As we countdown to November, we’ll be updating this page with useful, more details information to help you prepare for your trip. Note the “normal” FAQ page here.
- Which medical insurance do I need?
- What are the race dates and travel dates?
- Do I need a visa for Nepal?
- Do I need a covid certificate?
- Could I bring gifts or donations for a local organization? And what would be best?
- Is drinking water provided?
- Will I get picked up from the airport?
- Can I come a day early? Can you book a hotel for me?
- Can I leave a bag in Kathmandu?
- What clothes should I wear to run in?
- Do we need waterproof jacket and trousers?
- Can I wash my clothing along the way? Do I need soap?
- Can I buy peanut butter in Kathmandu?
- Power and battery recharging.
- Do I need a first aid kit?
- Do I need diamox?
- What are the temperatures we can expect from day to day?
- Any hot showers available?
- Do I need to bring dehydrated food?
- Vaccinations for Nepal?
1/ Which medical insurance do I need?
Key things to look out for:
- Cover for travel above 4000m and less than 6000m – normal trekking / hiking “active” policies will cover this. It is not mountaineering.
- Cover for helicopter evacuation.
- Cover for repatriation to your country for emergency treatment.
- Check small print for “race” entry conditions, though this is not a “professional race” for prize money.
http://www.snowcard.co.uk/ is a good company in the UK. Often your country’s mountaineering organisation (like BMC in the UK, or the Austrian Alpine Association, or ITRA) has an low cost insurance scheme for members. Sometimes it is economic to become a member and take out the insurance.
First see this summary recommendation page here.
2/ What are the race dates and travel dates?
You can see the itinerary here.
3/ Do I need a visa for Nepal?
Yes you do. See here first: https://www.manaslutrailrace.org/faq-2/#14
4/ Do I need a covid certificate?
Usually yes. It will be checked on arrival at the airport, before you go to the immigration process.
If you have not been vaccinated, a valid, recognised PCR test within 72 hours is also valid.
Here are the guidelines issued by the Nepal Embassies.
5/ Could I bring gifts or donations for a local organization? And what would be best?
Yes you could if so inclined. Giving to individuals creates problems and giving to organisations is much better. Schools are an obvious choice.
“Pencils, pens, books (as in exercise books) would be very welcome at either Bihi School which is somewhat off your race track or in Samdo which is a very small school that doesn’t get much help,” says Val.
These items can be bought cheaply in Kathmandu. There are also carefully designed school reading books designed specifically for Nepali children. We can advise you about these books and where to find them.
Generally, if you really want to donate something, we’re happy to put your donation into a pool and buy equipment that is suitable and appropriate for the area.
6/ Is drinking water provided?
We’ll make sure you are properly hydrated at all times, or at least have as much clean water to drink as you need.
Local water taps might be 99% clean in every place we go to, but we’ll not take any risks with the 1%.
We will carry Swiss Katadyn gravity filters to provide enough filtered water for those who require cold water for drinking. This is the most environmentally sensitive option by far. A softbottle filter is also quite useful, like this BeFree.
We provide filtered water at most checkpoints too (except stage 5).
Traditionally in trekking lodges in the mountains, water is provided boiling hot in thermos flasks. As you get higher up this is a pleasant way to stay warm and enjoy your favorite kind of tea (bring some bags). This requires though that trees are chopped for the fire to heat the water and it is expensive, so please be mindful of this and treat hot water as precious.
We will not offer bottled water because there because of the obvious pollution issue – where to put the used bottles?
There is of course always the option of purifying water with tablets such as iodine or, better, chlorine dioxide. It could be handy to have a pack with you just in case you find yourself with no other options on the trail.
Tip: Just make sure you have a heat-proof 1 litre bottle for hot water. A Nalgene bottle or small insulated cup is ideal.
7/ Will I get picked up from the airport?
Yes. Please send us your flight arrival details as soon as you have them. Then we’ll plan to be at the airport waiting to save you from the hoards of taxi drivers.
9/ Can I leave a bag in Kathmandu?
Yes you can. Just make sure it is clearly labelled with your name and we’ll store it at the hotel. In fact we will give you a label for your bag. We give you a ~50 litre duffle bag for the race, which works well on mules and saves your own bag getting damaged.
You can also send a bag to the post-finish hotel with a clean set of clothes, shampoo, wash kit etc. Even swimming trunks, there is a very cold outdoor pool at the post-finish hotel.
Please be brutal with your packing for the mule duffel bag. We can help you with this on the Sunday morning after the briefing.
10/ What clothes should I wear to run in?
It is commonly recommended by people to dress modestly in Nepal: cover your shoulders, no plunging cleavages (for those with big pectoral muscles), and no tiny shorts.
