and any altitude related illness is usually immediately fixed. The climber then feels better and can usually walk down to lower elevations to recover.
- Will an altitude tent be carried or available during the trek?
Yes, this is a PAC bag mentioned above.
- What altitude medication will be available on the trek? Do we need to take tablets before/ during the trek?
All our guides carry extensive medical kits and some of our bigger expeditions even have their own doctor. You need to bring any medications you regularly use (don’t forget to tell us about them) plus extra. Also bring a small first aid kit including a blister kit and mild headache medication for the normal altitude headaches.
- Do you prefer using original or refilled Piosk bottles?
We use only new Poisk bottles on summit day and refills for sleeping and C3-C4.
2. What sort of O2 masks do you use?
We use Topout masks and regulators and now have all our Sherpas, Guides and climbers using Topout 's new mask design.
What is the oxygen bottle size?
We use 3 and 4 litre bottles.
When going for the Max Ox option, how many litres/bottles of O2 are we talking about in total?
The exact number of each depends on tent configuration often but last year each member on Max Ox had 16 bottles allocated to them which also included a spare back up day on south col in case a rest day is called prior to the summit attempt. This does not take into account the many bottles that are needed to also sustain the Sherpas and guides who are supporting the Max Ox climbers.
Guides, Sherpas and Expedition Team Members
- How many guides/ Sherpas will be assigned to our group?
Ratios of Trekkers/Climbers to Western guides is stated on each trip’s web page in the downloadable ‘trip notes’. Sherpa guides are assigned depending on the size of the group and type of trek or expedition.
- How much weight can we carry on the trek?
You will carry your day pack with warm clothes, water, snacks, sun block, camera and whatever else you need for the day. Generally it will be light, 5 to 10kgs (10 to 20 pounds)
- Who goes on your trips?
Our climbers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, countries and skill levels. From those seeking skill development, to those seeking assistance with the world's highest mountains or purely adventure, we provide courses, expeditions, treks and guided ascents for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts.
- I would like to arrange a private trip, is this possible?
Adventure Consultants are happy to arrange a private group trip to the destination of your choice and we have run many successful private trips and expeditions including summits of 8000m peaks such as Manaslu and Kanchenjunga, all Seven Summits and remote destinations such as Antarctica. There is no specific group size, but obviously larger groups are more cost effective.
- Some climbers actually say that very little guiding is done above 8000m. In fact, it all comes down to logistics and sherpa support. Given this information, it would sound reasonable to opt for a "sherpa-guided" option, instead of the more expensive (and prestigious) expeditions which also provide a Western guide. Based on this statement, how do you feel that a traditional guided expedition can add value?
In addition to the guides on summit day, we also offer a lot of training on the build up to the summit attempt and last year helped motivate some climbers to be successful when they had felt like pulling out due to some minor issues. Our food is legendary and can not be underestimated as a requisite to having a successful summit opportunity. We have the best cooks and lots of imported food and fresh vegetables and meats transported regularly up the valley to our basecamp to ensure you get the very best in cuisine that can be offered at basecamp. In summary I believe that our standards are higher than the other operators after experiencing our basecamp facilities and food even before you get to the mountain! On the mountain there is more, we have a brilliant set up at camp 2 with cooks permanently positioned to look after us and great food available there too. We even have a heater at camp 2!
Yes, many people are not able to ‘guide’ above 8000m, this is true! That is the difference with our operation and that we are able to support members on summit day that much better. Our guides are comfortable at this elevation rather than operating at their limit.
We get enquiries from people who were on Sherpa assisted trips and have to go back as they had oxygen problems at south summit and had to come down! In 1995 Guy Cotter carried a woman who had collapsed on the south summit down to the balcony so the Sherpas could carry her from there. The Sherpas we work with are amongst the best in the business, of the seven I summited with last year there were 29 ascents between them and the combination of our skills makes us a great team on the mountain with a great deal of experience and strength. The ‘Sherpa only’ options that some operators offer have had some success on a good day, but what happens when things go wrong? They do not have a great knowledge of first aid and are often reticent to get ‘involved’ when things do go wrong and this is where strong leadership is necessary. The guides also spend effort on giving each person encouragement on how to overcome the myriad of small but debilitating issues that can make the difference between getting up or not.
We also are the only expedition on Everest who takes our own dedicated doctor who is there primarily to look after the climbers and Sherpas. Every other expedition uses a common doctor service available in basecamp so any cold or stomach bug has a congregating point to be then passed to everyone else! This alone makes a huge difference to helping you on your climbing trip. We also have a base camp manager who looks after the camp requirements and the communications equipment. If you think you are going to need a lot of communications time then we can set up a system just for you. Some people want this to ensure they stay on top of their work commitments.
Health and Fitness
- What kind of physical condition should I be in?
We invite you to check out our Fitness Training for Expeditions page and recommend checking with your physician before embarking on strenuous physical activity. For our treks, you should be comfortable walking for 4-6 hours with a light pack. Walking an hour a day, then 4-6 hours on the weekends is generally a good realistic training programme.
Communication and Electronic Devices
- Will there be any access to a satellite phone? If yes then what would be the charges for usage?
Yes, most of our expedition guides take sateliite phones and you are welcome to use these at US$3 to $4 per minute depending on the region. Sending and receiving e-mails is also possible on some of our expeditions.
