With a straightforward climbing route and easy access to an established Base Camp, Shishapangma is an ideal first 8,000m peak!
- Journey across the Himalayas; from the narrow streets of Kathmandu to the glaciers of Shishapangma and back over the course of one expedition.
- Join a small and personal climbing team built around a low climber to guide and climber to Sherpa ratio, providing the flexibility and strength for a safe and enjoyable expedition.
- Climb above 8,000 meters with the guidance and partnership of RMI’s experienced guides and Himalayan veterans.
- Benefit from RMI’s excellent organization, support, and carefully planned and outfitted expedition: all the small advantages that add up to a more memorable experience.
- Take part in a RMI adventure to the Himalayas and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.
Shishapangma is the 14th highest mountain in the world, and the only 8,000m peak lying solely in Tibet. Shishapangma is considered by many to be one of the most approachable 8,000m peaks to climb because of its direct route and relatively short approach to Base Camp. For a peak of this size and stature, the Northwest Ridge, our climbing route, offers a direct route to Shishapangma’s Central Summit. A knife-edge ridge connects the slightly lower Central Summit to the mountain’s South Summit at 8,013m (26,289'). This final section of the climb can prove very challenging but is the team’s ultimate goal. We travel from Kathmandu to the “Chinese Driver’s Camp” by jeep and from there a long 10-mile one-day walk with yaks brings us to the established climber’s Base Camp. We dedicate up to 28 days to the climb.
RMI's guiding approach differs notably from many other guide services as we intentionally keep our team small. Instead of running a large expedition with many climbers, we focus our attention on leading a more personal climbing team, concentrating our resources on each individual to ensure the safest, most enjoyable, and most successful experience possible for each one of our climbers. Our expedition is fully staffed and no extras or add-ons are needed. The smaller team ratios and thoroughly organized expedition facilitates better team dynamics, closer communication, individualized attention, and helps avoid the fragmentation inherent to larger expeditions. We believe this creates the strongest, safest, and most enjoyable climbing team possible.
With over four decades of mountain guiding experience RMI has rightfully earned our standing as one of the most distinguished guide services in the world: we maintain strict standards of safety, climb with small ratios, offer an unparalleled level of service, provide you with the best and most experienced guides, and have an infrastructure that is geared entirely toward your individual safety and success in the Himalayas.
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 a leader in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our experienced guides are some of the best in the world, more than 40 of whom have reached the summit of Mt. Everest, some multiple times. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge necessary to create the best possible trips. We work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader.
In 2011 a strong team of RMI Guides, including Elías de Andrés Martos, successfully climbed Shishapangma via the Northwest Ridge without the use of supplemental oxygen or Sherpa support. Their knowledge and experience serves as the foundation for your adventure. Read about the 2011 climb on the RMI Blog.
Safety has always been RMI's top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. Our experienced team of guides and Sherpa focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. By purposefully staffing this expedition with a low climber to guide ratio we maintain the highest high degree of personal service from RMI's guides and Sherpa staff, increase our margin of safety on the mountain and improve your chances of success.
Our climber-to-guide ratio is 3:1, and our Sherpa-to-climber ratio is 1:1.
Our camps are stocked with comprehensive medical kits and we have two Gamow bags on the mountain throughout the expedition. Our guides and staff are highly trained in emergency mountain medicine and work to maintain our strict standards of safety. When problems arise on the mountain, away from medical facilities, the level of training and experience RMI's guides have makes them some of the most sought after guides in the profession.
Careful planning and vigilant care are taken as we venture into high altitudes. Our well-planned use of climbing oxygen dramatically improves a climber's chance of success on Shishapangma. It is expected that first-time 8,000m climbers use bottled oxygen. Personal exceptions/considerations will be addressed individually with the guides. Oxygen equipment will be carried to high camp and worn on summit bid. All oxygen will be purchased prior to the expedition.
Participants on our Shishapangma Expedition must have a solid understanding of mountaineering skills. We require that each team member have previous high altitude experience, such as Denali, Aconcagua, Huascaran, Ama Dablam or other 7,000 - 8,000 meter peaks. Screening and final selection will be done on an individual basis after we have reviewed your climbing resume and our Shishapangma Guides have spoken with you directly. Climbers on this adventure will be expected to be confident, competent and ready to participate in this adventure of a lifetime.
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].
Why Climb Shishapangma With RMI?
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. is one of America's most reputable and long-standing guide services with over five decades of mountain guiding experience. Simply stated, we excel at bringing climbers to the highest mountains of the world. Our commitment to leading extraordinary mountain adventures, our unparalleled logistical support, and our world-class leadership make our Shishapangma Expedition unmatched.
- Safety is RMI's number one priority and nothing trumps its importance.
- The most experienced and renowned guides in the profession.
- Our guides are well-regarded climbers and mountaineering instructors. They are highly trained in technical rescue and in wilderness and mountain medicine.
- Small team ratios of 3:1 climber-to-guide.
- Small team ratios facilitate stronger team dynamics, excellent communication, and individualized attention.
- RMI is involved in every step of the planning, preparation, and packing of our expedition.
- Our behind-the-scenes logistics are not left to others, ensuring that each and every detail of expedition planning is addressed and met.
- Small ratios and extensive logistical support give us a high level of flexibility and the individual focus needed on the mountain, from acclimatization scheduling to individual food preferences.
- We intentionally avoid locking our expedition into predetermined itineraries and plans, choosing instead to tailor our climb to the needs of our climbers and the realities of the mountain conditions.
- With years of experience, our phenomenal Sherpa staff is among the most experienced and well regarded in the Himalaya. They each have dozens of Himalayan summits and offer superior attentive support for our expedition.
- Our Sherpa pursue ongoing technical training between expeditions under internationally accredited guide training programs.
- All of our Sherpas receive equipment stipends as well as First Ascent down suits for each expedition.
- We outfit a comprehensive and comfortable Base Camp on the mountain, including heated dining tents, hot showers, communications tent with re-charging equipment, private toilets, individual sleeping tents, full-time cooks and great food, as well as a selection of entertainment and games.
- We address all of the necessities, as well as luxuries, to keep our climbers comfortable and happy - and ultimately strong and healthy - throughout the climb.
- Dedicated professional cooks at Base Camp who prepare excellent, healthy meals.
- We have well-stocked inventories that include hundreds of pounds of specialty food brought from the U.S., offering excellent variety and selection.
- A flexible and diverse menu accommodates our differing tastes and changing appetites.
- Our mountain camps are well stocked with emergency supplies, and medical and rescue equipment.
- Our guides are highly trained in medical and technical rescue and carry medical and rescue equipment with them at all times.
- We use a private weather forecasting service with Himalayan experience to keep us current with the latest trends and developments in weather patterns throughout the expedition.
- All of our climbers, guides, and Sherpa are outfitted with personal radios.
- We can help arrange personal cell phone, email, and satellite communications equipment as needed.
- RMI posts daily expedition updates to our blog, including photos and audio dispatches, to help keep friends, family, and general followers up-to-date with the latest progress of the climb.
- RMI has pioneered and championed Leave No Trace ethics on mountains all around the world and we hold ourselves to the same high standards on Shishapangma.
- We remove excess packaging before the trip to minimize waste and carry all of our trash and unused supplies off of the mountain.
- We use biodegradable bags to ensure proper human waste disposal.
- Our custom-built solar photovoltaic power system supplies 100% of our electric needs. We have not used the standard noisy generator on our Himalayan expeditions in over two years!
- Our efforts keep camps clean and quiet, reduce our use of fossil fuels, and minimize our overall environmental impact.
CTT Destinations Travel Coordinator Pirjo DeHart has served climbers and adventurers for over 25 years. Specializing in small corporate and adventure travel, she works to assure your trip is stress free by taking care of the practical travel details and evaluating travel insurance. Each trip is handled with the utmost attention to detail so that you may focus on your adventure. You can contact Pirjo by phone at (425) 831-0367 or email: [email protected].
Due to the remote nature of this program, we require everyone to purchase travel insurance, which includes a medical evacuation policy with minimum coverage of $500,000.
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 cancelled 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 and for entering Tibet. 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 backup. 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).
Tibet: All arrangements for our Tibet visas will be made in Kathmandu. The cost of the Tibet visa is included in the price of your program.
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 as stated in the itinerary is via authorized taxi or private vehicle.
Immunizations & Travel Medicine
For the most updated 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 excess moisture from 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.
