“Only the unknown frightens men,. But once a man has faced the unknown, that terror becomes the known” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
A bit of history: Even though early records show mountaineering in Himalaya started as early as 1895, it is only after the first expedition to Mt. Everest in 1921 – the Himalayan mountains began to gain popularity among the world's mountaineer. Even though many attempts by English climbers to reach the summit of Mt. Everest was unsuccessful, in June 1950 French alpinists Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal reached the summit of 8061m. high Annapurna – marking the first successful ascent of the 14 eight thousand meter peaks above 8000m in height. On 29 May 1953, the summit of Mt. Everest was finally reached by Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay of Solukhumbu Nepal. Following the historic ascent of the world's highest mountain, there was a furious mountaineering activity in the Himalayan mountains and by 1960's all 8000m peaks were successfully climbed.
Seasons to climb: The pre-monsoon (Spring) and post monsoon (autumn) are good seasons for climbing in the Himalaya mountains. Spring is considered favorable season to climb Mt. Everest and 8000m peaks for the weather at this time of year turns cold to warmer as you climb. Owing to the dry Himalayan winters, there is less and more compact snow on mountain for ideal climbing condition. Climbing conditions are equally favorable both in post-monsoon and pre-monsoon seasons.
Climbs to choose and fixed departures: Windhorse Trekking offer full-scale mountaineering packages with fixed departures from Kathmandu to Everest 8848m/29028ft(both from the Tibet and Nepal side), 8000m peaks such as Dhaulagiri 8167m/26791ft , Makalu 8463m/27758ft , Cho-Oyu 8002m/26246ft , Shisapangma and popular peaks like Amadablam 6852m/22775ft., Kangtega 6782m/22147ft, Baruntse 7193m/23587ft and Gurja Himal 7300m/23945ft
“Trekking Peak Challenges”: Fixed departures are also available for the popular “Trekking Peaks” to Isaland Peak (Imja-tse) 6160m/ , Lobuche 6119m/ in Everest area, Mera 6476m/, in Hinku Hongu area, Pisang 6091m & Chulu Central 6410m/ in Manang area, Fluted Peak (Singu Chuli) 6501m in Annapurna Sanctuary area and Nyakhang (Ganjala Chuli) 5928m in Jugal Himal / Langtang area and Paldor in 5928m in Ganesh Himal area. Trekking peaks can be climbed ideally climbed with few days extension on your normal trekking program.
Climbing Courses: More to the expedition climbing, for those who with no mountaineering experiences, in association with Himalayan Guiding Institute, Nepal we offer mountaineering courses in which you will learn basic mountaineering skills adequate for an ascent of a “trekking peak”.
Choosing the climb with Windhorse: We believe we are among the best locally based adventure outfit for mountaineering service in the Himalaya mountains. Our knowledge of Himalayan mountaineering is extensive and we have organized / supported climbing expeditions to all fourteen 8000m peaks in the Himalaya & Karakoram. We provide prompt and accurate information before and make no compromises in providing services during the expedition. Being locally based, we take advantage of our local knowledge to offer best of the services possible while low administrative and overhead costs enable us to maintain quality services second to none. Our relationship with the sherpas and the base camp staff on the expedition is a very special one as is also based on family and social relations. We make sure they are respected and well paid for their jobs while the welfare of their family is not forgotten in hard times.
When you arrive for the trip: Upon your arrival at the Kathmandu's Tribhuwan International Airport, we pick you up and transfer to our private guest house Abode Himalaya. Abode Himalaya is about 5 kilometer NE of downtown Kathmandu near the stupa of Boudhanatha. As we will be prove all meals, camping and group climbing equipment you would need to take care of your personal climbing gear and clothing to pack for the flight.
Arriving in Kathmandu, you will meet with other climbers joining the climb, the sirdar (head sherpa) of the team, other climbing sherpas, the cook and other camp staff. Before, you would depart for base camp, you may visit some of Kathmandu's gear shop for last minute purchase or visit some of the interesting cultural sights.
