How do I get started in the Karakoram/Himalaya Range?

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kevin trieu

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How do I get started in the Karakoram/Himalaya Range?

by kevin trieu » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:35 pm

To the folks that have climbed internationally in the Karakoram/Himalaya Range, do you have a second to share on how you got started? Do you just have friends that climb in the Ranges or did you join a commericial expedition? Do you have any recommendations on how I can get on an expedition or where I go to look for one? I can make the time, committed to training and financial able to join an expedition. I don't want a guided climb, maybe a team that provides logistics & support. I'm more than willing to be a camp slave, putting in the work and set up fixed lines and all that good stuff. I've climbed with friends internationally in Mexico, Russia, committed to a trip to Peru in June, and my longest expedition was only 14 days on Denali, which is also the highest altitude I've been to. What's my next step in getting myself to the Karakoram and/or Himalayas?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


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by Roger » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:38 am

Hi Kevin

So many to choose from though these guys at Project Himalaya have been in the region for quite some time and are well set up
Send an email to Jamie McGuinness at

Besides fantastic treks these guys do 8000m mountains, see their links at Project Himalaya

Cheers Roger

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by radson » Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:11 am

Hey Kevin

I just got back from my wedding, hence why I havent replied to your email.

I second Roger's recommendation with Project Himalaya but I guess there are two avenues to which you can pursue climbing in the higher ranges.

Some have rocked up in Kathmandu and started climbing the trekking peaks and making contacts along the way. Others like myself have joined, semi-guided trips where, there is a main guide, but there is no-one with you all the way..if that makes sense.

Project Himalaya/Altitude Junkies, Summitclimb, Field Touring Alpine, DCXP, IMG plus numerous others all provide logistsics and permits for climbing. For additional fee, one can obtain additional services, like personal sherpa personal guide etc, oxygen etc. Depending on your comfort level, many people prefer to go with a Nepali company, to save costs. As a gross generalization, nepalis are usually stronger, with better organising of local logisitics. westerners on the other hand better in co-coordinating rescue (with international insurance etc) and understanding western clients concerns.

I'm always recommending alan arnette's site for some great information. You can see how Alan progressed from mountain to mountain and he rates his experiences with some of the expedition companies.

Just be aware, most of the 'guides' for these companies (I think IMG , the exception) are not certified guides in the European or North American sense. To the best of my knowledge Jamie McGuiness, Phil Crampton, Dan Mazur etc have an incredible amount of experience but are not 'certified'. Personally, this does not worry me in the least but North Americans and Europeans seem to sometimes be more concerned about this.

Hope this helps a bit. You may want to email some of the companies mentioned to get a feel for how they operate or alternately, start looking at Island Peak, Lobuche, Chulu West etc in Kathmandu, which you can do very independently. I have never been to Pakistan , so I cant offer and advice there.

Best of luck.

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kevin trieu

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by kevin trieu » Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:23 pm

Hey Roger,

Thanks for the info.


Congrats on tying the knot. I forgot about Alan Arnette's site. I think I have most of the gear he has two thumbs up on. That's a good start. :D


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by brandon » Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:54 pm

Hey Kevin,

It's hard planning, and staying flexible helps. I bailed on the high Pakistan trip this year (too expensive for me), but I'm organizing for India in the fall. Just got invited to Afghanistan in June, but that's too sketchy for me.

You've gone on enough trips to organize an expedition yourself. Permits, and local porters and transportation may be the crux of the trip rather than the climbing. If you're lucky, you can do all the organizing in your 'downtime' at work.

It's taken me 8 years of expedtions to get to the point where others ask me to go, rather than me begging partners.

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by BigLee » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:38 am

Take a look at Kyrgyzstan as no permits are required and the likes of the Pamir are fairly accessible. There's even some good (smaller) mountains immediately south of the capital Bishkek. The hardest thing about trying to execute long climbing trips to the greater ranges is finding people with the time available.

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