Sat 13 Oct - Sat 27 Oct 2018

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Diffculty

Emergency evacuations

Insurance

Visa

Group size

Typical day

Accommodation and toilets

Climate and terrain

Clothing and equipment

Food & drink

Money

Safety

Flights

Luggage allowance and valuables

Vaccinations

Phone and WiFi

Leadership

Training and training weekends

Level of Diffculty

The Annapurna Base Camp challenge is graded as extreme due to the rough terrain, high altitude, and basic facilities. A good level of fitness and regular training is required for this challenge. The more prepared you are for this challenge, the more you will enjoy it. Anyone who leads a fairly active and moderately healthy lifestyle should be able to complete the trek as long as they train regularly over a period of at least three months leading up to it, so as to build up stamina and endurance. Don’t forget that the temperature and the altitudes will be very different from the UK and that you will be exercising constantly for a number of days.

Emergency evacuations

In the event of a medical emergency, depending on weather and service availability, an evacuation by helicopter may be the quickest and safest choice.  Your Challenge Leader and the Expedition Doctor will discuss this with you, with the final decision resting with the doctor.   

We appreciate that having to descend from the mountain will be a disappointment having trained and fundraised for the challenge, but the doctor will make the decision based on their professional assessment of your health and the impact of potentially continuing to ascend with lower levels of oxygen.  Your safety is, and always will be, Charity Challenge’s number one priority.

We will organise the logistics of the helicopter evacuation and in most cases, you would be taken to a hospital in Pokhara.  We will make the arrangements as quickly as possible to get you to safety, but it will be your responsibility to to cover the costs for the helicopter evacuation before leaving Nepal. Therefore Charity Challenge requires you to have access to a minimum of USD $8,000 (about £5,500) of available funds and we would highly recommend that you have sufficient funds on your credit card before you leave home.  Whilst Charity Challenge can initially open an insurance claim on your behalf, you will need to process a claim on your return home to recover any costs as a result of the evacuation. In order to process the claim further down the line, and as a minimum, insurance companies will require the helicopter invoice, a receipt of payment and a medical report from the doctor/hospital.  

Charity Challenge will help you make all necessary arrangements for your accommodation in Kathmandu, your return flight (if you return home earlier than the scheduled return date) and to advise you of the next steps depending on your particular situation.  Once again, you will need to pay for additional services and keep receipts in order to recover costs once you return home.

Some airlines may require a “Fit To Fly” certificate, especially if the medical emergency was as a result of an altitude related condition.  
Please refer to the Insurance tab for further information.

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge.

If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy. This should include protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure; the specific activities on your challenge including trekking at high altitude (up to 6000 meters); medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) specifically for this trip covering helicopter evacuation.

If you choose not to purchase the Charity Challenge recommended travel insurance policy when you book, we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

Visa

You must hold a full ten-year passport with at least six months to run from the end of your expedition. Airlines may not carry passengers holding passports with less than 6 months validity. You can download your visa application
form from the embassy website: http://www.nepembassy.org.uk/visa_information.html  The validity of visa dates are counted from the date of arrival in Nepal. You should apply about 12 weeks before departure for a single-entry tourist visa. Do not apply too early otherwise it will run out before you leave for Nepal.
It is valid for six months from the date of issue. We will send further visa advice at 3 months prior to departure.

Group size

Each Group is intended to be a minimum of 16 people in order to run and a maximum of approximately 30 people. We will be able to run this challenge for 10 to 15 people by charging a small group supplement of £75 which will be added to your final balance invoice (self-funders) or charged to your charity (minimum sponsorship or flexi).

Typical day

During the trekking days we rise early and pack up camp before breakfast, then trek carrying only daypacks for 6-8 hours. Lunch is prepared by the kitchen team and had on route in dining halls associated with the local tea houses; if it is possible then a picnic lunch will be provided. These stops will give you time to relax and view the
remarkable scenery. The trek zone is remote and rare flora and fauna will be seen. The evenings are spent in beautifully located lodges, where the food and facilities are fairly simple.
 

Accommodation and toilets

The hotel in Kathmandu will be three star and located at the centre of town. Rooms are usually en-suite. During the trek and outside Kathmandu, you will camp in two person tents nearby to tea-houses. For a small fee, you can charge electrical items at the tea-houses. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please let Charity Challenge know in advance.

Toilet facilites can be used in the teahouses on route.  The facilites will be very basic.

Climate and terrain

February-May is the tail end of the dry season and Base Camp can be around -10 to -7c in the early evening.
Late Sept/October – November is the start of the dry season and early evening temperatures are from -5 to -10c.

