Manaslu Frequently Asked Questions
This information should answer many of your initial questions and also guide you through the next stages of preparing for the expedition. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Manaslu with IMG
Why should I climb Manaslu with IMG?
We know we're not the cheapest deal around, and we don't want to be. We spend more providing the best personnel, equipment, logistics and safety measures things that many lower-cost programs cannot afford and do not have. We don't cut corners. As you shop around, consider the following:
- IMG leaders are professionals and are great teachers as well as strong climbers. All have done numerous high-altitude expeditions, including the Himalaya. Our clients enjoy the immense benefit of a core group that has climbed together extensively, producing a team that knows how to work well together.
- IMG always complies with all local, state, federal, and international regulations for the countries in which we climb. This includes proper visas and climbing permits, full insurance and equipment for our employees and Sherpa support teams, and complete adherence to all environmental regulations. Our great safety record allows us to operate with full liability insurance. All client funds are deposited in a regulated trust account. We take our business seriously!
- IMG Base Camp is top-notch and our enthusiastic cooks do a great job and our menus are well considered. It makes a difference! Some of the amenities we offer include: a shower tent, a separate communications tent, individual tents at base camp, excellent base camp food which often includes fresh baked goods, sushi, and tempura by our trained cooks, western snack food, thick foam pads for sleeping, etc. We feel these small comforts go a long way in making our clients more at home at base camp and allow them to relax and focus on their climb.
- IMG itineraries are sufficiently long to allow enough time for a second attempt, if necessary. We know how to acclimatize properly, and we don't rush.
- IMG brings advanced technology to the mountain. All climber/sherpa teams will be issued a VHF walkie-talkie radio. Solar power at Base Camp quietly supports our satellite communications, allowing us to maintain excellent emergency contact capabilities and keep friends and family informed of our progress during the long weeks away from home. IMG will post regular internet dispatches and/or send regular email updates to keep friends and families appraised of the climber's progress.
- IMG provides its state-of-the-art proprietary oxygen system to every summit climber.
- IMG maintains a full team medical kit at base camp and bring appropriately sized kit up with us to higher camps so we can properly deal with medical situations should they arise. We supply a Gamow bag, pulse oximeter, and extra medical oxygen for emergencies.
What kind of guide support can I expect?
This expedition will be led by IMG's Phunuru Sherpa, a veteran of over a dozen summits on Everest and Lhotse and 19 Cho Oyu summits (the current world record). Joining Phunuru will be IMG guides from the USA and our top IMG Sherpa Guides from Nepal (at a 1:1 ratio to climbers). These are the same guides who staff our IMG Everest and Lhotse and Ama Dablam expeditions.
What if I would like extra support?
In addition to your climbing guide, we can arrange for you to have a personal Sherpa and 1800L of extra oxygen for the Manaslu Expedition, allowing you to begin oxygen at Camp 2 (when you move to Camp 3 on the summit bid). The cost will be $7,500 for this combination. Your personal Sherpa will assist with carrying your extra oxygen, helping you with some of your personal gear, and being a climbing partner who will have an extra set of eyes on you during your climb. If you anticipate wanting additional support during the expedition, this would be a good option for you. Please let us know if this is something you are interested in having during the expedition.
Travel and Insurance
- How do I get there?
What kind of insurance do I need?
IMG requires that all participants on Himalayan programs purchase Travel Insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation, repatriation and medical expenses for the duration of their IMG program. We strongly recommend that you add Trip Cancellation coverage to your policy to cover cancellation (before trip starts) or interruption (after trip starts). More information here: https://www.mountainguides.com/travel-insurance.shtml. Note on end dates: Please extend your coverage to the day you have returned to your home country, so your air travel is also covered.
If you need assistance with the various insurance options, contact Becky Kjorvestad in the IMG Office: 360-569-2609 or email email@example.com.
What kind of visa do I need?
Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the trip and have a minimum of two blank pages. Advanced visas are not required for entry into Nepal, you will simply get your visa on arrival at the airport in Kathmandu, where you will need to purchase a short-term Nepal tourist visa ($50 plus a 2" x 2" color passport photo). An example of what your photos should look like can be found here: in.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/photos/
Gear and Packing
What gear will I need?
The equipment list is meant to help you compile your personal gear for a high altitude climbing and trekking trip. Most items are required. Please consider each item carefully and be sure you understand the function of each piece of equipment before you substitute or delete items from your duffle. This list has been carefully compiled by Eric Simonson, the expedition organizer. Please don't cut corners on the quality of your gear.
How much of my gear will the Sherpas carry?
The Sherpas will carry a reasonable amount of your personal gear for you up to the camps. For example your sleeping bag, down suit, extra high altitude gear, some food and snacks, etc. You should not have to carry a big load at any time on the trip we want you to be able to move at a reasonable speed. You will need to carry with you the things you require during the day: clothes, snacks, water, camera, etc.
Is there a way to simulate what an oxygen mask will feel like?