Climbs in Nepal usually begin with a STOL flight or a minibus ride to the trail head. From the trail head depending on the location of the mountains it takes from a few days to a more than weeks walk to arrive at the base camp. In addition to fellow climbers, climbing sherpas, cook, camp staff you may also be accompanied by a liaison officer which is deputed by the Nepalese government who often doesn't make it to the base camp or return to Kathmandu after a few days litering at the bas camp, claiming sick (more appropriately home sick!)
At the base camp (BC): At the base camp we set up a permanent kitchen with cook and helpers, dining, kitchen, store, shower, toilet and an individual tents for sleeping. Solar panels and generators to generate power suppy to charge batteries and light the kitchen and dinning tents. At the BC you will also have satellite phone and internet connection for sending receiving emails at the base camp. High frequency short wave radios (walky-talkie) are used for exchanging communications between camps on the mountain.
At the base camp and also at the advance base camp (ABC), 3 meals prepared by our expert expedition chef along with ample hot and fresh beverages are provided. The menu for the meals include both Western, Nepalese and the local Sherpa / Tibetan dishes. Make sure you don't miss on the Sherpa specialty Rikikur (baked potato pancake) served with hot cottage yak cheese sauce!
On the mountain: On the mountain while climbing above BC and ABC, you will carry your personal gear as food, fuel, tents, oxygen and group climbing equipment will be taken care by your climbing sherpa team.. The sherpa team, most of them originating from the Upper Khumbu area (Mt. Everest ), will fix the route, set-up the camps, offer help in setting up your portable gas stove and fetching ice to prepare water for the freeze dried ready to eat meals – supplied both the vegetarian non vegetarian variety
Each climber in the team will be provided with individual sherpa support and adequate oxygen cylinders for an summit attempt. Depending to the conditions in the mountain, your sherpa team will offer services to best of their level for the success and the safety of your climb. As immediate rescue on the mountain is not available, to ensure the your safety during climbing, your sherpa support is also is entrusted with authority to make the final decision on your behalf at critical situations. As most of the objective accidents on the 8000m peaks occur on a summit day, sherpas on the team supporting you on the summit ascent will have adequate English language skill, previous summit experiences and physical, mental and moral training to deal with extensive summit day situations.
Emergency evacuation / medical kit: We provide a Gamow (portabel altitude chambger _PAC bag) usually stationed at ABC, and emergency oxygen at ABC and BC, plus full medical Rescue on the mountain is on the human back or in a stretcher. Helicopter rescue from or near BC is possible in Nepal. In Tibet, it will be a 4WD drive from base camp to the clinic and hospital in Kathmandu.
Environment protection: In Nepal and Tibet (China) rules and regulation governing the protection of the mountain environment is not forced strictly. So, we bring back and disposes all garbage the mountain including toilet waste from BC and ABC and make our best effort to bring back the used O2 cylinders and fuel cartouche, food packages, climbing material from the high camps.
Insurance & liability: Our insurance coverage include personal accident compensation, limited medical fee and emergency evacuation of the local staff only. Please check with the alpine club or mountaineering association / federation or insurance companies in your own country. Mountaineering is a dangerous activity and we take no liabilities for incidents / accidents in any of our climbing trips. Common sense are logics at the 'sea-level' has no realities up in the thin air.
Climbs is in Tibet: After arriving in Kathmandu, if your climb is in Tibet we will need a couple days to apply and obtain the Chinese visa and the Tibet travel permit. The Chinese embassy in Kathamandu is open for visa processing only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You would need to arrive in Kathmandu at least one day before these days for your visa. You would be not required to appear in person at the embassy. Except in special situation you will be issued with a group visa which not stamped in your passport. The group visa comes in sheet of paper with the list of trip participants name and other passport details. In situation that you would need to make an early return for home you will be given a copy of the group permit to checkout from the Chinese immigration at the border.