Last page update 12/06/99
This information packet was created for an OA Alumni Trek to Nepal in October 1994. The information below may not be the most current. I suggest you get the latest copy of Trekking in Nepal by Steven Bezruchka. Additional sources of information are listed at the end of this piece.
Being comfortable at high altitude in a remote setting means having the right equipment. The basic clothing items you will need are described below, with explanations about each item. There is a complete equipment checklist included in this packet. Remember that excess baggage can be a burden to you and the support staff in the field. Pack light, but pack right. This will allow you to enjoy a comfortable journey with your energies focused on the experience of Nepal.
Weather Conditions: October is the fall season in Nepal. Temperatures vary greatly with altitude, with highs in the 50’s - 60’s (Fahrenheit) and lows in the 30’s. At this time of year it is generally dry, and for most of the trek we will be in the rain shadow of the Himalayas.
Layering: Keeping the proper temperature is best accomplished by adding or taking off layers of clothing. While hiking during the day, you may be in shorts or skirt and a long-sleeved shirt. During the evening, as the temperature cools, you will add a sweater and, perhaps, a parka. Bringing the items outlined below will ensure that you are adequately prepared. Make sure that your clothing is sized to allow you to “stack” your layers and still move comfortably. This will prepare you for any weather extremes or unexpected situations that may arise. Below is an explanation of some the personal items you will need to bring. The complete equipment list is enclosed. Make sure that you have everything on the equipment list. We will check your gear in Kathmandu. If you do not have the necessary items, you will be required to rent or buy them in Kathmandu (which can be expensive).
· Casual Clothes: Bring a few lightweight, easily washable items. We will leave these in a luggage storage room at your hotel.
· Footwear: One pair of sturdy light to middle-weight hiking boots. Typically these are combination of nylon and leather. We suggest boots with a Gore-tex lining to be waterproof. These types of shoes have a lug sole for good traction and provide lateral support for the ankles that is essential while hiking (for example; the Vasque Clarion and the Asolo Approach). Heavy-weight all-leather backpacking boots are not recommended. Be sure your footwear is broken in and fits well. Boots should fit comfortably over one thin liner sock and a mid-weight wool sock. This reduces chafing and blisters. Tennis shoes, or sandals are also useful for in camp use or bathing.
· Socks: Four pairs of liner socks. Four pairs of mid-weight wool socks. Socks and footwear should be coordinated for a proper fit.
· Long Johns: Polypropylene, Thermax, or Wool, are the best choice—a set of tops and bottoms.
· Trousers: Two loose-fitting cotton and/or light weight wool or pile pants. Blue Jeans often restrict movement and are not advised.
· Long Skirt for Women: For cultural reasons, women should wear light cotton skirts or long pants. A skirt is not only great for hiking, but culturally a skirt may open doors for women trekkers. Women can increase the warmth while wearing a skirt by layering pants or polypropylene underwear underneath.
· Shirts/Blouses: Two long-sleeved shirts.
· Underwear: Regular everyday type.
· Sweater: One heavy wool or synthetic pile sweater or synthetic pile jacket (such as Polartec 200 fabric).
· Insulated Jacket: Either down or synthetic fill, rated to 20 degrees F and able to accommodate your sweater underneath. This type of jacket might typically be used for skiing.
· Rain Jacket: The jacket should be very water repellent and roomy. Coated nylon or a waterproof/breathable fabric such as Gore-tex.
· Wind Shell: A nylon or synthetic wind jacket. A waterproof/breathable jacket such as Gore-tex can be used both as a rain and a wind jacket.
· Gloves/Mittens: Wool gloves and/or mittens.
· Sleeping Bag: Synthetic or down sleeping bag rated for 20 degrees. Bags can be rented in Kathmandu (an additional fee). Sleeping pads are provided.
Official papers: Valid passport, two extra passport photographs (for trekking permits), airline tickets, luggage tags. Visas can be obtained upon entry into Nepal (cost is $10).
