As we countdown to November, we’ll be updating this page with useful, more details information to help you prepare for your trip.
- Which medical insurance do I need?
- What are the race dates and travel dates?
- Do I need a visa for Nepal?
- 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 trousers?
- Can I wash my kit 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 to 5,135 m – 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) will have 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.^Top
3 Do I need a visa for Nepal?
Yes you do but you can get it on arrival in the airport. Bring:
- A passport photo
- A pen (for filling out the form)
- Visa fees are $25/15 days, $40/30days and $100/90 days and have to be paid in any convertible currency but it’s usually cheapest in USD. Have more cash ready in case the fees go up. When paying, be happy that this money is going to maintaining the roads that you will shortly be experiencing.
4 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.^Top
5 Is drinking water provided?
We’ll make sure you are properly hydrated at all times.
Water will be 99% clean and pure in every place we go to, but we’ll not take any risks with the 1%.
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). Retiring to your sleeping bag with a full Nalgene bottle is especially nice. This requires though that trees are chopped for the fire to heat the water!
We will not offer bottled water because there because of the obvious pollution issue – where to put the used bottles?
We will also carry Swiss Katadyn water filters and pumps 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 very useful, like this BeFree.
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.
Tip: Just make sure you have a heat-proof 1 litre bottle for hot water. Nalgene or similar is ideal.^Top
7 Can I come a day early? Can you book a hotel for me?
Yes. Of course. Arriving earlier is not a bad idea. Just let us know what kind of room you want us to book (if you are on a budget for instance) and we’ll arrange for you and you can pay directly with the hotel.^Top
8 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.^Top
9 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 and make eyes as big as dinner plates.
Running tights or slightly square cut shorts will be fine, as will a simple running shirt with sleeves.^Top
10 Do we need waterproof trousers?
The chances of rain are very slim, but never impossible. Waterproof trousers should not be necessary, however a very cheap, light pair of windproof trousers (poor waterproofs) may be useful if it is windy on the high pass.^Top
11 Can I wash my kit along the way? Do I need soap?
It will be easier to take a few sets of clean socks and t-shirts than wash them, but you can wash them. Drying may be a problem in some places is the sun sets behind a mountain ridge for instance, but then you can dry them out in the sun the following day. Sama (after stage 4) is an ideal time to do this. We’ll have a couple of bars of laundry soap for you to use which are fine for cleaning clothes.^Top
12 Can I buy peanut butter in Kathmandu?
You can buy pretty much everything in Kathmandu – even French cheeses. Something might not be the brand of taste you are familiar with, but generally there is no issue with finding what you need.
Special imports can be more expensive however. If you have a dependency on some luxury food item, perhaps better to bring your own supply.
Hi-factor sunscreen you should bring from home, just to be sure. Chocolate also.^Top
13 Power and battery recharging
There is no 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 / powerbank if you can.
Dim the screen brightness on your 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.^Top
14 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. Our first race doctor recommends this Lifesystems Adventurer First Aid Kit – Red which is ‘bulky’ but not at all heavy. Feel free to make and bring your own. See equipment list for more details.^Top
15 Do I need diamox?
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.
Dr Beth McElroy has provided this following info sheet for you.
There is a big downside to diamox. “Acetazolamide (diamox) will still be on the 2018 Prohibited List published by WADA.”^Top
16 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 C. From Sama (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. Check the photos from all stages on Flickr to see what people wear.
After stopping running it can quickly feel cold so this is why you must carry warm clothing – warm hat, down jackets and leg convering in your running pack.^Top
17 Any hot showers available?
Generally the places we stay don’t have hot showers as standard and will point you to the local public tap and give you a bucket. However most lodge owners can give you a bucket of hot water and will charge you some money for it. The higher we get, the more it will cost. It may not be possible before mealtimes as the kitchen will be busy. Sama after stage 4 is a good place for a shower – it has a gas shower.^Top
18 Do I need to bring dehydrated food?
No. You could bring a few dehydrated meals if you want to and we can provide hot water to make them. You may just want a familiar taste at some point. The food we give you is tasty and plentiful.^Top
19 Vaccinations for Nepal?
Yes, you should have vaccinations for Nepal. We’ll be ensuring all of the water you drink is clean and that we all follow a rigorous clean hand policy, which will hugely reduce the risk of getting ill. There is no risk from malaria.
We’ll have a race doctor with us so any treatments you receive will also be quick, clean and professional.
Advice from the travel clinic here in Kathmandu: