PDA

View Full Version : buying gear in lukla/namche



toaster56
29th August 2006, 02:41 AM
I will be getting some crampons and trekking poles once I arrive in Nepal, but was wondering if it is more expensive to get them in lukla/namche rather than in Kathmandu? I wouldn't mind used stuff as long as it's in working order.

Also, I will be carrying my tent as I want to try camping pretty much everywhere instead of staying in the lodge (will still be eating at the lodges though) do you have to pay someone to put up the tent or there are dedicated areas? I am not camping to save any money, just because I want to do it and for the challenge of carrying extra gear. If I ever change my mind I'll just stay in a lodge for the night.

Also, if I wanted to camp between two villages or at EBC (just because I feel like it) I will need a burner and fuel, is the fuel available in lukla or namche or somewhere along the way?

Thanks

Escher
29th August 2006, 12:39 PM
You can get fuel in Lukla and Namche. Kerosene is most easily available so if you are camping out a lot then you will probably need a multi fuel stove. You can get gas here and there but I wouldn't rely on just bringing a gas stove.

The Khumbu is a lot more built up than you might think. Some of the villages are quite large and you have to camp in specific places and pay for the privilege. Basically you will be sleeping in someone's garden and it will feel like it too.

I like to camp too and have trekked and climbed in places where I had to carry all my gear for days. Carrying 25-30kgs at altitude is hellish and to be avoided at all costs especially when it isn't necessary. If you want to do something more adventurous then travel really light, take a small stove and bivvy bag and go and bivvy up by the 5th/6th Gokyo Lake, the Nameless Fangs, below the Cho La, on the Kongma La or at Base Camp. Go over the Cho La/Kongma La, scramble up the Nameless Fangs, the higher ridge of Kala Pattar and to Chukkung Tse. For 75% of the trek in the Khumbu dragging full camping equipment with you is the equivalent of wandering around the suburbs of a town and sleeping in people's gardens when they all invite you to stay inside! Until you much higher up I don't think the locals are happy with people camping wherever you like. You will need to camp in designated areas only.

You don't need crampons either for any of the standard trekking areas in the Khumbu unless you are climbing or crossing a pass like the Amphu Labtsa. Its just another kg of pointless weight on top of the other stuff you are carrying. You should make every effort to make your pack as light as possible. It makes a huge difference up high.
You can get trekking poles in Kathmandu. You can also get them in Lukla and Namche. Take a -20 Celcius sleeping bag and a decent mat if you are going to camp or you will be cold.

I took way too much stuff on my first trek in Nepal as I wanted to cover all eventualities. I wish that I had believed the people who told me that I didn't need to take all that gear. It isn't a wilderness trek. If you need to you can dump all the extra stuff you have in Namche and pick it up on the way down! ;)

Good luck.

Andy K
29th August 2006, 06:19 PM
I couldnīt agee more with Esher. I started the EBC Trek in the early 80s with much the same ideas as you and ended up leaving a good 15 Kgs (of my total 30) in Namche & continuing tea house trek style. Since then Iīve managed to reduce my load to a comfortable 8 Kgs including the -20° sleeping bag but without water. I always con the people I travel with into taking good (and heavy) camera equipment & then just bum copies of their pictures. You will enjoy the walking at altitude far more if you have a light pack.

toaster56
30th August 2006, 12:43 AM
Thanks for the tips guys,
I was thinking of going to dingboche and from there get a guide for 2-3 days to do Kongma La crossing. I think that is it. And then continuing on my way to BC, KP then down Cho la, Gokyo then back to Namche. So if I understood you, there are places in namche to leave some of the unwanted clothes/misc supplies?
My total bag including tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat ( all are winter stuff, sierra design expedition tent, thermarest prolite 4 pad, and a down sleeping bag) and all my clothes I have right now, including what I will need for the volunteer work for 2 months in chitwan; is less than 20kg, more like 15kb maybe, not too heavy. And as far as camping in people's yard, I don't really mind and don't mind paying either (I'm guessing it's not very expensive) And like I said before, if I feel like staying inside for a night I will and will see for the day after.

I read that it is better to have crampons to do the Kongma La crossing?