Tibet is bound by the high Himalayan Mountains at its south and is predominantly high plateau (between 13,000 and 16,400 feet) resulting in its nickname “the roof of the world.” Because of its harsh mountainous and geographical features, Tibet is the least populated province in China, currently with approximately three million people.
Tibet is an internationally recognized autonomous region within the People’s Republic of China, though many Tibetans dispute the legitimacy of China’s rule. Officially, China refers to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). However, the TAR only comprises a small part of the area included in traditional Tibet.
Tibet is the source of five of Asia’s largest rivers, providing water for over one billion people. They are the Mekong, the Salween, the Yangtze, the Tsangpo and the Yellow River. Tibet is known as the world’s “Third Pole” as, after the North and South Poles, it holds the largest quantity of glacially stored water.
Nepal: 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.
Tibet: In general, Tibet experiences lower temperatures due to its higher altitudes. The annual monsoon runs from July through September, with July and August bring half of Tibet’s annual rainfall. Our climb takes advantage of what are generally considered the best weather, road and mountain conditions of the year. Temperatures on the Tibetan Plateau generally drop below freezing, even during the days; rainfall, however, is negligible during these months.
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.
When eating, you should only use your right hand. This practice extends to passing food containers and plates with your right hand only.
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.
Don’t take photos of people without permission. Most monasteries are off limits for interior photographs, or perhaps a small fee is required.
"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 palm to palm in front of your chest.
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.
Electricity in Nepal and Tibet normally comes as 220 Volts/50 cycles (Hz). 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.
Nepal: 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. You will find a large number of ATMs in Kathmandu and using ATMs is an easy method for obtaining cash.
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.
Tibet: The official currency of Tibet is the China Yuan Renminbi (CNY). Your guides can help you exchange your U.S. Dollars for CNY as needed.
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 $500 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 with previous climbing experience. Successful completion of an RMI Expedition Skills Seminar on Mt. Rainier, in Alaska, Peru, Ecuador, North Cascades, or an equivalent multi-day mountaineering seminar is required.
Your climbing resume should include:
- Previous glacier travel experience
- Experience at altitudes above 6,000 meters (Aconcagua)
- A minimum of two snow and ice climbs of approximately 2,000' in length at 35-50 degrees in angle using two tools
- Crampon skills on 30 - 50 degree slopes
- Team rope travel skills
- Knots & slings - prussik, butterfly, Münter, etc.
- Snow and ice anchors (construction & equalization)
- Belaying and running belay experience
- Crevasse rescue (from both the victim and rescuer perspectives, and considering heavy packs)
- Fixed line travel with mechanical ascenders
- Ice axe self and team arrest, with and without a backpack
Screening and final selection will be done on an individual basis after we have reviewed your climbing experience and our veteran Himalayan Guides have spoken with you directly.
Recommended climbing experiences prior to the Shishapangma Expedition include:
Mt. Rainier Expedition Skills Seminar - Emmons
Mt. Rainier Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz
Mt. Rainier Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise
Denali - West Buttress Expedition
Expedition Skills Seminar - Kahiltna Glacier
Expedition Skills Seminar - Shuksan
Expedition Skills Seminar - Peru
Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life And Then Go Climb A Mountain
Create A Fitness And Training Program
Physical Fitness Training
Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains 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 and technical demands of the climb.
- Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.
For Shishapangma, you are preparing for:
- Steep climbing with a 40-50 lb load
- A 10-12+ hour summit day
- Mountaineering techniques requiring core strength and flexibility
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.
Shop Your Equipment List // Rent new equipment for your climb
Pack & Travel
120+ liter bag(s) made of tough material with rugged zippers.
Bring as needed. Make sure these are TSA-compliant.
Your pack must be large enough for your layers, climbing gear, and food, as well as a portion of your tent and your share of group equipment. You will not need a separate summit pack.
A 25+ liter day pack to use as carry-on or while sightseeing.
Sleeping Bag & Pad
We recommend a bag rated between 0° and -20° F. If you would prefer NOT to share group bags at the higher camps, you should bring a second bag rated -20° F or lower.
A full-length inflatable pad.
A full-length closed cell foam pad, used in combination with the inflatable sleeping pad.
The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5'8", use a 65 cm axe; 5'8" to 6'2", use a 70 cm axe; and taller, use a 75 cm axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground.
