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independent climbing in the Khumbu

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independent climbing in the Khumbu

Postby Archm » Fri May 18, 2012 10:30 pm

Hey All,

Just a quick question, two of us thinking of heading to nepal next april for a 6000m peak. We have both been on a few commercial trips to other 6000mer peaks in the past few years, (one being Island peak). We want to go back to climb a 6000m peak independently, we are considering Lobuche or one of similar difficulty. Anyone with and experience or advice with problems and costs etc involved in doing it on your own? Would it be easier to use a local company to organize logistics etc or do it all yourself?

Thanks in advance
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Re: independent climbing in the Khumbu

Postby Damien Gildea » Fri May 18, 2012 10:48 pm

Best to use a local agent to organise the basics - permit, deposits, sirdar, flights etc. You could get them to pre-arrange the porters, or if you're starting from Lukla you could do it on the spot. It would partly depend when you go and how much time you have. I haven't been to the Khumbu, but on my last Nepal trip I found having the agent pre-arrange porters was not more expensive, and significantly less hassle, than doing it myself - which I have done a few times, in Nepal and elsewhere.

I'm guessing if you went to Lobuche in April there is a good chance there would be other teams on the hill, easing any routefinding problems (!). This year Everest teams used it as acclimatisation and camped up on it. Note that most people don't go to the main summit, stopping before a notch. I would find this annoying. Obviously Mera Peak would be an easy choice, and have teams on it, but others like Kyajo Ri (from the south) and Parchamo might worth a look and should be familiar to agents, making them easier to organise. Cholatse is now an official Trekking Peak too. My last trip to Nepal, for an unclimbed 6000er, the agent and Ministry officials had to go look up where it was. Because ...

There are a number of 'Expedition Peaks' that, if they are under 6500m, thus requiring no Liaison Officer, and depending what season you go, are actually cheaper and less hassle than the official 'Trekking Peaks' (which require you hire a Sirdar/guide) - but not many people realise this. Some of these peaks are even unclimbed (not in the Khumbu, in other areas), but they are slowly getting picked off in recent years by people aware of the situation. I had a laugh with my agent (Tendy at IceLand Trekking) that it was cheaper for us to attempt an unclimbed 6400m peak and walk out through Mustang than it was to go just trekking in Mustang for two weeks. It's a bit silly, but such is the Nepal bureaucracy.

In that vein, one of the hassles of doing these trips yourself is things like trying to get your garbage deposit back. Commercial trips just factor the cost into the price they charge you and most never notice it. In theory it doesn't cost you anything, the $500 is just a deposit, but it might cost you a day or more of hassling in KTM to get it back. The agent probably won't do it for you as their margins on these kind of DIY trips are too slim to do more than the minimum. They'll just charge you the costs - permit etc - and a service fee - maybe $100 each or so - for their legwork and that's it. The rest is up to you. They make their money off fully catered, guided trips, full packages.
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Re: independent climbing in the Khumbu

Postby Scott » Sat May 19, 2012 3:08 am

You could get them to pre-arrange the porters, or if you're starting from Lukla you could do it on the spot.


Not to hijack the thread, but can you do this if starting in Jiri or best to get arrange them in Kathmandu?
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Re: independent climbing in the Khumbu

Postby Archm » Sat May 19, 2012 7:55 pm

Thanks Damien, thats a very informative reply.

We were thinking along the same lines with regard to other teams being on lobuche/mera and the other popular trekking peaks, As this is our first time climbing independently, other teams on the mountain would be a bonus for us. Pachermo is also on the shortlist. Kyajo Ri is to difficult for us, this time round anyway!
We have a max of 18 days KTM-KTM and the fact we have been in the khumbu before, and being tight on time we were leaning towards going back there, as we are familiar with it. Time is tight but based on our last trip (13 days KTM to the top of island peak) were confident we can pull it off with 18 days.

Thanks again for the detailed reply
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Re: independent climbing in the Khumbu

Postby mosh » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:21 am

Cholatse might be a trekking peak but so is Kusum kanguru and they are extreme peaks. their inclusion in the trekking peaks list is odd.
Good luck with planning.
Have you thought about the Annapurna region (Chulu's, Pisang, etc) or Manaslu region?

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