Thanks

edit:.. I have been reading alot and Island peak seems very appealing to me.. How hard would it be to arrange something with a local to be my guide for the time of the trek? I have my own tent and sleeping bag like I said before, I would need crampons and harness I think, probably other things that I am forgetting but would it be hard to arrange something semi last minute on my way to Dingboche/Chhukhung. If not I would just continue on my BC/gokyo trek but I have been dieing to try something of the sort. I am in very good physical form and have done rock climbing many times in the past, and I still do from time to time. So would it be doable to organise or maybe join another expedition last minute? I am starting my trek from lukla in mid november, so that's why I am wondering if it would be possible or maybe it's too cold?

Escher
30th August 2006, 05:07 PM
Thanks for the tips guys,
I was thinking of going to dingboche and from there get a guide for 2-3 days to do Kongma La crossing. I think that is it. And then continuing on my way to BC, KP then down Cho la, Gokyo then back to Namche. So if I understood you, there are places in namche to leave some of the unwanted clothes/misc supplies?
My total bag including tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat ( all are winter stuff, sierra design expedition tent, thermarest prolite 4 pad, and a down sleeping bag) and all my clothes I have right now, including what I will need for the volunteer work for 2 months in chitwan; is less than 20kg, more like 15kb maybe, not too heavy. And as far as camping in people's yard, I don't really mind and don't mind paying either (I'm guessing it's not very expensive) And like I said before, if I feel like staying inside for a night I will and will see for the day after.

I read that it is better to have crampons to do the Kongma La crossing?

Thanks



It's horses for courses. I've carried big loads in Nepal and gone really light. One of the real pleasures for me of the tea house treks is staying in lodges, for the social side too and not having to carry all the extra gear. Of course you will be better able to make your mind up about this after you've been, but I know which I prefer after several trips. ;) When I weigh my gear I include everything: what I am wearing too, my sack, boots etc. You must be a much better packer than me as there is no way I could get my pack down to 15kgs if I was camping! Even cutting the handles of tooth brushes and tearing up books. Please let me know your secret! For one trip my pack weighed 20kg exactly and that was with state of the art ultralight gear and nothing extra at all. No tent, just bivvy bag, ultralight stove (28g), titanium pan, no waterproofs, crampons, one axe, lightweight alpine boots, sub kilo ultralight pack, probably about 2kgs of camera gear!, no rope, no climbing hardwear, no harness, 2 litres of water, 5 days of freeze dried food (only about 1.5 kg), one set of clothes, one set of thermals, down jacket etc.

I haven't crossed the Kongma La (Sharon who posts here has) but to be honest an axe is more useful than crampons and if there are only very short tricky sections (if any) then it is quicker to cut steps than keep taking off your crampons especially if you are not used to climbing rock in them. If you are relatively used to steeper mountain ground (being a climber I am sure you are) then I am sure you will cope. The Cho La has a permanent glacier at the top and crampons aren't really needed, I don't think the Kongma La has a glacier on it (though I might be wrong).



edit:.. I have been reading alot and Island peak seems very appealing to me.. How hard would it be to arrange something with a local to be my guide for the time of the trek? I have my own tent and sleeping bag like I said before, I would need crampons and harness I think, probably other things that I am forgetting but would it be hard to arrange something semi last minute on my way to Dingboche/Chhukhung. If not I would just continue on my BC/gokyo trek but I have been dieing to try something of the sort. I am in very good physical form and have done rock climbing many times in the past, and I still do from time to time. So would it be doable to organise or maybe join another expedition last minute? I am starting my trek from lukla in mid november, so that's why I am wondering if it would be possible or maybe it's too cold?

Everything is possible - good weather, bad weather, too cold or ok. Island Peak can certainly be climbed then but I would probably want warmer boots than standard trekking boots that time of year. In good conditions it can be and is climbed in four season trekking boots but towards December I would want my toes protected in plastics or at the very least decent leather winter mountaineering boots and insulated over gaiters. You ought to take a full shell as well and spare pairs of gloves and other mountaineering gear. Your pack weight will signifcantly increase to nearer 30kgs with climbing gear too. Personally I might risk not having all the right gear so that I could travel light and get up and down quick if conditions allow. I would not advise someone who has no alpine experience to scrimp on gear and clothing.

