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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 Difficulty

Typical day

Evacuations

Safety

Responsible Tourism

Flights

Visa

Insurance

Vaccinations

Climate & terrain

Training

Training weekends

Luggage allowance & valuables

Leadership

Group Size

Clothing & equipment

Accommodation & toilets

Food & Drink

Money

Phone and WiFi

Level of Difficulty

The Everest Basecamp challenge is graded as extreme.  "Extreme" challenges will involve altitude, and a great deal of endurance. These trips are not to be taken lightly, and will take place in extreme environments, without home comforts. They are usually undertaken by someone with previous experience in a mountain setting, but who wants to take their experience to the next level physically and mentally. Training is essential to ensure you are suitably prepared for the challenge. 

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. You can tell your supporters that on your Everest Basecamp Challenge you will be:

  • Trekking for 12 days consecutively, without access to showers or proper washing facilities
  • Trekking at altitudes of up to almost 6000m
  • Suffering temperatures of down to below zero degrees
  • Camping each night in locations with very basic facilities

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 camps near lodges, where the food and facilities are fairly simple.

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 Kathmandu.  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.

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 Everest Basecamp Challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You will be trekking for 12 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
  • You will be using a domestic airline to fly in and out of Lukla, and as of 05th December 2013, the EU banned Nepalese airlines from operating in EU airspace. We recommend that you read the FCO's travel advice for Nepal to read more about air safety in Nepal before you travel.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment.

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 Charity Challenge t-shirt.

Internal flights

Please note the flight to Lukla can be subject to delay or cancellation due to weather conditions. The itinerary is put together with a number of acclimatisation/rest days so that if your flight were delayed for up to three days, you should still be able to complete the challenge. If flights are unable to take off after three days, we would implement an alternative Himalayan trekking itinerary.  Your challenge leader will have the final say over how any delay impacts the order of the itinerary based on the time available, the strength of the group, weather conditions on the mountain.

The welfare and safety of all our participants and crew is our number one priority and we only use the safest airlines.  In the event of delays we will continue to apply our stringent safety standards and rearrange alternative flights on these same airlines; your patience will be appreciated as this may be at odds with other travellers who may not adhere to the same standards which we will not compromise!  

If your flight back from Lukla to Kathmandu at the end of the itinerary is delayed, we will aim to get you back to Kathmandu as soon as the right flights are operational.  However, this may mean that you miss your international connection and we will do everything we can to help you reschedule your flight at the earliest opportunity.

Visa

You do require a visa to enter Nepal and must have an original passport with at least 6 months validity.  We will send you further advice at 3 months prior to your departure.  For all other visa infomation please go to the Nepalese Embassy Website http://www.nepembassy.org.uk/tourist-visa/

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.

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.

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS Government website ‘Fit for Travel’ at: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspxb

Malaria precautions are essential in all areas below 1200m, all year round. The risk in Kathmandu and mountainous areas of similar or greater altitude is very small. Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable anti-malarial tablets

Climate & 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.

Training

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). Also see our Fitness Training page.

Training weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends not only help you become physically prepared for the challenge, but our experienced instructors and leaders will talk you through your clothing and equipment, camp craft, health and wellbeing, trekking skills (walking on different terrain/at altitude/at night/using walking poles), teamwork on expedition and many more themes designed to make you get the most out of your challenge. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, including dates and prices, check out our dedicated page.

Luggage allowance & valuables

On your international flight your luggage allowance is 23kg.  You may want to take clothes with you for Kathmandu buit do not wish to take on the trek so you are able to leave them at the hotel and pick them up on your return to the hotel at the end of your challenge.  

On the internal flight Kathmandu to Lukla and return your luggage allowance is 15kg, including hand luggage.  This is also the weight allowance that the porters are able to carry on the mountain.  Whilst trekking the yaks will transport your personal kit to the next camp so you will only need to carry you daypack.

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.

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).

Clothing & 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.

Accommodation & 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; when camping in the evening a long drop will be dug and a toilet tent provided for privacy.  The facilites will be very basic.

Food & Drink

The food in Kathmandu is varied. During the trek the food will be cooked on kerosene stoves by our kitchen team and will be simple. Most of the food will be carried from Kathmandu. Only seasonal vegetables and fresh meats are bought along the way where available. Boiled drinking water will be provided 3 times per day. 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.

Phone and WiFi

There is increasingly better wifi and phone signal a long the trek and in the Tea houses, but perhaps take the opportunity to take a break from the electronic world and concetrate on the beauty of nature.

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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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