To apply for a passport for the first time, you must present, in person, a completed passport application at a State Department Passport Agency (located in major cities) or at one of the several thousand federal or state courts or U.S. post offices authorized to accept passport application. Bring your application, proof of U.S. citizenship (such as a certified copy of your birth certificate), and two identical 2 x 2 photos. The fee is $55 and the passport is valid for 10 years. If you have questions about where or how to apply for a passport, call your local U.S. State Department Passport Agency or the Washington, DC Passport Agency at 202-647-0518.
If your passport has been issued within 12 years of the date of a new application, you can renew by mail by picking up an application at U.S. post offices or at a Passport Agency. The mail-in procedure costs approximately $35 and can take up to four weeks during peak spring and summer travel seasons.
Special Equipment Provided: We will provide an extensive first aid kit. In most of the cases our water will be purified by boiling, but, just in case, OA will be providing water purifying pumps for the trip. These PUR filters contain iodine which filters out all bacteriological contaminants including giardia and kills viruses. Charcoal filter attachments on the filters remove the iodine taste. If anyone is allergic to iodine or has thyroid problems, please indicate this on the application form. OA is also renting a Gamow bag as a backup in case anyone develops serious altitude sickness. The bag is described on page 131 of Trekking in Nepal.
Physical Conditioning: It is important that you be in proper physical condition for this trek. We will be hiking 6-8 hours each day at altitudes averaging 10,000 feet in a remote location. We will reach a high point of about 15,500 feet. At high altitude, the percentage of oxygen molecules in the air is the same as it is at sea level (21%). However, there are fewer oxygen molecules. This means that with each breath, you are exchanging less oxygen than you would at sea level. Your cardiovascular system must be in good shape in order to handle the physical demands of this trip. You must be on a regular physical fitness program, as outlined below, at least 3 months prior to the trip. The list below is a sample and should be considered the minimum requirement. Remember, in order to enjoy this trip, your body needs to be in good aerobic condition. Failure to be in proper shape could lead to serious health problems. If you have not been involved in a regular exercise program, please see your physician. If you are over 60, you must have a stress test.
Walking - 4+ miles a day at a brisk pace
Jogging - 2-3 miles a day
Biking - 10-12 miles a day.
Language Training: As you know, one of the goals of the trip is to allow you to experience the Nepali culture in depth. Part of the trip will include some daily instruction in the Nepali language. We recommend that you purchase the Nepali Language Tape by Stephen Bezruchka (available from the Mountaineers - see Resources below) and practice basic pronunciation before the trip. This will help you communicate more easily with the Sherpa people.
Medical Clearance: All participants are required to fill out the enclosed application form. For your safety, we must be aware of any medical conditions that could affect your participation during the trip. All information will be screened and kept confidential. In some cases, we may request additional information or confirmation from your physician about the appropriateness of this trip. If you are over 60, you are required to have a stress test in order to participate in this trip or a letter from your doctor indicating that you are in appropriate health to participate in a high-altitude trek. Our primary goal is a safe and enjoyable experience for all trip members. Certain immunizations are required for all participants (see Immunizations below). You are also required to indicate your current health coverage. Your insurance must provide coverage while you are traveling abroad.
Air Travel: Outdoor Action is booking a block of tickets from Los Angeles to Kathmandu. If you are flying from another part of the country, we are happy to help you with your travel arrangements as much as possible. Here are a few points to remember. You will undoubtedly be flying with several carriers. Most routes (except through Frankfurt) require a layover in a city along the way for anywhere between 10 - 24 hours. Your ticket may or may not include hotel accommodation on this layover. If you are leaving the airport transit lounge during your layover, you may need an entry visa for the country where you are meeting your connecting flight—check with you travel agent. If you decide to make an extended layover in another foreign country on your way to or from Nepal, you should check to see what health precautions need to be taken when traveling there. Two excellent sources of information are the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta (404-639-2572 or 639-1610) and the U.S. Public Health Service in New York (718-917-1685). Remember, with overseas flights, you have extensive security, reservations, and customs lines to work your way through at the airport. It is wise to begin this process 2 1/2 hours prior to departures. If you need to make your own travel arrangements, Overseas Adventure Travel in Cambridge, Massachusetts has a great deal of experience sending travelers to Nepal and offers services beyond ticketing. Contact them at 800-221-0814. If you are flying from the west coast, we recommend either Cathay Pacific or Thai Air to Bangkok or Hong Kong and on to Kathmandu.
