Few mountainous places on earth are steeped in as much legend, culture, and history as the Khumbu Valley of Nepal. Through this breathtakingly rugged landscape RMI's Everest Base Camp Trek brings climbers and trekkers alike on a captivating journey to the foot of the world's highest peak.
- Visit the sacred sites of Kathmandu and trek along the narrow mountain trails past mani stones and stupas as you explore the stunning mountains and rich culture of the legendary Khumbu Valley.
- Enjoy a complete lodge to lodge journey to Base Camp, staying in the best teahouses of the Khumbu with great facilities and excellent food.
- Spend two full nights at Everest Base Camp, soaking in the mountainous panorama and experiencing the "base camp life".
- Benefit from the leadership of an RMI Guide throughout the trip, gaining from their experience, communication, oversight, and care as you venture to high altitudes and see why RMI continues to set the standard in guiding excellence.
Guarded to the north by the highest peaks in the world, including Mt. Everest, the region descends from the high Himalaya in a steep and twisting blend of valleys, gorges, trails and terraces. The Khumbu is home to the Sherpa people who have built a culture shaped by these mountains.
We begin our adventures in Kathmandu, the political and cultural hub of Nepal, where we explore the narrow streets, filled with busy shopkeepers, the bustle of traffic, and the faint whiffs of incense burning at the numerous small shrines that blanket the city. In Kathmandu, we visit the city's famous religious sites, such as the Boudhanath Stupa, the Swayambunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple, and Durbar Square, the historic heart of Kathmandu.
Trading out the narrow, chaotic streets of Kathmandu for the rock-lined trails of the Khumbu, we fly to the village of Lukla. From Lukla, we pass through tiny villages perched on hillsides, walk in between fields of wheat, barley, potatoes, and cabbage, and cross back and forth above the raging Dudh Koshi River on narrow suspension bridges lined with fluttering prayer flags, on our way to Namche Bazaar. The steep, narrow streets of Namche Bazaar are the center of the thriving centuries-old trade with Tibet for the region, and long trains of shaggy haired yaks carrying goods over the mountains regularly ply the trails with trekkers.
Above Namche the air grows thinner and the vegetation more sparse as the towering peaks of Kantenga, Ama Dablam, Cholatse, Lhotse, Nuptse, and eventually Everest, loom above us. Our final destination is Everest Base Camp, set on the edge of the Khumbu glacier, amidst a sea of rocks, ice, tents, and prayer flags. On our way to Base Camp we climb the rocky outcropping of Kala Patar whose prayer flag blanketed summit gives way to a spectacular view of the Everest massif, with the South Col and the Hillary Step clearly visible. Everest Base Camp is a vibrant, exciting place and a center of the mountaineering world every spring. From Base Camp we make our way back down through the Khumbu Valley to end our trip in Kathmandu.
We spend two nights at Base Camp fully enjoying our time spent at the foot of Mt. Everest.
Our trips take advantage of the best the Khumbu has to offer. Everest Base Camp is a vibrant, exciting place and a center of the mountaineering world every spring and RMI spends two nights at Base Camp to enjoy the full experience.
RMI's Everest Base Camp Trek is an exhilarating adventure into the heart of the Himalaya. RMI designed our trip to offer an experience that includes the "best of the best" of a visit to the Himalaya: from exploring Kathmandu, to the places we visit along the way to Base Camp, to the teahouses we stay in, and the time spent at Everest Base Camp. Accommodating for travel, acclimatization, and the time needed to visit and enjoy the Khumbu makes three weeks the least amount of time needed to safely and enjoyable visit this area. The trek is open to all individuals in good physical condition.
THE RMI DIFFERENCE
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America's oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Denali and leaders in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge to create the best possible trips and we strive to maintain our reputation as an industry leader.
Our trek is led by our top U.S. guides who bring years of Himalayan experience to the expedition. In addition, we are fortunate to have one of the most experienced Sherpa teams as our partners in Nepal. Our relationships there are the key to our trip's success. Trekking through the Khumbu with these Himalayan veterans is an unforgettable experience.
During our trek we stay exclusively in teahouses in a complete lodge to lodge trek; our lodges have been handpicked by our guides for their quality and service.