To climb Island Peak "officially" you need to employ a registered NMA (Nepal Mountaineering Association) guide. Their fee for the peak is $300 (or is it $250?) and you will almost certainly have to pay for them to fly to and from Lukla and pay them a daily rate to IP BC and pay for hire of gear for them to camp. The peak permit is also $300 and I think you can have up to five on a permit (it might be 7). BUt anyway if you want to do it on your own with a guide it is very expensive. To join up with a team last minute might be difficult too. Would you be happy letting someone who just turns up in camp to join on your permit when you don't know them or their climbing experience and they will promise to pay for the privilege? Also if the NMA guardians are stationed in Chukkung then they won't let you up to IP BC without a climbing permit. You may well be able to hook up with group ahead of time though. Often the trekking agencies will say "Island Peak group looking for others to share permit" ask around and mail some agencies.

If you intend to climb with just a guide bear in mind that they often don't climb in traditional western alpine style. They will run up ahead of you and fix rope for you to jug up. This is personally not for me, its just like pulling on all the gear when rock climbing and jumarring up a fixed rope has no satisfaction (especially when the climb is technically straightforward). In good conditions Island Peak is not difficult technically (alpine PD), the difficulties are straightforward and short and consist of an 80m headwall of 45 degree snow/ice, easily soloable (depending on experience) with one axe. After that there are a couple of short 10m or so slightly steeper sections along the summit ridge. When I was there in March 2004 the bergshrund was easy to cross and the crevasses were small, easy to cross or go around. We climbed unroped as we were unconcerned about the dangers on the glacier. I cannot comment on the state of the 'schrund or crevasses now. Therefore it would be sensible to take an ice screw or two, a couple of stakes, and 30m of 7mm/8mm to move together on the glacier if the crevasse danger is worseif you intend to climb alpine style rather than jug up behind the guide. If you join a group they will almost certainly fix ropes so you will need to just kit yourself out with boots, crampons, ice axe, harness, jumar, a couple of prussiks and belay device for rapping.

Another consideration is whether to fix a high camp or not. Most parties do but it is possible to climb from BC. You need to be well acclimatised and climb fast as it is 1100m of ascent from BC. BC is at 5100m and a high camp is often fixed at 5500/5600m but you will either need to move camps up fix two. If you move your gear up then you will have to pack it all up on the way down during the descent or camp again at 5500m which is fairly pointless. Bad weather, inexperience and the significant altitude could all pose real problems if climbing from BC or even from HC. Then again everything could be fine!

Your best bet is to get into a group ahead of time then the cost will be minimised and all the logistics will be sorted for you. If you try and just turn up, do it with just guide or wait until the last minute then the pitfalls and expenses are many and varied.

Get some instruction on crampon work, ice axe arrest and use and glacier rescue too beforehand. Could be a lifesaver.

Good luck.

toaster56
31st August 2006, 01:58 AM
Thanks for all the information Escher!

I have already emailed many guides I found on the net as well as here on the forum.
I currently have these boots, http://akamai.backcountrystore.com.edgesuite.net/images/items/large/SAL0762/RGGFBD.jpg

which are seamless made with gore-tex. I cold get crampons to fit the boots as well as an ice axe for the Island peak. Do you think, from your experience, It would be enough? As for the weather, I live in Quebec(Canada) so I am used to snow/wind and overall cold weather. I also have my own harness since i do rock climbing as a hobby but I do not have any belay devices.

So as it is now I am in contact with a couple guides, trying to see how much it would cost, and I also don't mind to be with other people looking for an extra person. Like you said it is possible to climb without ropes, well it was when you climbed, so I presume it would probably still be doable. I will see what the guides say and make my decision after. If I got my permit in Kathmandu for the Island peak, and just walked to dinboche and asked around, do you think it would be possible to find someone willing to go up there with me?


As for my bag, I did not have water yet, so I guess I should add an extra 1.5 kilos or so.