Arrival & Hotel: The group departing from Los Angeles will be met at the Tribuvan International Airport in Kathmandu to transport you to the hotel. If you are making your own airplane reservations, please let us know your flight and arrival time so that we can arrange transportation to the Hotel.
Money: Nepalese rupees are not available in the U.S. They also have no value outside Nepal. You may cash money at your hotel and designated foreign currency exchange counters. When doing so, you will be given a receipt stating how much money was exchanged. Keep these receipts as they are needed for visa extensions, and for exchanging rupees back into dollars later on. It is the policy of Nepal to refund you only 10% of the amount that your receipts say you have cashed. So if you have receipts totaling $1000 and you are now leaving Nepal but still have $200 in Nepali rupees, you are only going to receive $100 in U.S. currency from the bank. In other words, do not exchange money casually. While in Kathmandu you may see a variety of beautiful handicrafts such as carpets, paintings, and statues. A good quality rug will cost $200 - $300. There is not that much to buy away from Kathmandu and other major cities, so on the trek about $75 to $100 dollars in rupees should be enough for essentials for food purchases or small gift items. Extra money or travelers checks will be left at the hotel.
Phone Calls & Emergency Contact: You will find that the phone system for calling home to the U.S. is very reliable and provides an excellent connection. Contact the hotel front desk for service, but collect calls are usually not possible. Calls are about $4.00/minute.
Mail: You may have mail sent to our address in Kathmandu. Mail usually takes two weeks to go to or from Nepal. Mail should be addressed to you at:
Preparing at the Hotel: The day before the trek begins, you will need to divide your belongings into trek and non-trek items. Non-trek items will be left at the hotel in a locked room. Small items of value that are to remain should be put into a small bag and will be locked in a safe. These valuables include large amounts of money, air tickets, and your passport. The trekking permit you receive will act as your passport. You may even cash money with it at a bank. Please leave your Air Tickets with our staff, with instructions about your air confirmation needs.
On the trail: Our trip route is described in detail in Trekking in Nepal in Section II Chapter 8. Each day, we will be hiking 6-8 hours. Each person will carry a small day pack with an extra layer of clothing, water bottle, and camera. All of the rest of our supplies will be carried by porters. Our cook will prepare all of our meals each day. At night we will be sleeping in tents at campsites along the trail.
Bathing facilities are, of course, limited. Each morning, the porters will bring a basin of hot water and soap to your tent. During the day there may be opportunities for washing with water taken from streams. When bathing in public areas, please wear a bathing suit (one-piece for women). In larger towns that have lots of trekking traffic such as Namche Bazaar you may be able to buy a short shower. Bathrooms are non-existent. The Sherpa staff will prepare a pit-toilet tent each evening, away from camp. During the day you are on your own “finding nature.” Please dig a small hole and cover your activity when finished. Though toilet paper is available in Nepal, it is rather waxy. You may prefer to bring a roll with you from home. We would encourage you to also bring a small lighter for burning the paper when finished. In villages we pass through we may find an outhouse available. There are also outhouses at bhaatis (inns) along the route.