Early morning hours, when most climbers set out to climb, are very cold. During the day temperatures are warmer than these quoted, if the sun it out, but at night it will always be well below zero. You must be prepared for the worst, as mountain weather conditions can be extremely unpredictable.

The terrain is on uneven mountain paths with steep ascents and descents each day. You will also be crossing numerous swing bridges, and you should tell your leader if you have any fears of heights. The itinerary is built up in a way that we have allowed plenty of time for you to acclimatize to the altitude.

Clothing and equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, waterproof, well-worn in boots will be indispensable, particularly coupled with some really good quality walking socks. You don’t need a clean pair every day, but enough to make sure you
have dry socks each morning. The benefits of a comfortable day sack cannot be underestimated, so make sure that you train with this. Other essentials are high quality Gore-Tex waterproof and windproof jackets and trousers, technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts, and a down jacket for the evenings in camp and your summit day/night. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners The Outdoor Shop, Outdoorhire and Cotswold Outdoor.

 

Food & drink

Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

Money

Currency: Nepal uses the Nepalese rupee. This is a closed currency which means that you will not be able to find Nepalese rupees outside of Nepal. For up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com. British Pounds, Euros and USD can be exchange at Kathmandu airport and in the city.

Credit Cards: These are accepted in all major hotels, banks and stores in Kathmandu. In addition, if you need to be evacuated from the mountain the only method of evacuation on Everest is by helicopter. For this, you will need a credit card with a limit of $8000 in order to pay for the evacuation before being reimbursed by your travel insurance.
ATMs: ATMs are not always available and that when they are they do not always work. We would recommend that you exchange cash in the airport or use the ATMs there rather than relying on the city.
How much to bring: You will not need a large amount of money during this trip and other than at the start and end of the challenge, you will be in the mountains away from any foreign exchanges or banks. You will only need money for tips, additional food & drink, gifts & souvenirs, departure tax and for any other additional activities that you wish to do. On average we recommend around £250 and a credit card for emergencies as mentioned above.

Tipping: Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. You should only tip if you feel that you have received good service. We recommend approx. US$10 per person per challenge day and this should be given to the expedition leader at the end of the trip who will advise you how to distribute it among the support team at your final celebration in Lukla. NB: you may be approached by local porters at the airport. Their tips are not included; if you agree for them to take your bags to the transfer vehicle, please be prepared to tip them a small, nominal amount ($1). However, our team will be there to help you with baggage.

 

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of its participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. In a nutshell, Our Challenge Safe brand formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the
activity itself. Your welfare is paramount!

In terms of your Annapurna Base Challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You will be trekking for 9 days at high altitude, with its associated risks
  • Smoke alarms are not a legal requirement in Nepal, and as such much of the accommodation used will not have these in place. Your tour leader will explain the fire safety precautions to you.
  • Temperatures may go down to below zero at night and you should have adequate clothing to cope with this.

Flights

You will be making a return journey from London Heathrow indirectly to Kathmandu, Nepal. The flight takes approximately 16 hours. A copy of your e-ticket will be issued to you upon departure at the airport along with your luggage labels and a Charity Challenge t-shirt.

Luggage allowance and valuables

As no formal clothes are needed, luggage should be kept to the absolute minimum – details on what to pack are provided in your Kit List. Your rucksack (suitcases are not appropriate) must not exceed 15kgs in weight (due to restrictions on what your mountain porters can carry). You can leave any gear you wish to in your hotel in Pokhara while you trek. While trekking, yaks will transport your personal kit to the next camp, meaning that you will only have to carry a daypack.

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS Government website ‘Fit for Travel’ at: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-(east)/nepal.aspx

The risk of malaria is low in Nepal but please check with your doctor or nurse for the latest information.

Phone and WiFi

Apart from Kathmandu and Pokhara, there will be very limited phone and internet reception.

Leadership

We employ a number of first aid qualified challenge leaders, all of whom speak fluent English. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Training and training weekends

This challenge is graded ‘Extreme’, which means that a good level of fitness is definitely required! We recommend that you have significant experience of trekking within the UK before departure. Don’t forget that the temperature and the altitudes are different from the UK. While strength is important, endurance training should be your primary focus. Walking up hills and climbing stairs are both ways to condition your lower body. Begin slowly, without the weight of a pack, eventually adding weight as you increase your training pace. Take long hikes (6-8 hours) with a weighted pack, up and down hills or on small mountains (weigh your pack with water containers and pour out the water before your descent to minimise knee stress).

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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