We use both the Summit and the TopOut masks. Many climbers have asked about practicing at home with a mask. The TopOut mask is built on the 3M R-6311 Respirator body and doing workouts at home with the 3M mask will simulate some of the issues using oxygen. For climbers familiar with scuba diving, you will be reminded of the necessity to breathe easy and steady, don't pant, just focus on moving the air efficiently. Check how the 3M mask fits with your goggles. We have found that many climbers will use a Small or Medium size and people with big faces can use a Large size.
What food do I need to bring?
All meals on the climb and treks are included. You will be responsible for your bottled drinks and alcoholic beverages. You may want to bring powdered drink mixes for flavor in your water bottles. We recommend you bring a modest personal stash of your favorite trail and snack foods. There is a grocery store in Kathmandu near the hotel which has many snack items available (candy, crackers, nuts, etc). Not available in Kathmandu are things like Power Bars, Gu, or electrolyte replacement drink mix.
What's the best way to pack for the trip?
We usually carry a daypack/rucksack as carry-on luggage and check two lockable bags. One of those bags can stay at the hotel while climbing for storage of your travel clothes (it is OK to leave a bag with wheels at the hotel). The other bag will be used by the porters to carry your gear on the climb, and it should NOT have wheels. It does not have to be 100% waterproof, just stout nylon fabric is fine. You will want to put everything in plastic bags anyway, inside the duffel.
We suggest that you use a travel wallet that you can hang around your neck and place inside your shirt. This is a safer way to carry your money and travel documents. Leave expensive jewelry and watches at home. Experienced travelers will also carry a couple of extra passport photos with them as well as a photocopy of the first pages of your passport. These should be carried in a place separate from your passport. Having these available will greatly facilitate the replacement of your passport if you lose it. Carry a pen with you for completing travel forms. Get to the airport early and make sure your luggage gets checked through to the correct destination.
What is the policy on Leave No Trace?
IMG is committed to Leave No Trace. All human waste is properly disposed of and garbage is sorted into burnable and recyclables (taken back to Kathmandu). All gas cylinders are taken back to Nepal and recycled, and all oxygen cylinders are returned to the USA.
Money and Tips
How much money should I bring?
EXTRA MONEY TO BRING: As soon as you get to Kathmandu, you will need your Nepal visa fee ($50 for single entry 15 day visa) and then at the hotel we will collect your Sherpa tip pool contribution (climbers=$500, trekkers=$300).
In addition to the tip pool and visa, we suggest $2,500 more, plus a credit card. Better to have extra cash money and not need it than to need it and not have it! For your cash, bring new style bills (with the big faces) including some $10's and $20's. You can get a limited number of rupees each day in Kathmandu at a cash machine with your credit card, but you won't get dollars. You can change cash money into rupees at the hotel, and there are numerous money changer shops nearby.
NOTE: everybody checks your money for counterfeit and no one takes old bills (bring NEW style US bills, not old style). Merchants will often try to give you ripped bills (rupees) for change. Tell them you want an un-ripped one, otherwise you'll never be able to spend it. You will probably want to change $100 into rupees (get small bills) for spending in Kathmandu for food and gifts. It is difficult or impossible to get more money once the trip starts. Bring the rest of the money with you in case of emergency. If you have extra left over rupees at the end of the trip that are unspent, change them back before you leave Nepal, otherwise you will not be able to change them once you leave the country.
You will probably also want to bring a credit card too, but remember that you will likely get hit with 4% fees on foreign credit card purchases. If you plan to use your credit card, you should call your bank and let them know you will be traveling abroad, otherwise using it might trigger a fraud alert on your account which results in your card getting turned off.
How does the tip pool work?
We will collect for a tip pool, and ask the team members to please contribute $500. We will collect this in Kathmandu and distribute this on behalf of the team as a thank you gift to the many unsung people that make the whole operation run smoothly: the porters, trek staff, cooks and helpers, hotel staff, Kathmandu staff, climbing Sherpas, and others. You may also wish to provide additional tip to your guides (figure 5% if you are looking for a generous number).
What's included in the expedition fee?
Costs Included in Trip Fee:
- All airport transfers in Kathmandu before and after the climb
- Lodging on double occupancy basis. We will do our best to pair you with a roommate. If we do not have roommate available to you, you will need to pay for the additional cost of a Single Supplement.
- Hotels with breakfast in Kathmandu for stated itinerary at beginning of expedition
- Welcome dinner
- All meals after departing Kathmandu and before returning to Kathmandu
- Domestic Nepal flights
- Park fees, permits, liaison officer
- IMG Sherpa and USA guides, Sherpa climbers and cook staff
- Dining facilities
- Cooking gear and fuel, camp equipment, thick foam pad for Base Camp
- Single occupancy sleeping tent at Base Camp (sharing above)
- VHF radio and satellite communications systems
- Climbing route equipment
- First aid kit, hyperbaric (Gamow) bag and emergency medical oxygen
- Supplemental climbing oxygen for the summit bid starting with the move to Camp 4
Costs not included in trip fee:
- International round-trip air fare and travel expenses to/from Kathmandu
- Single supplement accommodations in hotels/lodges
- Hotels and meals upon arrival back in Kathmandu AFTER the trip are not covered (we will make a hotel Reservation for you in Kathmandu and will cover the cost of your transfer to the Kathmandu airport
- Personal gear
- Excess baggage charges
- Airport taxes and visas
- Base Camp staff and porter tip pool
- Satellite telephone charges
- Personal sundries and beverages
- Costs incurred as a result of delays or events beyond the control of IMG
- Required Travel Insurance
- Required travel insurance policy (medical, evacuation, trip cancellation, etc.)