Food: Food will be prepared by our Nepali cooking staff. It’s a “westernized” version of the Nepali diet, due primarily to the availability of different types of food. Be prepared for a simple fair. Breakfast is dry cereal, oatmeal, eggs, or pancakes or some form of chapatis. Lunch is varied. There are always chapatis, biscuits, or other breads, potatoes, and often a canned meat like tuna fish or cooked Spam. Dinner always starts with a hot soup. The main course utilizes rice, potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, samosas (like egg rolls) often with curry and other spices. Sometimes chicken or buffalo meat is available. A classic Nepali dish is dhaal bhat, curried lentils over rice. Black tea is served with every meal. During the day you can buy food items at the bhaatis along the trail such as biscuits, candy bars, tea, even a Coke bottled in India. These inns also serve hot food, but one has to be careful about the hygiene of the cook.
Customs: There are many interesting cultural taboos and customs that are important to be aware of. As visitors to a country, we must be sensitive and adopt the cultural norms of our hosts. These will be covered in more detail when you arrive in Kathmandu. These include not whistling inside a person’s home and only using the right hand to eat with and to give money or a gift with. Signs of affection to the opposite sex like holding hands and kissing in public are not only offensive to Nepali people but are seen as quite rude. People of the same sex, however, may express friendship by holding hands. For information on customs please read pages 87-110 in Trekking in Nepal.
A comment about begging. This is not a custom of the mountain and country folk of Nepal. Children have begun asking for pencils, candy, and rupees along some trails. We encourage you to not support this.
A custom you may use to your advantage when you wish to purchase something expensive anywhere in Asia is the “First Customer” practice. You will find that if you are the first customer of the day bargaining will be quick and to your benefit. The first customer must not only buy something but they must be happy with their bargaining in order for the shop owner to have a lucky day. If you see something you like, consider coming back the first thing next morning. Try it, it works.
Medicine: Visibly tending to your own blister or taking vitamins can portray you in a villager’s eyes as a well-supplied physician. Be thoughtful and show discretion when treating yourself or traveling companions, so that you do not invite a local Nepalese to present you with a medical problem that you cannot treat.
Toys & Games: Nepali people have a great love of life and like to play. Game items such as balls, Frisbees, a kite etc., can liven the day. Nepalis love to see pictures of other parts of the world. A magazine with many photos is a hit. A soapy bubble-making device can be fun, as can a musical instrument. Such items can make a nice gift at the end of the trek to a Nepali or camp staff member that you grew fond of.
Below is the list of required immunizations for this trip. You must send us a report from your physician with immunization dates. You will not be permitted to go if you have not received these immunizations.
Check to see that your booster is still valid.
Check to see if you are currently protected
Typhoid or oral Typhoid
2 injections at least 1 month apart or 1 capsule on each alternate day for a total of 4 capsules. Cannot be taken with malaria medications, antibiotics, or other live vaccines.
Variable (a second booster is recommended for persons born in or after 1957)
Gamma Globulin (for Hepatitis A)
One injection within 10 days before entering country
One injection at least 10 days before departure. This can be difficult to obtain in the U.S. As a last resort, you may receive the injection in Nepal.
Hepatitis B - Recommended but not required
3 injections at 2 months intervals starting 6 months prior to trip.
Receiving blood products in a foreign country can entail risks since blood screening may be poor. Consult your physician about this immunization.
Other Health Tips:
If you wear glasses or contacts, bring a spare pair and a copy of your prescription. Bring extra contact lens cleaning supplies along, as they may be difficult to obtain.
If you are bringing medications or vitamins, keep them in their original containers to avoid customs difficulties. Leave the cotton in to prevent the pills from breaking.
Get extra copies of any prescriptions with the generic names of the drugs, and be sure that all measurements are metric. Make sure the prescription is printed clearly.
Have a dental check up prior to the trip to lessen the need for emergency treatment while abroad.
Rabies: Rabies does exist in Nepal, but cases are rare. There are two ways to prevent getting rabies: 1) avoid contact with possibly rabid animal saliva, mucous, and/or urine or 2) after having come in contact with one of these substances, obtain immunization. A pre-exposure vaccination is available that does not prevent the disease, but extends the time for obtaining post-exposure shots. Since we will be able to get to Kathmandu in sufficient time for post-exposure shots, the pre-exposure vaccine is not required. If you decide to get the pre-exposure vaccine, check with your physician ahead of time.