We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat, or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.
Used for clipping into the climbing rope.
Used for clipping into anchors, etc.
Used for pack ditch loop, etc.
12-point adjustable steel crampons with anti-balling plates designed for general mountaineering use.
Bring extra batteries appropriate to the duration of the climb.
We recommend lightweight and collapsible poles with snow baskets.
A tube-style belay/rappel device that can accept a variety of rope diameters.
For traveling on fixed lines. Most people prefer an ascender designed for their weak hand, leaving their strong hand free to hold their ice axe. For example, a right-handed person would use a left-handed ascender.
60 cm sewn sling ("single-length runner").
6 mm cordelette in one continuous length OR precut into two 4' sections OR two 13.5" Sterling Hollow Block sewn loops.
A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet.
Wool or synthetic hats; one light and one heavy.
A Buff provides versitile head and neck protection. A neck gaiter is also acceptable.
An expedition-weight balaclava to be used in conjunction with your Buff. Your headwear system should leave no exposed skin.
Bring two headlamps for the expedition. The second is for use around camp and to serve as a backup. Be sure to begin the program with fresh batteries and bring extra sets appropriate to the duration of the program.
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.
Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.
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.
Medium weight, wind- and water-resistant insulated gloves for climbing and working around camp. These should be both durable and dexterous enough to allow you to perform activities like setting up or taking down tents while wearing them.
Wind- and water-resistant, insulated gloves.
For summit day and other very cold days. Gloves provide greater dexterity. Mitts provide greater warmth.
We recommend six upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Three of these should be insulating layers, one light, one medium and one heavy that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.
Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Light weight, light-colored, hooded baselayers (sun hoodys) are highly recommended for sun protection.
One step up in warmth and bulk from a baselayer. A technical fleece makes an ideal light weight insulating layer.
A down, synthetic, or softshell hoody makes a great midlayer.
An uninsulated, waterproof shell jacket with hood.
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.
An 8,000 meter down suit.
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.
Non-cotton briefs or boxers.
Synthetic or wool.
Softshell climbing pants can be worn in combination with a base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.
Non-insulated, waterproof shell pants must be able to fit comfortable over your baselayer bottoms and softshell climbing pants. Full side zippers or 7/8 side zippers are required so that shell pants can be put on while wearing boots and crampons.
A pair of lightweight, insulated pants are ideal for extra warmth and comfort at camps, both on the glacier and on the trail.
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 modern, all-in-one 8,000m boot is required. The boot needs to be roomy enough to allow for good circulation. Anticipate a sock combination when sizing them (single sock, liner and sock, or two heavy socks on each foot). Wear the boots as often as possible before the climb, to determine proper fit, comfort and performance.
Goose down or synthetic fill. Nice for evenings at camp.
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.
Great for traveling and wearing around town or camp. A pair of tennis shoes or light hikers works well.
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
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.
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.
Packable plastic bowl. Collapsable models can work but must be handled carefully to avoid unintended collapsing. A lid is a great feature.
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.
A spoon or spork made of durable plastic or anodized metal. A long-handled spoon can be nice, especially if eating from a freeze-dried meal pouch.
One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).
High quality, durable vacuum bottle with a volume of 1/2 liter or 1 liter.
These help prevent freezing. It should completely cover the bottle.
Chlorine Dioxide water purification drops. Make sure to select the 30-minute version.
Bring as needed.
Heavy-duty trash compacter bags for use as waterproof pack/stuff sack liners. You can also use a a waterproof pack liner.
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.
Practice using this before coming on the climb!
One clearly-marked wide-mouth or collapsible bottle for overnight use.
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.
A small solar panel to charge personal electronics.
Watch with an altimeter, barometer, and compass. Many smart watches will also have this functionalty.
Communicate with family and friends back home, track your progress, and much more. Generally requires a subscription plan. Make sure this is a modern model that makes it difficult to inititate an accidental SOS call.
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 group equipment and technical hardware for your climb: tents, upper mountain community sleeping bags and pads, stoves and cooking equipment, climbing and fixed ropes, climbing anchors, shovels, route wands, radios for on-mountain communication, and comprehensive first aid and repair kits. Two bottles of climbing oxygen will be provided. Additional bottles are available upon request.