This is more or less fair. Tiny running knickers would be a bit like wearing a bikini in a library – a bit out of place.
Running tights or slightly square cut shorts will be fine, as will a simple running shirt with sleeves. People know what you are doing, and understand the dress used for this.
11/ Do we need waterproof jacket and trousers?
The chances of rain or snow are very slim, but never impossible. It has rained twice on Stage 4 in 10 years. If it does rain / snow, then it will be dangerously cold. Rain is unlikely to be heavy, but your jacket should keep water off your dry clothes underneath for at least a couple of hours.
Waterproof trousers should not be necessary, however a cheap, lightweight pair of windproof trousers (poor waterproofs) will be essential crossing the high pass so should be packed.
12/ Can I wash my clothing along the way? Do I need soap?
Best avoided. It will be easier to take a few sets of clean socks and t-shirts than wash them, but you can wash them. Drying is a problem in some places as the sun sets behind a mountain ridge, for instance, but then you could try to dry them out in the sun the following day. Sama (after stage 4) is the ideal time to do this, but still better to avoid carrying wet clothes with you, by reusing your running clothes and socks. Dust out the socks at the end of the stage, wash your feet on arrival. Consider a merino wool t-shirt as your running shirt. It’s won’t smell even if you do. Consider a face cloth for washing armpits and wiping over your body.
14/ Power and battery recharging.
There is limited power in four of the places where we stay. In Samdo, they switch on the hydro-plant at 5pm. Hopefully most cameras or GPSs will need just a couple of charges.
Bring a charged spare battery pack / power bank if you can – 10000mA is great. If you don’t use this at home, you could donate to the staff afterwards, as they always struggle with charging.
To increase battery life, dim the screen brightness on your phone / camera, this will increase battery life as does airplane mode for phone.
Micro-hydro plants can break down or freeze. Don’t be disappointed if there is a problem with the electricity. It’s a normal occurrence for the lights to go out in Nepal.
When you see that there is electricity, charge your batteries immediately, it may not last for long.
15/ Do I need a first aid kit?
Yes. You need to carry a small first aid kit with you to manage blisters, cuts and bruises etc. You should be able to clean and dress small wounds. The doctor is not able to fix your blisters.
16/ Do I need diamox?
No. We can discuss use of diamox at the race briefing. Many people use it prophylactically to improve acclimatisation though it can have some minor side-effects. It is freely available to buy in Kathmandu and cheap. We’ll also carry a good supply of diamox in our medical kit so you don’t need to buy or bring.
Dr Beth McElroy has provided this following info sheet for you.
There is a technical downside to diamox. “Acetazolamide (diamox) will still be on the 2018 Prohibited List published by WADA,” says Dr McElroy.
17/ What are the temperatures we can expect from day to day?
There is a big variation from the first day to the pass. We are expecting stable, sunny conditions though that cannot be guaranteed of course.
The first days can be hot and shorts and t-shirt will be suitable until evening time.
At the end of stage 2 – you’ll feel better in warm jacket and hat in the evening. From stage 3 – it will be cold, probably just below zero centigrade. From Samagaon (end stage 4) to Bimtang (start stage 7), then you will be wearing a big down jacket, hat, warm pants when not running, and when running, depending if there is wind or cloud, people might choose to wear running tights and add a thin fleece. A hat against the sun, buff, and sunglasses advised.
After stopping running it can quickly feel cold so this is why you must carry warm clothing – warm hat, down jackets and leg covering in your running pack.
19/ Do I need to bring dehydrated food?
No. You don’t need to bring any food with you. You could bring a few dehydrated meals if you really want to and we can provide hot water to prepare them. The food we give you is tasty, healthy and plentiful. If anything, you may want to bring some energy bars, gels or favorite chocolate.
20/ Vaccinations for Nepal?
Yes, you should have vaccinations for Nepal. Please read this advice from the Centers for disease control and prevention in the USA:
From a point of view of vaccinations, we will clearly not be spending long periods living in a rural village in Nepal coming into contact with large numbers of people, or travelling to the warmer plains etc etc. and indeed traveling in an area with low population and lower temperatures.
We’ll be ensuring all of the water you drink is filtered and that we all (including staff) follow a rigorous clean-hand policy, which will substantially reduce the risk of getting ill. There is no risk from malaria.
We have a race doctor with us so any treatments you receive will also be rapid and professional.
This said, immunisations are a precaution against very serious diseases. While to our knowledge no previous participant has suffered from any disease listed on the page above, and we feel that the risk of serious illness on this trip is low compared to other modes of travel, it is important that you make your immunisation plan based upon advice from a medical professional. As a minimum, we’d advise that you make sure you are up to date with Hepatitis A and Typhoid (plus the routine vaccinations).