During our time at Base Camp we share the same accommodations as our Everest Expedition, enjoying the base camp facilities used by our climbers. Our professional, experienced cooks maintain the highest standards of hygiene and our diverse menu at the teahouses is complemented by a constant supply of fresh vegetables as well as small luxuries brought specially from the United States. Our exceptional focus on detail, our unparalleled level of guest attention, and our genuine passion of these adventures are what make our programs truly memorable.
Safety has always been RMI's top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. RMI's experienced team of guides and Sherpa focus on leading a fun and successful trek without compromising safety. Careful planning and vigilant care are taken as we venture into high altitudes while comprehensive medical kits, medical oxygen, and satellite phones are carried with the group throughout the trip. Everest Base Camp is also equipped with advanced communication and medical gear.
As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or [email protected].
RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Please call (208) 788-2870 or send email to [email protected].
Travel insurance is required for this trip. Your travel insurance policy should include trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, and evacuation.
Navigating through the different options for travel insurance can be confusing. To help make the process straightforward, we have partnered with Ripcord Insurance because their policies are specifically designed for adventure travel and offer coverage for remote areas, and for activities like mountaineering, climbing, skiing, and trekking, without any altitude restrictions. Travel Guard and Travelex Insurance also provide travel insurance.
When purchasing Travel Insurance, here are a few items to consider:
- Read the fine print. Travel Insurance will refund you when canceling for a covered reason for any non-refundable cancellation fees. However, there are exclusions, so make sure you understand the "covered reasons."
- Confirm that your activity is a covered “activity.” Not all travel insurance policies will offer coverage for activities such as mountaineering, climbing, skiing, or trekking adventures. Policies can also exclude coverage for activities due to the gear used (crampons, ice axe), for activities that go above certain elevations, or for activities in a particular region of the world. If there are exclusions, you may need to add an "Adventure" or "Sports" package to cover your activity.
- Verify that your state of residence is allowed with the policy that you are purchasing. Not all insurance companies offer policies in all 50 states.
Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is travel insurance designed for adventurers, including the best evacuation and rescue services available.
Benefits are tailored for adventurers and include:
- Rescue and evacuation from the point of illness or emergency to your home hospital of choice.
- Trip cancellation/interruption, primary medical expense coverage, sporting goods, baggage loss, emergency dental, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D), and more.
- Completely integrated one-stop program with a single contact for emergency services to travel assistance and insurance claims.
- 24/7 access to paramedics, nurses, and military veterans.
- Security extraction in case of unexpected dangerous and chaotic events.
- Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) options and pre-existing condition waiver within 14 days of your initial trip deposit.
Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is powered by Redpoint Resolutions, a medical and travel security risk company. Their team is comprised of special operations veterans, paramedics, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, former intelligence officers, insurance actuaries, and global security experts with dozens of years of experience in theaters around the world. The Redpoint network covers the globe, making them uniquely equipped to provide elite rescue travel insurance – in every sense of the word. Whether it’s reimbursing you for a canceled trip, paying your travel medical bills, or evacuating you home in an emergency, Ripcord takes the worry out of your travel.
Security & Medical Evacuation
Global Rescue is the world’s premier provider of medical and security advisory and evacuation services. Security Evacuation offers crisis evacuation services in non-medical situations. Examples include evacuations from areas affected by natural disasters, war or conflict zones, terrorism, and other areas in which participant security is threatened.
Travel Advisories / Warnings
Please confirm any current travel advisories/warnings as well as passport and visa requirements with the U.S. Department of State.
During your flight to Kathmandu (KTM) you will cross the International Date Line. Travel time is approximately three days. If you want to see the mountains as you fly into Kathmandu, make sure you sit on the right-hand side of the plane.
A valid passport is required for entering Nepal. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected date of return. U.S. passport holders can stay up to 90 days without special visas.
We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a back up. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.
Nepal: All foreigners (except Indian Nationals) require visas, which can be obtained in advance or upon arrival with one passport photo and payment in cash (U.S. Dollars).
Upon arrival at the Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport (KTM), follow signs to the Arrivals Building. Proceed to the visa counter for Visitors without a Visa. The debarkation and visa application forms you need are available both on your incoming flight as well as in the arrivals building. You will need one passport photo for your visa application.
Once you receive your bags from Baggage Claim, you will proceed to Customs. Be sure to keep all your bags together.