Harry
31st August 2006, 03:40 AM
Toaster,

From my point of view, these boots look more catogory B, softwalkers and not suitable to put crampons on, because the straps will cut your bloodstream. It's better to hire some plastic boots for the Island peak.
Have been trying Island peak three times and all times conditions where totaly different. Temperatures drop easily to -20 or more, depending on high winds, heavy snowfall and bad weather.
It's a trekkingpeak, but not that easy as most people think.Situation has changed a lot last years.
Of course you can first make your permit in Ktm and than try to get a guide in Namche or Dingpoche, but better have things fixed in Kathmandu before and make your meeting point at Chuckung with a guide and porter with equipment after you have done some acclimatisation rounds.
The organisation I work with managed the same with a french couple late december 2004, low budget starting same way from Chuckung. They have all equipment, crampons, harness, hardwear,ice ax, etc in depot, no need to hire at extra costs. Only the shoes.......! You have to take care of yourself.
Can give you the contact if you like to. Just give me a mail.

Harry

toaster56
31st August 2006, 06:48 AM
Thanks Harry!
also for the boots, I will try and find somewhere to rent some real boots to put crampons on. Is it hard to find a place to rent them?



Thanks again!

Escher
31st August 2006, 05:30 PM
Thanks for all the information Escher!

I have already emailed many guides I found on the net as well as here on the forum.
I currently have these boots, http://akamai.backcountrystore.com.edgesuite.net/images/items/large/SAL0762/RGGFBD.jpg

which are seamless made with gore-tex. I cold get crampons to fit the boots as well as an ice axe for the Island peak. Do you think, from your experience, It would be enough? As for the weather, I live in Quebec(Canada) so I am used to snow/wind and overall cold weather. I also have my own harness since i do rock climbing as a hobby but I do not have any belay devices.

So as it is now I am in contact with a couple guides, trying to see how much it would cost, and I also don't mind to be with other people looking for an extra person. Like you said it is possible to climb without ropes, well it was when you climbed, so I presume it would probably still be doable. I will see what the guides say and make my decision after. If I got my permit in Kathmandu for the Island peak, and just walked to dingboche and asked around, do you think it would be possible to find someone willing to go up there with me?


As for my bag, I did not have water yet, so I guess I should add an extra 1.5 kilos or so.


Have you done any winter or alpine climbing? If not then it would be sensible to get yourself in with a guided group. Island Peak is technically straightforward if you alpine climb and no problem to solo for someone who knows what they are doing but it is a serious proposition if you lack prior experience. Don't go onto the glacier unroped unless you are happy to assess the state of the ground yourself. I am quite happy on steep snow and ice personally so everything is relative. Experience counts for a lot in alpine climbing. That said in good conditions, in the right company and sufficiently acclimatised there is every possiblity of making it to the summit.

Your boots aren't substantial enough if you get caught out in bad weather or extreme cold you will be prone to frostbite. Plastic double boots are the way to go. I haven't hired any myself in Kathmandu but I have seen them in plenty of shops, I don't think it will be a problem. If you intend to carry them yourself then be prepared to add another 3 kgs to your pack! A tip for keeping your feet warm when climbing high is to a have a fresh pair of new, decently warm mountaineering socks. Buy one pair from home and use them only for the climb (well afterwards if you want but not before the climb). New socks have much more loft and therefore insulation. Ordinary trekking socks won't be warm enough.

Have fun.

toaster56
1st September 2006, 01:04 AM
I am very confotable in the snow, but have never done any alpine climbing like Island peak. I contacted a guide that I found on this forum in the guide's section and will definetly be getting a guide for the Island peak part that is for sure. I will also be getting boots and crampons. Since my bag is fairly light to start off, 15kgs, adding a couple more for a bit is not a major problem for me. I intend on bringing the boots up do Island peak and then try to find somewhere to leave them in Dingboche then continue on to BC and Gokyo. If I find it is not too heavy I will keep them with me.

Are there places where I could leave my extra stuff for a couple weeks while I trek and then come back and get them?
Thanks

Escher
1st September 2006, 01:46 AM
Are there places where I could leave my extra stuff for a couple weeks while I trek and then come back and get them?
Thanks

Just ask at any of the lodges you stay in. I am sure they will be happy to store your gear for you no problem.

Have fun on Island Peak - it's a great climb.

Sharon
5th September 2006, 02:23 AM
Kongma la is a cruise, very nice easy pass. Definitely better to go from Lobouche to Chukkung. Fairly steep but nice trail up to the pass and a long cruising trail down to Chukkung. I am surprised it doesn't see more traffic. The Views from the top to makalu etc are outstanding.