Malaria: Malaria is not found in the Kathmandu valley or the higher elevations in Nepal, but only in certain sections of the Terai lowlands. Therefore, anti-malarials are not required for the trek. If you plan to visit the jungle area of Nepal or other parts of the Far East before or after your trip, you will need to speak with your doctor about anti-malarials, or call the Centers for Disease Control or the U.S. Public Health Service offices listed above.
Altitude: Since the trek takes place at high altitude, we have planned the trip with staged ascents and a number of rest days to allow you to acclimatize. Since few people have been to such altitude, it is hard to know who may be affected. There are no specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness. Some people get it and some people don’t. Altitude gains will be limited to between 1,000 and 2,000 feet per day in order to allow people to acclimatize and we will take periodic rest days. Thousands of people from the West trek safely in Nepal each year. However, it is important that you understand the types of illnesses that can occur at high altitude and their potential severity.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is common at high altitudes. It is the body’s response to the decreased oxygen uptake at higher altitudes. At elevations over 10,000 feet, 75% of people will have mild symptoms. The occurrence of AMS is dependent upon the elevation, the rate of ascent, and individual susceptibility. Many people will experience mild AMS during the acclimatization process. Symptoms usually start 12-24 hours after arrival and begin to decrease in severity about the third day. The symptoms of Mild AMS are headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, nausea, disturbed sleep, and a general feeling of malaise. Symptoms tend to be worse at night and when respiratory drive is decreased. Mild AMS does not interfere with normal activity and symptoms generally subside within 2-4 days. As long as symptoms are mild, and only a nuisance, ascent can continue at a moderate rate.
We will be monitoring everyone very closely for AMS throughout the trip. It is essential that you communicate any symptoms of illness immediately to the trip leaders. The cure is either acclimatization or descent. Mild AMS is treated with Diamox (Acetazolamide) and pain medications for headache. Both help to reduce the severity of the symptoms. We strongly suggest that you take Diamox 125 mg twice a day, beginning the day before the ascent and continuing for at least five days at higher altitude. You should experiment with taking it 48 hours before departure to Nepal. This will let you know if the drug has any adverse effects. Side effects include tingling of the lips and finger tips, blurring of vision, and alteration of taste. Symptoms subside when the drug is stopped. Contact your physician for a prescription. Since Diamox only reduces the symptoms of AMS, inability to take it does not preclude participation in the trek.
Moderate AMS includes severe headache not relieved by medication, nausea and vomiting, increasing weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, and lowered coordination. Normal activity is difficult although the person can still walk on their own. At this stage, only advanced medications or descent can reverse the problem. Once at a lower altitude, symptoms may reverse and, with acclimatization, the person may be able to continue to higher altitude. Severe AMS presents as an increase in the severity of the aforementioned symptoms, including shortness of breath at rest, inability to walk, decreasing mental status, and fluid buildup in the lungs. Severe AMS requires immediate descent to lower altitudes.
There are two other serious high altitude conditions, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). Both of these happen infrequently, especially to those properly acclimatized. Their usual occurrence is with people going too high too fast or going very high and staying there. Since our ascent will be gradual and our average altitude will be less than 13,000 feet, we do not expect serious problems. However, it is important for you to be aware of these conditions. HAPE results from fluid buildup in the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, weakness, and a productive cough. The fluid prevents effective oxygen exchange. As the condition becomes more severe, the level of oxygen in the bloodstream decreases, and this can lead to cyanosis and impaired cerebral function. HACE is the result of swelling of brain tissue from fluid leakage. Symptoms can include headache, loss of coordination, weakness, and disorientation. It generally occurs after a week or more at high altitude. The only effective field treatment for either condition is early descent. Severe instances of either condition can lead to death if not treated quickly. Please take the time to read the section on Health Care, pages 111 - 153, in Trekking in Nepal.