Outside the arrivals hall there will be a large group of taxi drivers and agents from many hotels and travel companies. Look for a sign with the name Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. A private vehicle will take us to our hotel.
The provided transportation in Nepal as stated in the itinerary is via authorized taxi or private vehicle.
Immunizations & Travel Medicine
For the most current information on inoculation requirements and recommendations, please refer to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.
Travelers may suffer from upset stomachs when in foreign countries. There are some basic rules, however, that can help keep you healthy.
- Hygiene - It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before meals and after using the restroom. If water is not available for washing, we recommend using a hand sanitizer.
- Water - The number one rule is: don't drink the water, and that includes shower water and ice! Brush your teeth with purified water rather than tap water. You should check bottled water for a good seal and use a napkin to wipe dry excess moisture in drinking glasses. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if it has been diluted with water. Carefully clean the tops of bottled beverages before opening.
- Food - If it is cooked, boiled or can be peeled, you can usually eat it. Salads and fruits should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Be wary of ice cream and shellfish. Always avoid any undercooked meat.
Excellent care for minor illnesses and injuries is readily available. In the event of more serious illnesses or injuries, we recommend transport to any of the Level 1 care centers in Kathmandu.
Nepal Country Facts
Nepal is one of the world's richest countries in terms of bio-diversity due to its unique geographical position and altitudinal variation. The country is roughly 497 miles long and 124 miles wide, with an area of 56,827 square miles. The collision between the Indian subcontinent and the Eurasian continent produced the Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau. Nepal lies completely within this collision zone, occupying the central sector of the Himalayan arc, nearly one third of the 1,500 mile-long Himalayan Mountains.
The first civilizations in Nepal, which flourished around the 6th century B.C., were confined to the fertile Kathmandu Valley where the present-day capital is located. It was in this region that Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was born c. 563 B.C.
Nepali rulers' early patronage of Buddhism largely gave way to Hinduism, reflecting the increased influence of India, around the 12th century. Nepal is now primarily a Hindu country, with more than 80% of the population adhering to that faith.
Until the Kingdom of Nepal became the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal in May 2008, it had been ruled in relative isolation by monarchs or a ruling family for most of its modern history. Nepal is now home to nearly 29,000,000 people. The population is primarily rural. Kathmandu, the largest city, has less than 1 million inhabitants.
Nepal's lowlands have two seasons: the dry season and the monsoon. The higher mountains have a cold winter as well. The dry season runs from October to May and the wet (monsoon) season from June to September. Spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) ring nearly perfect weather and are definitely the best times for trekking and climbing.
Although it is not expected that we dress formally, we should dress modestly. Casual and comfortable clothing is suggested along with comfortable shoes. Except at swimming areas, it is generally considered offensive for a man to take off his shirt in public and, equally, women should be conservatively covered.
"Namaste" is perhaps the most important phrase you should learn when visiting Nepal. It is a greeting that means "salutations to you" or "I bless the divine in you." It is said while at the same time pressing your two hands together in front of you as if in Christian prayer.
When eating, you should only use your right hand. This practice extends to passing food containers and plates with your right hand only.
Nepal has a huge population of beggars. Some are professionals. Others are genuine. The number of street children in Kathmandu can be heartbreaking. Giving money or sealed food to them, however, is also not recommended. To keep from being hassled, a polite but firm "No" is generally sufficient.
A person's head is considered the most revered/spiritual part of the body and therefore it is important that you do not make any kind of physical contact with it. This means that it is unacceptable for you to pat a child on the head.
Nepal is very photogenic and the photos you take will be priceless. Ask for permission before photographing individuals, particularly indigenous people. Many of the locals are used to posing for photographs. If in doubt, either ask or refrain. Don't photograph any government or military property or persons; this includes the airport.
Electricity in Kathmandu normally comes as 220 Volts/50 cycles. It is advisable to carry voltage converters and plug adaptors with you while traveling. Voltage converters and plug adaptors are easily accessible at shopping malls in the cities of Nepal and the U.S. Most teahouses and lodges will charge your electronics for a small fee.
The official currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR). In Nepal you are almost always required to pay for goods or services with the Nepalese Rupee. It is recommended that you change only as much money as you think you may spend as local currencies cannot be removed from the country or reconverted easily. Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.
We suggest bringing $900 - $1,100 total for personal spending money including restaurant meals, drinks, pocket money, and the Support Staff Tip Pool.
