Hi it’s Paul here,
Just a short update to let you know about my progress in selecting a company to organize logistics for my Everest expedition in March 2007.
Over the past two months I have been busy talking to a number of companies to get an understanding of the services that they supply. I have considered options ranging from fully guided with one of the main western companies, to some of the smaller western companies, through to directly engaging a local Nepalese company to organize the logistics.
Before our 2006 climb, I was concerned about being part of a group that had to move together on the mountain. I was worried about the consequences of feeling pressure to move when you were not personally ready. In my case, I got a chest infection in April, which took me over two weeks to recover, but Fiona and I were able to sit at base camp and wait until we were totally ready to move up. I am not sure what would have happened if we not able to have this recovery time.
There are several Nepalese companies that can organize the logistics for an Everest expedition. As far as I know, all the Western companies engage the services of local outfitters to provide base camp services, securing a climbing permit, hiring of Sherpas, provision of most food, tents, stoves, fuel etc.
I am warming to the idea of going direct to a Nepalese company and supporting their economy. My observations this year were that the Nepalese really ran the show as far as logistics were concerned, and this has given me some confidence for going direct. So at this stage I am definitely leaning more towards using a local company rather than a Western one.
Along with a long list of questions about the group structure and company’s history on the mountain, I’m also particularly interested in the type of oxygen system they use and the quality of their food and equipment. I’ve been doing quite a lot of research on the oxygen systems and I’ve decided I want to use new Poisk oxygen bottles that have been filled by Poisk in St. Petersburg, and a new regulator. Combined with a TopOut mask (just put my order in yesterday morning), I think that this will give me the best chance of success and most importantly, safety.
I’ve also decided to hire a personal Sherpa to climb with me throughout the expedition (as Fiona and I did this year). I think if there’s one thing anyone can do to improve their safety on the mountain, it would be to hire a personal Sherpa. You never know exactly what’s going to happen up there, how you’ll feel, or what your judgment will be like, so I think its only common sense to climb with a partner (and the Sherpas definitely make excellent partners).
A couple of people have contacted me saying that they are also trying to decide on a company to organize an expedition to the South side of Everest in Spring 2007, so if there any other people out there who are interested in joining me in my search and sharing what information you have, I encourage you to contact me. I have been trying to talk to as many people as possible who have climbed with each company, so if you have any suggestions, please post a message.
So far, the organisations I have been in touch with are:
High Altitude Dreams
Sherpa Shangri-La Treks & Expeditions
Are there any others that you would recommend or some that you would not recommend? Have you used any of these? If so, I’d be very interested to hear from you. I encourage you to post your question, comment or suggestion to the site because it’s most likely other readers will also be interested in what you have to say. We prefer you to only use direct email if your message is strictly personal, commercially sensitive or you really don’t want it to be aired publicly.
Bye for now,