Medical Problems on the Trip: Serious medical problems are not anticipated during the trip. We will be adequately prepared to deal with problems. The group will carry an extensive expedition first aid kit. There is a medical clinic along the route at Namche Bazaar staffed by Western Physicians. Minor problems will be dealt with by trip staff. The most likely medical problems are altitude sickness, gastrointestinal problems, or joint problems, particularly knee problems from hiking.
Gastro-intestinal Problems: You should anticipate the possibility of having GI problems during the trip. This is a fact of life when traveling in developing countries. Our cooking staff does an excellent job of preparing the meals but your own dirty hands, dirt blown into food, and dozens of other things can be sources of contamination. As a precaution you should speak with your physician about a prescription antibiotic for GI infections. We recommend Ciprofloxacin 500 mg. When you return from any trip to a developing country you should have a stool culture taken for bacterial infections or parasites.
Altitude Problems: If an altitude problem develops, most likely it will involve the person descending with some of the trip staff to a lower altitude for further acclimatization, and catching up with the group later. Diamox helps reduce the symptoms associated with mild altitude sickness that is common while acclimatizing. If the person is unable to continue the trek, we will arrange for transportation from Lukla to Kathmandu. You would be on your own in Kathmandu until the trek returns.
Required Medications: Everyone should bring a prescription antibiotic for GI infections (we recommend Ciprofloxacin 500 mg) and Diamox 250 mg for altitude sickness (the new recommended dosage is 125 mg twice a day, so 250 mg tablets can be cut in half).
Food & Water Precautions: Eating and drinking exposes visitors to a number of foreign pathogens that can cause extensive gastro-intestinal problems. On the trek, our food will be prepared by a skilled cook who will take the necessary precautions. While in towns and cities or when visiting markets, etc., it is essential to adhere to the following guidelines:
1. General - Basic rules are boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it. Eat foods freshly prepared and cooked well-done, and not handled by others after cooking. Good choices include meats, eggs, vegetables, cereals, rice, potatoes, curries, pastas, and soups. Avoid raw, uncooked foods.
2. Fish - Eat only the white meat of well-cooked fresh and saltwater fish. Avoid shellfish.
3. Fruits & Salads - Eat or make juice from clean, undamaged, thick-skinned fruits that are peeled (by you) with clean hands and knife. Consume immediately unless safe cold storage is available. Avoid all other raw or under-cooked foods and drinks which may have been washed in tap water, i.e., salads, tomatoes, sauces, certain deserts.
4. Breads - are usually safe if recently baked.
5. Street-side Snacks - Avoid all snacks from street vendors; you have no idea if any precautions were taken in preparation.
1. Don't drink unboiled or untreated water. You may buy bottled mineral water at your hotel and in most restaurants.
2. Tea and Coffee - Safer with bottled water or if the water is brought to a full boil and used immediately. Boiled or pasteurized drinks, i.e. coffee, tea, sodas from clean containers, are generally safe.
3. Tap Water - Don’t trust tap water. Drink only bottled or canned water or beverages. This also applies to brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth. Keep your mouth closed when you take a shower.
4. Ice - Avoid iced drinks. Freezing water does not kill bacteria. Unopened bottles and cans can be placed on ice to chill them.
5. Alcoholic beverages - mix only with bottled or canned water or beverages without ice (see above).
6. Keep your hands away from your face and out of your mouth. It is wise to wash your hands often with soap.
Jet Lag: Jet lag results from the disruption of the body’s rhythms. Throwing off the sleep/wake cycle may cause digestive problems; headaches; changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing patterns; fatigue; as well as many other disconcerting side effects. The farther you travel, the longer jet lag may last and the worse it may be. Your body has an internal biological clock that helps guide your daily activities—preparing your stomach for food; regulating energy, strength, and alertness; and causing sleepiness at approximately the same time each evening. Your biological clock uses a variety of major time cues to help decide what activities are or are not appropriate. Major cues include diet, light, exercise, drugs, and social interaction. Adjusting these time cues before and during travel can help the body reset its internal time clock so that functioning alertly in a different time zone is achieved more quickly and easily. You should begin preparing your body for long distance travel three days prior to departure.