American Express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in tourist shops, hotels, restaurants and agencies in Kathmandu. You will find a large number of ATMs in Kathmandu and using ATMs is the common method of obtaining cash. Plan on bringing cash for any purchases you will make while on the trek. While a few teahouses and bakeries in the Khumbu do accept credit cards, they charge a very high commission.
Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.
Everyone approaches tipping a little differently. Whether or not a person tips, and how much, is completely dependent upon the individual; here are some suggested tipping guidelines for your trip.
Local waiters, drivers, and other service personnel expect to be tipped. Ten to fifteen percent is standard. Some restaurants and hotels add a 10% service fee to bills in which case, no further tip is required.
Support Staff Tip Pool: We recommend that each climber contribute $265 to the Tip Pool. This is collected at the beginning of the trip and will cover group tips for all our support and mountain staff throughout the program.
Our guides work hard to ensure your well-being and success on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 – 15% of the cost of the program. If you would rather not bring the guide gratuity with you on the trip, you can send a check or call the RMI office to pay with a credit card upon your return.
This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition and is a great first trip to altitudes above 15,000'. No previous mountaineering experience is required.
Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life And Then Go Climb A Mountain
Fitness for Trekking
Trekking requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, this qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.
- Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
- Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical demands of the trek.
- Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your trekking objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.
For the Everest Base Camp Trek, you are preparing for:
- Hiking and trekking with a 15-20 lb load
- Using core strength and flexibility to navigate uneven terrain
Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!
Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.
The key to climbing high is proper acclimatization. Our program follows a calculated ascent profile which allows time for your body to adjust to the altitude.
Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize as you ascend. Climbers in excellent physical condition simply have more energy to commit to the acclimatization process throughout the days and nights of the ascent, allowing their bodies to adjust to the altitude more easily.
Finally, physical performance and acclimatization are also related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) are all key factors in an individual's success on an expedition such as this.
What You’ll Need
A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as: seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.
The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.
RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item, thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check, when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.
Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list closely so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!
- Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering when they use code RMI2023 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items, rentals, meal packages, and Feathered Friends.
Pack & Travel
120+ liter bags made of tough material with rugged zippers. One duffel will be used as your "trek duffel" to hold all your personal overnight gear and will be carried by our mountain staff between camps. The other duffel will be left at the hotel with extra gear and clothing.
An 80 - 90 liter bag. One duffel bag will be used for your second checked bag for the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. The second bag is needed to store gear in Kathmandu.
Bring as needed. Make sure these are TSA-compliant.
You'll use this backpack to carry your personal gear needed on the trail (warm jacket, hard shells, water, camera, etc.) not including any of the gear that will be carried by our mountain staff (sleeping bag, extra clothes, etc). This can also be used as a carry-on and while traveling or sightseeing.
Protects your pack from rain while on the trail.
Sleeping Bag & Pad
Not required for this trip. Pads will be provided for nights not spent in teahouses.
Wool or synthetic.
Glacier glasses are protective sunglasses that provide close to 100% frame coverage (wrap-around frames and side shields ensure no light can enter from the top, bottom, and sides of the glasses) and transmit less than 10% of visual light.
Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.
Light weight liner or softshell gloves. Lighter colors absorb less sunlight while still offering UV protection.
We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light, and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, softshell, down, and synthetic options.
Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Light weight, light-colored, hooded baselayers (sun hoodys) are highly recommended for sun protection.
Your expedition-style heavy parka must extend below the waist, have an insulated hood, and be able to fit over the rest of your upper body layers. While the parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day, it also serves as an emergency garment if needed. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill.
We recommend a moisture-wicking, active-wear bra.
We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.
Synthetic or wool.
Noninsulated, waterproof shell pants must be able to fit comfortable over your baselayer bottoms and trekking pants. Full-length side zippers are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots.
A light weight, synthetic pair of pants is a good option for the approach trek when hiking at lower altitudes and in warm conditions. These pants have no insulation, are typically made of thin nylon, and commonly feature zippers to convert between pants and shorts.
A pair of lightweight boots for approaches and hiking on rugged terrain. We recommend a waterproof, mid-top boot for better stability and ankle support.
Large enough to fit over your trekking boots to guard against mud and snow.
Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc.), should work just fine for this climb.
