This weekend I was booking three forthcoming trips through work to Cannes, Paris and also Dallas when I began to look at the calendar. It then dawned on me that I have all of a sudden just nine weeks to go until Island Peak. Where did that come from? Through a combination of other things that I also have going on, I have also worked out that I am actually at home for just three weekends before I head out to the Himalayas. And that is downright scary, especially when you are a bad planner and procrastinator like I am!
Here was me thinking that October is a million miles away, and then all of a sudden, boom, I’m now worried that I don’t have enough time to do what I need to do, i.e. get mountain fit, buy new kit, and just be prepared without panicking, but then that’s me – I know what I’m like – and that’s why I’m worried. If I can do anything, anything at all, tomorrow, instead of today and get away with it, I will 🙂
I duly therefore started having a look at the Exodus (the travel company that I am going with) website to see what I might need. I also registered for their forums to see if I could meet some fellow travellers there. Success! The site has a ‘departure lounge’ forum and I managed to introduce myself to two of the fellow travellers (not sure how many are going in total yet) via a post I put up there. There is a guy called Dave and his wife Maureen, and also Martin and his wife too. One of them mentioned being somewhat nervous about the flight to Lukla, which I have to say is preying on my mind too. More about that one in another post.
I checked first as to what I need to start thinking about, and the first two I came across were vaccinations and visas. It seems I can get my visas for Nepal (two required – one for immigration, and one for trekking – the Nepalese collect fees from trekkers too) upon arrival in the country, so that is a tick off the list, although I’ll need four passport photos too it seems. The vaccinations are more vague – looks like I need Polio, Tetanus, Hep A and Typhoid. I may need Meningitis too as apparently there was an outbreak of it in Kathmandu a few years ago – will need to delve deeper. Then there is the Diamox question – I took it on Kili, but who knows if it helped or not?
Then I have the problem (and it is a big one) of kit, and it is twofold:
1. Getting hold of the right kit in the first place.
2. How to limit what I take, as the luggage allowance is just 15kg.
1. The ‘right’ kit.
So I need to take, as a minimum:
4/5 season sleeping bag
4/5 season down jacket
Fleeces and mid layers
Rucksack – 40 litres
Plastic climbing boots
Figure of Eight
This list is obviously before any ‘normal’ clothes that I might need. There are at least 14 of those items above that I do not even possess.
2. 15kg Weight limit
15kg – really? Are they serious! I reckon that two pairs of boots, a down sleeping bag, thermarest and rucksack come to about 10kg alone. That’s before toiletries, suntan lotion, snacks, climbing equipment, and whatever bag I take to put it all in. Oh yes and clothes. Ridiculous!
When I went to Kilimanjaro I took the bare minumum on the 7 day climb itself, and my duffel bag weighed 18kg. That was not including my boots or rucksack, and there was no climbing equipment whatsoever then.
I am told however that the 15kg is a strict limit, enforced by the flight to Lukla in the Twin Otter. This is really going to be a nightmare of massive proportions! Meantime I suppose I should start to try to get hold of some of the equipment itself. First 5 season sleeping bag that I googled retails at £600. You can hire them apparently for £75, but would you want to sleep in someone else’s sleeping bag? Not me!
Oh and finally I got a reminder today that I had to pay for my trip. It just occurred to me that if I look at all the holidays I have ever taken in my lifetime, this is by far and away the most expensive of them all, and that is before I spend a fortune on the above missing items. Holiday – did I really say holiday?