Traveling West (from the west coast to Kathmandu):
Day 1: This is considered a feast day. On this day, you should consume more calories than normal. For breakfast and lunch, meals should consist of foods high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Dinner should be high-carbohydrate. Snacking is permitted—high in protein in the morning, caffeine allowed in the afternoon only, and high-carbohydrate in the evening. Going to sleep at your regular time is recommended.
Day 2: This is a fast day, where your caloric intake should be just a fraction of the previous day’s. Breakfast and lunch should once again be high protein, dinner high-carbohydrate. Caffeine is permitted in the afternoon, but no evening snacks. Go to sleep at your regular time.
Day 3: This is the day before your departure and is a feast day. Follow the instructions for Day 1. It is a good idea to stay up a bit later than normal.
Travel Day: If your flight schedule allows, try to sleep in a little. When you awake, and if you drink caffeine, have two to three cups, and then avoid it for the rest of the day. This caffeine jolt early on will get your body pushed in the right direction. The morning of this day is a fast day—low in calories, high in protein. You should try not to eat again until breakfast the next day in your destination city. This day becomes a feast day and also the start of consuming all meals on destination time. If your flight does not leave until late in the day, keep daytime activities to a minimum, perhaps trying to nap in the morning and avoiding daytime sun. Wearing two watches is also a help. Set one on home time and one on destination time. Use home time until you board the plane, then follow the destination time watch for your activities. If it will be daytime when you arrive at your destination, try to sleep in the plane. Put on a blindfold to block out the light and wear ear plugs to minimize noise. Grab a blanket and a pillow and try to be as comfortable as possible. The sooner you adjust your sleeping and meal times to your destination, the better your body will be able to cope with the problem of jet lag.
Traveling East (from the east coast to Kathmandu):
Follow the instructions for Days 1-3 above.
Travel Day: This is a fast day. On the day of your flight, get up as early as possible. Caffeine should be avoided. Set two watches, one on home time and one on destination time. If your schedule allows, stay active in the early part of the day. Follow home time until 6:00 PM or so, and then switch to destination time. If warranted, try to sleep on the flight until it is breakfast time at your destination.
Arrival Day: This is a feast day. Try to avoid caffeine and snacking and get to sleep at your normal time (destination time). The next day, have a high-protein breakfast and resume a normal schedule as much as possible, fighting the urge to sleep in the middle of the day. Once again, the sooner you can get your body clock readjusted, the better you will feel.
A Guide to Trekking in Nepal - Stephen Bezruchka, 6th Edition, The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA.
Nepali Phrase Book & Tape - Stephen Bezruchka, The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA.
The Snow Leopard - Peter Matthiessen, Peguin Books, New York, NY.
The Hidden Himalayas- Carroll Dunham & Tom Kelly, Abbeville Press, New York, NY.
Kathmandu: City on the Edge of the World - Tom Kelly & Patricia Roberts, Abbeville Press, New York, NY.
Tibet: The Wheel of Life - Carroll Dunham & Tom Kelly, Abbeville Press, New York, NY.
Trekking in Nepal, West Tibet, and Bhutan - Hugh Swift, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, CA.
Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya - Stan Armington, Lonely Planet Publications, Berkeley, CA.
Medicine for Mountaineering, James A. Wilkerson, The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA.
Mountain Sickness: Prevention, Recognition, and
Treatment - Peter Hackett, American Alpine Club,
New York, NY.