First Aid & Medications
We recommend you speak with your physician about which medications you should have for high-altitude climbing. These medications are only used in emergency situations, and if someone is showing symptoms of HAPE or HACE, our standard protocol is for immediate descent. We do not take any of these medications prophylactically, and please talk with your guide before taking medications.
We require each climber to have the following medications:
Broad spectrum antibiotics for respiratory and gastrointestinal problems like Azithromycin (250mg tablets).
125mg tablets for the prevention or treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness. A normal prescription is 125mg tablets, twice a day. Recommend 15 - 20 tablets.
4mg tablets for the treatment of altitude illness. Recommend 12 tablets.
30mg slow-release tablets for the prevention or treatment of high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). Recommend 8 - 10 tablets.
Our guides carry comprehensive medical kits, so keep yours small and light. We recommend a selection of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, Moleskin and blister care, medical tape and/or duct tape, cough drops, basic painkillers, an antacid, an anti-diarrheal, and personal medications.
See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.
Insulated outdoor-style mug. We recommed a model with a removable lid, which helps retain heat and prevent spills. You may also choose to use 0.5L insulated bottle or a 0.5L nalgene.
One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).
Chlorine Dioxide water purification drops. Make sure to select the 30-minute version.
Bring as needed.
We recommend lining your day pack and duffel bag with garbage bags to keep items completely dry. You can also use waterproof pack liners.
Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.
We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.
We recommend SPF 15 or higher.
Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.
For showers on the trek.
Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.
A small power bank, enough to charge a phone or e-reader several times.
For charging personal electronics while traveling internationally.
We recommend bringing a selection of comfortable clothing to wear while traveling as well as pre- and post-trip.
Valid for six months beyond your return date.
The first two pages of your passport.
Purchase travel insurance.
Purchase airplane tickets.
Reserve rental equipment.
Be in the best shape of your life!
RMI provides the following equipment for your program: group and personal tents, stoves, group cooking equipment, fuel, radios for on-mountain communication, and comprehensive first aid and repair kits.
On the Everest Base Camp Trek we recommend you bring 2 - 3 pounds of your favorite snacks to supplement the provided meals.
While in Kathmandu most restaurant meals are on your own, with the exception of hotel breakfasts. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals during the trek are included. As indicated in our Trip Itinerary, all meals are included beginning with breakfast on Day 5 through breakfast on Day 18.
You are responsible for your own bottled water and drinks throughout the trip (at hotels, restaurants and while traveling). Bottled water is available throughout the Khumbu Valley.
Mountain snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day. We continually snack to keep our energy levels up while we climb - lunch begins just after breakfast and ends just before dinner! Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.
The importance of having foods that are genuinely enjoyed cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. In order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude we aim to have a variety of foods that stimulate the whole palate, from sweet to sour to salty.
Recommended mountain snack items: candy bars, energy bars, GORP mixes, dried fruit, nuts, cookies, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, toffees, Life Savers), gummy bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).
The quality of food that we eat in the mountains is often surprising for first time visitors. It is rare to not look forward to a meal. Breakfast during the trek consists of typical breakfast items. Eggs, toast, hash browns, corn flakes, muesli, oatmeal, pancakes and the local specialties of chapatti and Tibetan bread are all common menu items. Breakfast meats like sausage are also sometimes found. Breakfast is accompanied by juice, coffee, tea, cocoa and other hot drinks.
LUNCH AND DINNER
Lunch and dinner options in the teahouses include a variety of choices. Soups (commonly tomato, vegetable, noodle, or hearty "sherpa stew") and momos (Nepali dumplings) are excellent starters. Main courses like chicken and yak dishes, pastas, pizzas, and even fries are served alongside vegetable fried rice or noodles and Nepali specialties such as dal bhat (rice and lentils). Be sure to save room for a dessert such as apple pie, chocolate cake, or "snickers pie!" Soft drinks, beer, and wine are also widely available, although they are priced at a premium the higher you trek.
Deposit Payments: A non-refundable deposit payment of $1,500 per person secures your reservation.
- Deposit payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express*, e-check/ACH, or check from a U.S. bank.
Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 120 days before the start of your program.
- Balance payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express*, e-check/ACH, check from a U.S. bank or wire transfer.**
- **Wire transfers must cover all fees charged by your bank. The amount of the incoming wire to our bank must equal the balance payment amount.