On Shishapangma we recommend you bring 10 - 12 lb of your favorite snacks to supplement the provided meals.
All meals on the mountain are included as indicated in our Trip Itinerary. The value of expert cooks and careful planning cannot be overstated for a multi-month, high altitude expedition and we work diligently to keep our climbers fit and content. With the exception of hotel breakfasts, most meals in Kathmandu are on your own. You are responsible for your own bottled water and drinks.
You will want to have a few snack items with you every day to fuel you up the trail. We continually snack to keep our energy levels up while we climb - lunch begins just after breakfast and ends just before dinner!
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 snack items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, toffees, Life Savers), gummy bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).
Breakfasts consist of most typical choices. Eggs, toast, hash browns, corn flakes, muesli, oatmeal, pancakes and the local specialties of chapatti and Tibetan bread are all common menu items. Breakfast is accompanied by juice, coffee, tea, cocoa and other hot drinks.
LUNCH AND DINNER
Lunch and dinner options include a variety of choices. Soups (commonly tomato, vegetable, noodle, or hearty "sherpa stew") are excellent starters. Main courses like chicken and yak dishes, pastas, pizzas, and even fries are served alongside vegetable fried rice or noodles. Be sure to save room for a dessert such as apple pie, chocolate cake, or "snickers pie!"
On the mountain, similar meals are served. Lunches and dinners include several courses, beginning with soup and ending with dessert.
We require that all climbers and guides be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to join our programs. You will need to upload a copy of your COVID-19 Vaccination Card into your RMI Account before you can be confirmed on the program.
We also require climbers read, sign, and agree to RMI's COVID-19 Operating Procedures in order to participate in the program.
Deposit Payments: A non-refundable deposit payment of $3,500 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 only be made via 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 $3,500 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 $3,500 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.
- RMI Leadership
- Transportation to and from the airport in Kathmandu
- Visas, permits, and administration required for entrance into Tibet
- All group camping supplies such as mountain tents, stoves, fuel, cooking tent, dining tent, shower tent and storage tent.
- All meals as stated in the itinerary
- Hotel accommodations as stated in the itinerary, based on double occupancy*
- Park fees and climbing permit fees
- Liaison and Sirdar officers
- Sherpa support
- Camp staff and cooking staff
- Radio communications, including hand held radio for each team member
- Power supply at Base Camp
- Porter support
- Yak support
- Portable hyperbaric chambers, emergency medical oxygen
- Climbing oxygen and Top Out Mask
- A single tent at Base Camp with a foam trekking mattress
- High-altitude camp equipment and supplies, and Sherpa support on summit day
- Climbing Sherpa will establish camps, carry group equipment (including sleeping bags and pads), establish the route, etc.
- Weather forecasting
- International round-trip air fare and travel expenses to/from Kathmandu
- Accommodations and meals in Kathmandu not included in itinerary
- Medical Evacuation insurance of $500,000 (required)
- Travel insurance and security evacuation insurance
- Personal clothing and equipment
- Excess baggage charges
- Airport taxes and Nepal entry visas and re-entry fees
- RT-PCR or Antigen test required for return to United States
- Support Staff Tip Pool (we suggest $500 per person)
- Tips for RMI Guides
- Rescue costs or costs associated with early departure from the expedition
- Personal communications expenses (Satellite phone, phone, fax, email)
- Personal expenses, room charges and laundry
- Personal drinks and beverages
- International departure taxes
- Nepal Custom Duties / Chinese Custom Duties
- Additional personal Sherpa support is available, but must be arranged before the expedition
- Any expenses from COVID-19 or COVID-19 testing that causes delays or quarantine requirements such as additional lodging, food, transfers, border issues, delayed test results, etc.
- Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)
- The cost of delays due to weather, road or trail conditions, flight delays, government intervention, illness, medical issues hospitalization, evacuation costs (by helicopter or any other means), or any other contingency which we or our agents cannot control are not included.
* 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 a hazardous sport. Managing risk is RMI’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rockfall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them.
You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and 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 climbing prerequisites required for this program.
- 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 cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities, or the abilities of other climbers may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire group may have to turnaround without reaching the summit.
Failure to reach the summit due to a person’s own lack of fitness or to any of the events associated with mountaineering (such as weather, route conditions, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.’s responsibility and will not result in a refund, credit, or reschedule.
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.