Sources for Books on Nepal
The Mountaineers Books
488 Madison Ave.
1011 SW Klickitat Way
26030 Highway 74, P.O. Box 399
New York, NY 10022
Seattle, WA 98134
Kittredge, CO 80457
810 Rt. 17 North
P.O. Box 997-B
Paramus, NJ 07653-0997
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
Sumner, WA 98352-0001
_______ Wool Hat (must cover ears)
_______ 1 Long Undershirt - Polypropylene, Thermax, or Wool
_______ 2 Cotton Shirts/Blouses - long sleeved
_______ 1 Lightweight Wool Sweater/Polarfleece Pullover
_______ 1 Heavy Wool Sweater/Polarfleece Jacket
_______ 1 Wind Jacket - nylon, 60/40 cloth (same as rain jacket if waterproof/breathable - must fit over insulating layers)
_______ 1 Synthetic or Down Insulated Jacket - rated to 20 degrees F
_______ Wool or Synthetic Gloves and/or Mittens
_______ Underwear - several pair
_______ 1 Long Underwear - Polypropylene, Thermax, or Wool
_______ 2 Cotton or lightweight Wool Pants.
_______ 1 pair of cotton long pants and a long cotton skirt is recommended for women.
_______ 1 Cotton Walking Shorts for hot days (should be near the knee in length).
_______ 1 Polarfleece Pants
_______ 4 Thin Liner Socks - synthetic or wool
_______ 4 Mid-weight Wool or Polypropylene Socks
_______ Medium Weight Hiking Boots (Boots should fit comfortably over 1 liner sock and 1 wool sock)
_______ Tennis Shoes/Running Shoes/Teva Sandals for in-camp use (optional)
_______ Waterproof Rain Jacket - coated nylon or Gore-tex
_______ Waterproof Rain Pants - coated nylon or Gore-tex (optional)
_______ Day Pack - large enough to hold an extra layer, rain jacket, water bottle, snacks, and camera
_______ Synthetic or Down Sleeping Bag - rated to 20 degrees F
_______ A XX-large duffel bag that is able to hold the above items
_______ Lock for duffle bag
_______ Passport, visa (unless obtaining it in Nepal), and two extra passport photos
_______ Airline tickets
_______ Bathing suit (one-piece for women)
_______ 2 1-qt. water bottles or canteens
_______ 2 bandannas: multipurpose
_______ 1 flashlight with spare batteries
_______ 1 small towel
_______ 1 toilet kit: Just the essentials—toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, biodegradable soap, small metal mirror
_______ 1 pocket knife
_______ 1 sunglasses or clip-ons with good UV protection
_______ 2 pairs glasses or contact lenses (ample contact lens cleaning supplies)
_______ Diamox 125 mg (1 tablet taken 2x per day, bring enough for 10 days. Tablets may come as 250 mg, cut in half)
_______ Ciprofloxacin 500 mg (1 500 mg tablet 2x day for GI distress. Bring enough for 5 days)
_______ Any other medications you will need to take during the trip.
_______ Sunscreen and Chapstick that have an SPF rating of 15 or higher
_______ Potable Aqua water purifying tablets (one bottle of 50 tablets is enough)
_______ One large plastic garbage bag. This will line your duffel bag when rain is possible.
_______ Passport or money pouch
_______ Journal and pen for writing
_______ Musical instrument
_______ Toys and games
_______ Snacks, GORP, chocolate, etc.
_______ Binoculars (small and lightweight)
_______ Down or synthetic booties
_______ Toilet paper
_______ Collapsible Ski Poles or Telescoping Walking Staff
_______ Crazy Creek Chair or other portable chair
_______ Camera and enough film. Film is available in Kathmandu but expensive. Bring at least 4-6 rolls of ASA 200. If you are concerned about x-ray machines in airports, then we suggest you take your film out of its black plastic case and put the film into a clear plastic bag for an easy search by airport security. X-ray machines in Kathmandu are notorious for ruining film.
 High Altitude Medical Problems, Current Topics in Medicine, Scientific American, 1989.
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