The splendid freedom and serenity of the vast, white planes in alpine
climbing is a total opposite to the work you need to put in before you
get there. Letís talk Nepal Ministry and Administration. Even though the
Ministry actually acts pleasantly towards climbers, you will still face
the Asian bureaucracy and culture of numerous people wanting a piece of
the cake when organizing your expedition in Nepal.
Thatís why it is essential to work with a local Trekking Agency. They
will provide you with the papers and get you the appointments necessary.
an expedition leader you will file for a permit through the agency. Do
it well in time (preferably 6 months prior to the expedition), enclose a
passport copy, passport pictures and a Letter of Recommendation from
your local Alpine Association/Climbing club.
If you are a leader, the association also needs you to specify that
you will be appropriate for that position. Here is an example of an
alpine club recommendation letter:
Letter of recommendation
............(your country) Climbing Association has been asked to
write a letter of recommendation for
Mr/Ms.....................(your name) that is planning to climb
Mount Everest in the spring of 2000.
.................(your country) Climbing Association is pleased to
recommend this climber, who is, to our knowledge, an experienced
mountaineer with previous experience from high altitude
He/she have experience as
a leader of earlier high altitude expeditions and will be, to our
knowledge, suitable as an expedition leader."
Signed and dated
Now, what do THEY know about YOU? Climbing is a free world and
everybody is his or her own judge. Consequently, climbers are sometimes
reluctant to ask complete strangers in some climbing association to
verify their skills. Donít worry about it. Let the Alpine Association
simply know what youíve climbed before and/or the courses youíve
attended. State all your climbs, not just the ones youíve summited.
Everything counts for experience.
Once in Kathmandu, you will file additional papers and have a half-hour
briefing with the minister or his associates.
They will mainly talk to you about climbing sensibly and to care for the
Another briefing - far tougher - youíll face when visiting with a
certain Ms Hawley. This lady has collected data on Everest climbing
since the beginning of time. She is a very important person to Everest
climbing history and to all the climbers. She has met them all and heard
it all. Try to fool this Judge Judy of Everest and you are out on your
Donít bother to try to find her, sheíll find YOU.
will have you fill out some papers, mostly regarding data for the bank
of climbing facts that she has built up over the years. Fear her only if
you are not being truthful. Otherwise, sheíll become a valuable friend,
providing interesting information on the ongoing climbs around the
Himalayas. What this Reuters correspondent doesnít know is not worth
knowing. Pay her proper respect. She is the only anchor we have in this
land of Himalayan Wild West.
If you are an expedition leader, you will have to fill up a minimum
of 7 spaces on a climbing permit and collect the permit money from the
other climbers on your permit. You will pay the lot to the Ministry upon
arriving in Kathmandu.
Remember to collect the money from your fellow climbers in time
(at least 2 months prior to the climb) so you donít end up with empty
spaces! Nepalese bank accounts can be a real hassle. You could try the
trekking agency's own preferred bank - we just bring it all in
If you are not setting up the entire permit, check with your trekking
agency for spaces on others permits, or get together with climbers on
this siteís "climbers personals".
The expedition will need to put up an environment
security of around US 4000. The money will be returned when the
expedition has brought back the trash and empty oxygen bottles. Should
you lose a bottle on the mountain, bring down an old one.
oxygen bottles are not the main pollution concern on Everest. They have
instead become quite valuable and popular Everest "antiques".
Itís better to take down the old plastic food wrappings and other
stuff that nobody wants. How about collecting some old cans, pieces of
ripped tents and food wrapping for a historical climbing Everest Art
Display? If you have the time and are fit, that could be cool. Look
after your sherpas at all times - their loads are heavy and without the
right guidelines, they could get tempted to leave stuff behind. State
your point by not littering yourself to begin with.
The expedition must pay a Liaison Officer who will spend some time in
your camp (usually in the sherpa quarters). The liaison officers are
there to check that everyone in BC is at least somewhat civilized to
only need to pay for a film permit if you are doing a commercial film,
shooting private video is free. The agency will specify the costs for
all of the above services. You will also usually pay sherpas additional
bonuses after the climb for summiting and/or a job well done. Surf the
net for various agencies and get offers from several to compare costs.
Donít necessarily go for the cheapest. Be wise.