- Customary but optional tips for the climbing guides
Medical and Rescue
What immunizations will I need?
- Covid vaccination - All recommended doses and boosters.
- Tetanus-Diphtheria - You should already have. Do you need a booster?
- Polio - You should already have. Do you need a booster?
- MMR - You should already have. Do you need a booster?
- Meningitis - Recommended. Consult your physician.
- Hepatitis A - Recommended. Consult your physician.
- Hepatitis B - Not a bad idea. Ask your physician.
- Cholera - Ask your physician. Not usually recommended any more.
- Typhoid - Not a bad idea to be safe. The tablet form, Vivotif Berna, is good for five years.
- Rabies - The new vaccine is easy but expensive. Rabid animals are occasionally encountered in Nepal. We suggest trekking with a ski pole and avoid any dogs running free.
- Malaria - Not necessary unless you plan on traveling to certain low altitude parts of Nepal or Thailand before/after the trip. In that case, malaria chemoprophylaxis is recommended (we prefer Malarone).
We recommend that you visit the travel clinic at a major University Hospital or your local Public Health Department for the most up to date info on travel requirements, or check the Center for Disease Control Website at cdc.gov.
What if a rescue is necessary?
Our first priority is always going to be supporting our fellow IMG climbers. We are also willing to assist with other teams that need help with rescue, but this will take second priority to our IMG climbers. For climbers unable to walk, rescue may require a litter evacuation. For helicopter to Kathmandu, the cost will depend on the type of helicopter involved, the amount of flight time, and the number of landings. We REQUIRE that everyone carry a rescue insurance policy that will as a minimum cover $5,000. You will need either cash or a Visa/Mastercard with enough credit available (not American Express) since you may need to guarantee the charge on your credit card and then seek reimbursement from your insurance company.
What other medical info should I consider?
While it's always nice to have a doctor as a participant on our trips, we cannot guarantee a doctor's presence. We ask that you carefully complete the Medical Information form included in the registration materials. We need to be informed of any allergies you may have, medicines you are currently taking and any medical conditions that could possibly affect your ability to safely participate on a climbing expedition.
In addition to the first aid items listed on the equipment list, there are a few additional medications that are required. These should be discussed with your personal physician and some will require a prescription. We want everyone to bring two regimens of the antibiotic azithromycin ("Z-Pak") and some Imodium in case of bad traveler's diarrhea. A sleeping medication can be useful for napping on the international flights and for the first few days in Nepal (due to the big time change). We do not recommend the automatic use of Diamox while climbing but you might find a small dose (125mg) useful if altitude sickness symptoms appear. Discuss this and your other medication requirements with your physician. Any medication should be used only if necessary and use should be discussed thoroughly with your physician and with your guide before you take the medication.
Water purification is also very important. An effective and inexpensive method is the use of iodine crystals or tablets. These are available commercially as a product called 'Polar Pure' or 'Potable Agua'. Filters, such as the ones made by MSR, are also good. Either can be used or both can be used in combination. On the trek our recommendation is to plan on treating your water bottle water with an iodine tablet (Potable Aqua) or other purification method. You can buy bottled water in towns, but we do not encourage you to buy bottled water on the trek since the bottles are garbage and constitute an environmental issue. We also recommend that each participant bring a small bottle of a hand disinfectant such as Purell. Anything that we can do to stay healthy is worthwhile.
Health issues will be discussed during the expedition and we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions before or during the trip.
Do I really need to bring the high altitude medications Nifedipine and Dexamethasome?
These medications are REQUIRED. Our IMG guides are very experienced with dealing with altitude illness, but we are not allowed to provide prescription drugs to our customers. For this reason we ask each climber to consult with their own physician and to bring their own emergency medications to use (while descending!) in case of onset of high altitude pulmonary or cerebral edema symptoms. These include Nifedipine and Dexamethasome, which will help to "buy some time" to get down to a lower altitude. The Nifedipine is useful for pulmonary edema (take one 30mg sustained release tablet every twelve hours, bring 2 tablets) and the Dexamethasome is useful for cerebral edema (20mg = 1 day's worth = 8mg for first dose and one 4mg tablet every 6 hours thereafter). This will be enough to provide one day of treatment so the patient can get down, if they start to get sick. For more information see this recent article in WILDERNESS & ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE, 21, 146-155 (2010).