- A payment reminder is emailed approximately three weeks before your payment due date. If your balance payment is not received 120 days before the start of your program, your reservation will be canceled, and all program fees forfeited.
- Payment in full is required when registering for a program within 120 days of the departure date.
*There is a 3% surcharge on all credit/debit card transactions. Credit/debit cards are not accepted for payments of $10,000 or more.
The $1,500 per person deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.
- All cancellations require written notification. Once the RMI Office receives your written notification of cancellation, the following apply:
- If you cancel 120 or more days before the start of your program, the $1,500 per person deposit will not be refunded.
- If you cancel less than 120 days before the start of your program, no refunds will be issued.
Due to the time-sensitive nature of these programs, and the amount of preparation time required for this program, we strictly adhere to our policy and cannot make exceptions for any reason.
We require that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Tab for details.
- Transportation to and from the airport in Kathmandu
- Two nights at hotel in Kathmandu at beginning of trek, includes breakfast and is based on double occupancy*
- One night at hotel in Kathmandu after returning from trek, includes breakfast and is based on double occupancy*
- Welcome dinner
- Round-trip flight to Lukla
- All lodging while trekking
- All group trekking supplies such as tents, stoves, etc.
- All meals while trekking
- Park fees and permit fees
- Camp staff
- Radio communications
- Power supply at Base Camp for charging electronics
- Yaks and porters
- Hyperbaric bag and emergency medical oxygen
- International round-trip air fare and travel expenses to/from Kathmandu
- Meals in Kathmandu
- Any additional hotel nights in Kathmandu not included above
- Recommended insurance policies (medical, evacuation, trip cancellation, etc.)
- Personal gear
- Excess baggage fees
- International airport departure taxes and Nepal entry visas
- Customary guide gratuities
- Support Staff Tip Pool (we suggest $265 per person)
- Satellite telephone, air charges and internet use
- Personal expenses, room charges and beverages
* Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. reserves the right to modify the land cost of a trip at any time before departure.
Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently hazardous. Managing risk is RMI’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering, but they cannot eliminate them. Objective hazards include rockfall, icefall, avalanches, slides or falls by individuals and rope teams on steeper slopes, weather-related problems including cold, heat, high winds, and other unnamed dangers that can occur while climbing.
You are choosing to engage in an activity in which guided and non-guided climbers have been injured or killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.
Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Each Participant is required to share in the responsibility of the safety and success of the team. For this reason, we ask that each Participant:
- Possess the necessary physical and mental fitness required for this program.
- Be responsible for knowing all pre-departure information.
- Provide a signed Physician’s Certificate stating that the Participant is medically qualified to join this program.
- Update the RMI Office if there are any changes to your health or medical information before departure.
- Be properly attired and equipped as outlined in the Equipment List.
- Act in a considerate manner toward all team members and show respect for local customs, values, and traditions in the areas we travel.
- Help minimize our impact on the environment and follow appropriate Leave No Trace practices.
- Describe yourself, honestly and accurately, in terms of fitness, health, skills, abilities, and your equipment to your guide staff.
- Communicate with your guide staff on the mountain if there are any changes in your medications or health.
- Adhere to the advice of your guide staff.
- Continue to self-assess throughout the program, measuring your fitness, health, skills, and abilities against the demands required of the program.
RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a program or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if the RMI Guide Staff determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for, or capable of participating in the program, or for any other reason that may compromise the safety, health or well-being of the Participant or the entire group. If this decision is made, the Participant will not receive any refunds or credits and will be financially responsible for any additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to, evacuation, transportation, hotel reservationss, meals, etc.
Zero Tolerance Harassment Policy
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI) does not tolerate harassment or mistreatment of our participants or employees. Inappropriate conduct under this policy may include conduct that creates a disrespectful, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for a participant or employee. Engaging in such conduct is a violation of this policy.
RMI may consider conduct to be in violation of the policy even if it falls short of unlawful harassment under applicable law. When determining whether conduct violates this policy, we will consider whether a reasonable person could conclude that the conduct created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, or demeaning environment.
Violation of this policy may result in removal from a program, as well as refusal to provide services indefinitely. We place the utmost value on the safety of our participants and employees. Please report any incidents to RMI management.