- I want to contact my friend or relative, who is on one of your trips, how can I reach them?
Many of our climbs send daily internet dispatches, and we receive updates from our guides while they are in the field. The best place to reach a loved one is through our office.
- Will there be any power source for charging batteries, etc available throughout the trek? What voltage requirements?
We take solar panels and sometimes battery power packs on our treks and expeditions. Our first priority is to charge our computers, satellite phones and expedition electrical equipment. There is usually enough power to then charge your personal electrical equipment. If your equipment has a cigarette lighter type car charger, bring that and you can plug it in to charge. We do NOT recommend bringing rechargeable digital cameras, they tend to run out when power is not available. Use cameras with replaceable batteries and we recommend lithium batteries. We can cater for special power requirements at an extra cost - please enquire with our office. Many of the lodges also have power available with typical Asian plugs (two nail like horizontal prongs) and they have battery recharging systems and pricing on offer.
- What weather report service do you use? How often do you receive a weather report in the summit bid phase?
We use Bracknell and Swiss forecasts and many online weather forecasting tools.
- What insurance do we need to get?
You need general travel insurance and trip cancellation insurance, as well as rescue insurance. Read your policy's fine print to make sure it covers you for trekking or climbing, depending on what trip you have booked, and that it covers you for helicopter evacuation.
- Do I need evacuation insurance?
Yes, it is very important. Many of our expeditions are in remote places with no roads and third world medical services. In the unlikely event you get sick, you want to get to good medical care ASAP.
- Who do you recommend for insurance?
Bupa International Health Insurance (IHI) is a Danish insurance company that has insured people of all nationalities for more than 30 years for rescue insurance. There are no restrictions on hazardous sports or occupations.
Bupa International Health Insurance
Ph: +45 3315 3099
Fax: +45 33 32 25 60
IHI do not currently cover Antarctic or Greenland for rescue insurance and are now reviewing each climbing cover request on an individual basis.
Another excellent company whom we recommend is Global Rescue:
Global Rescue LLC
177 Milk St. STE 700
Boston, MA 02109, USA
Ph: +1-617-830-2802, 800-381-9754
- What is Trip Cancellation Insurance?
Trip cancellation insurance is an option that may allow you to cancel your trip without losing the total cost of the trip. Adventure Consultants highly recommends cancellation insurance for all of our trips, including our courses. If circumstances cause us to cancel a trip (minimum numbers are not reached or travel to a country becomes too dangeous) then we refund your fees paid but trip cancellation insurance covers your airfare and any other costs you may have incurred.
Fees and Payments
- Can I pay by credit card?
We can accept the trip deposit payment on credit card, and we add a 3% fee to accept the balance payment by credit card for your trip. Please contact our office or visit our secure credit card page to send us your credit card details - your card is not charged at the time as we process this here in our office and not via an online payment system.
- What is included in the cost of my trip? Does it include airfare?
Each specific trip page on the website has a downloadable pdf document with exactly what is and what is not included on the trip. International airfares are not included in the trip price. We can however recommend excellent travel agents whom we have worked with in your country should you require help with arranging your international airfare.
- Why are you sometimes more expensive than other operators?
Many of our trips are very similar in price to our competitors. Some companies even wait for us to set our prices and use ours as a guideline!! Some of our main selling points, which sometimes do cost more, are; Internationally qualified Western Guides, proven dependable local operators, small groups sizes and safe client:guide ratios, quality equipment and high summit success rates, among other things. You do get what you pay for which is why we stand out from the rest. Many clients come to us after failing on one of our competitors ‘cheaper’ trips.
- How do I sign up for a trip?
The best way to reserve your space on a trip is to call our offices or complete our online booking form. Return this with the trip deposit either through a telegraphic transfer (information is on our trip notes downloaded from the specific trip page) or by using our secure credit card page. Phone our New Zealand head office on +643 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:30pm PST + 19 hours) or Freephone 1-866-757-8722 from North America.
- I love the photographs in your brochure and on your website, are they for sale?
Yes, our images are available for licensing or purchase.
- What is the best film for photography in Alpine environments?
There is an extensive section in our reference notes, which are sent out on receipt of your trip registration form and deposit, explaining about photography in the mountains.
Remember photos are wonderful records of your expedition but keep camera gear simple and light to best enjoy the trip you are on. Disposable and digital cameras are the lightest weight, but all cameras have maintenance issues that need to be carefully considered before bringing them to high elevations.
- What about the Maoists in Nepal?
Of major international interest in Nepal is the Maoist problem which partly crippled the economy of the country for the past decade. Now the Maoists have formed part of the Nepalese government, there is a comprehensive peace agreement now in place and we hope the troubles of the past are put behind the Nepalese people. Our sources in Nepal keep us up to date with the political situation and if there are significant changes we will be sure to advise you. Throughout all the years of the Maoist issues in Nepal there has never been a threat to tourists and travelers visiting Nepal and we have continued operating there without a break.
- I want to become a mountain guide, where do I start?
Those with limited experience generally start by taking an alpine climbing course and then go out and climb for a few years. You generally should have at least 5 years of climbing and/or teaching/guiding experience. You need avalanche and medical training and then you can apply to do a NZ Mountain Guides Course or the equivalent in your country, aligned with the IFMGA. Check the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association web pages for a complete description. http://www.nzmga.org.nz/