All participants must be 18 years old at the time of registration.
RMI’s program schedule and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, group strength, terrain, or other environmental factors, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including but not limited to increases in program fees, changes to program schedule or itinerary, and changes to guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program. Once the program has started, the Lead Guide will decide on any changes to the itinerary, including ending the program early if the continuation of the program may compromise the safety, health, or well-being of the group.
We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather, route conditions, or for any other reason. In such a case, we will make every effort to reschedule the Participant on a different program date. If rescheduling is not possible, we will issue the Participant a refund for all program fees paid to RMI, less any non-refundable payments made on behalf of the Participant to secure any of the included land costs provided for this program, including but not limited to, hotel accommodations, transportation, transfers, tours, group equipment and food, permits, and local outfitter services, prior to the cancellation of the program. Additionally, RMI cannot be responsible for any non-refundable expenses the Participant incurred in preparation for the program (i.e., airline tickets, hotel reservations, rental cars, equipment purchases or rentals, etc.).
Once a program begins, there are no refunds or credits for weather-related cancellations or for a program that may end early due to weather, route conditions, or any other circumstances that may compromise the health, safety, or well-being of the group. Furthermore, if the Participant decides for any reason not to begin a program or to discontinue a program at any time, no refunds or credits will be issued. The Participant will be responsible for all additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to evacuation, transportation, hotel reservations, meals, etc.
The Participant is responsible for any costs due to COVID-19, including but not limited to, any testing fees to enter another country, tests required to return to the US, and/or costs associated with medical care and/or quarantine such as hotel accommodations, meals, separate transportation, etc.
Land Costs are provided as a package, and refunds or credits will not be issued for any unused meals, accommodations, group transportation, or other unused costs. Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those Participants occupying single accommodations either by choice or circumstance. If you are willing to share a room, we will make every effort to pair you with another same-gender team member. We will match willing same-gender team members based on the order of registration date. If we are unable to match you with another same-gender team member, a single supplement fee will be charged. The availability of single accommodations is limited in most of the hotels where we stay, and single accommodations are not available while in the mountains.
The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality services provided to the Participant by other companies in connection with the program, including but not limited to, the services provided by airlines, hotels, rental cars, and transportation companies and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program. The Participant will be responsible for all costs associated with any travel delays, missed connections, or missing baggage that requires additional arrangements (separate transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, etc.) to be made on your behalf for you or your baggage to rejoin the program.
What is a day on the trek like?
A typical day on the trail begins around 7:00 a.m. when we meet for breakfast in the teahouse dining room. We begin trekking shortly thereafter and walk for approximately 4 to 7 hours on any given day. The trail is not a difficult hike but the altitude does make it a physical challenge. Depending on the length of the day's hike, we either stop for lunch at a teahouse along the trail or continue to our destination and have lunch there.
Most of our breaks on the trail are at teahouses where water, snacks, and toilets are available, though these become less frequent during the final few days approaching Base Camp as the villages are fewer and further apart higher in the mountains.
After reaching our teahouse for the day, we have the afternoon to relax, read, or visit the local village before meeting for dinner. There is plenty of down time during the trek to facilitate the acclimatization process so be sure to bring along a good book and a deck of cards
How much weight am I carrying in my pack?
Backpacks should weigh approximately 15 to 20 lbs as we only carry the day's snacks, water, camera and a few extra layers in case of rain or cold temperatures. Porters assist us on the trek, carrying all of our sleeping gear, extra clothing, and equipment to each teahouse. Our guides and Sherpas are always available to help lighten your load if your backpack is proving a hindrance while on the trail.
What is the distance of the trek to Base Camp?
The distance we will walk on our trek to Everest Base Camp is approximately 35 miles.
What is the trekking pace like?
Our goal is to get everyone to Base Camp while having an enjoyable time. We walk at the appropriate speed to cover the distance we need to do that day without going too quickly or too slowly. We won't be the fastest group on the trail and the distances we cover on a daily basis are relatively short compared to a typical day spent hiking at home. However, the altitudes to which we travel are very high and the days of hiking are still challenging.
What are the teahouses like?
The teahouses are very comfortable and surprisingly cozy. RMI hand-selected where we stay: those teahouses with the most comfortable interiors and facilities and with the best cooking practices.
The standard layout of a teahouse is a large insulated dining area heated by wood stove. The sleeping rooms are off of this room and are clean but simple: a bed and pillow and blanket. Most of the teahouses where we stay in have private bathrooms attached to the bedrooms but a few have shared bathrooms down the hall. The rooms are not directly heated and even with the provided blankets a warm sleeping bag is still needed.
What are the toilets like?
The bathrooms lower in the valley are flush toilets. Up higher an "outhouse style" or hand flushed toilet (pouring the water in the toilet yourself) is common. At Base Camp we have private toilet tents.
Can I take a shower or wash my clothes?
There are opportunities for showers at most of the teahouses below Lobuche. The teahouses sometimes charge a few hundred rupees (a few dollars) for a shower.
You can also get your laundry done for a reasonable cost at select teahouses during the trek. It is nice luxury to be able to get some of your clothing items like socks and base layers cleaned while on the trail.
What is it like at Everest Base Camp during our spring trek?
The two nights at Everest Base Camp are the only two spent in tents on the trek - however it is a very different experience than a typical night spent in a tent while backpacking. We use the same camp as our Mt. Everest Expedition and our Base Camp is set up to live comfortably in for the duration of a long expedition. We have roomy sleeping tents, separate cooking tents, a large heated dining tent with chairs, carpeting, and private toilet tents.
During the day spent at Base Camp we enjoy a relaxed breakfast before going for a walk into the lower stretches of the Khumbu Glacier to explore. For the climbers going on to Island Peak we set up a ropes course for training. It is a fun activity and most of the time the trekkers not headed to Island Peak opt to join in. In the afternoon we head back to camp and relax there, reading, playing games, or checking out the rest of camp. At that altitude everything is a bit of a bigger endeavor so even a simple day like that outlined above feels full.
What is the temperature difference between the spring and fall trekking seasons?
The spring and fall are the traditional good weather seasons in the Khumbu Valley, falling between the cold winter months and the wet summer monsoon months. The temperatures vary only slightly between the spring and fall trekking seasons. Temperatures in the upper Khumbu Valley (above Namche Bazaar) average in the mid 50s (°F) during the days and around freezing at night. The transition to and from the monsoon season creates slightly different daily precipitation patterns in the Khumbu Valley. The spring season tends to see more afternoon clouds in the valley than in the fall, but the differences in historical averages are minute. Find more detailed weather pattern information here.
When are the rhododendron flowering?
The beautiful flowering rhododendron that blanket the foothills of the himalaya the Khumbu Valley are the national flower of Nepal. The red, pink, and white flowers bloom between late March and mid-May in the Khumbu Valley, with the trees at higher elevations blooming later in that period. Rhododendrons can be found as far up the valley as Pangboche. Blue Gentian flowers can also be found in the spring months around Namche Bazaar.
Can the trail get dusty?
The trail can get quite dusty when we encounter yak trains on the trail or on certain portions of the trek, such as the climb up to Namche Bazaar and the Tengboche Monastery. A Buff works well to protect yourself during those moments. While unpleasant, the dust is not a major nuisance on the trail.
How will I be able to stay connected with those at home?
For the occasional text/email we suggest bringing a smart phone or a WIFI enabled iPod along and using it at teahouses where WIFI is available. Where WIFI is not available there is usually internet and computer access. Use is charged by the minute and the cost increases the higher up we go. It is easy and affordable to get online every few days to answer emails.
Should I bring a cell phone or a satellite phone?
Sure, cell phone coverage is generally available in the Khumbu Valley with the exception of a few select villages. Check with your cell phone carrier to see if they offer international coverage in Nepal and make sure you have the appropriate international plans and understand the associated rates.
Another option is to bring your own phone from home and buy a SIM card in Nepal. Make sure your phone accepts different SIM cards before leaving the U.S. If it does, then you can purchase Nepali SIM cards. The Nepali carriers have been charging about $.10/min for calls to the States. Please contact us before your departure for help in purchasing a Nepali SIM card.
RMI carries a satellite phone with the group through the entire trip for emergency use.
Do iPhones function well at high altitude?
Yes. However, the cold can impact the battery life making it necessary for it to be charged a few times on the trip.
Is a Kindle or Nook practical on this trip?
Yes, but you will need to recharge it once in a while. We recommend downloading all of your desired books before arriving in Nepal.