Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Nepal 2012 Preparation

Travel on long journeys to far-away countries takes a lot of preparation to minimize the surprises.
Logistics Most of the logistics were coordinated by Tami Ellis of TwoFeetOneWorld, arranging for the Nepalese Guide, the route, the local air transportation, and the food and lodging. Our Nepalese Guide, Ganesh Kulung [website ] arranged for the assistant guides and all the porters. Dandi Sherpa connected us with our Climbing Guide and registered our climbing permits. I was fortunate to see much of these logistics develop and was amazed at the cooperation and collaboration among many people separated by half a world.

Government Stuff
Trekking Visa
Climbing Permits
all have to be in place.

 Insurance- Of course we need Travel Insurance for out-of-country coverage and I checked carefully for 'exclusions' such as dangerous activities, mountain climbing, and being at high altitude. We were sure to be covered for Helicopter Rescue as the risks and costs are high. We also took coverage for Emergency Air Medical Evacuation to transfer us back to Canada for major or complex medical treatment. Fortunately, my treated cancer and permanent colostomy were not factors on the premiums. Unfortunately age was a factor, at 62, but I am happy to be traveling at that age so I paid the premium without complaint.

Immunizations- We each consulted with a Health Travel Professional and got new immunizations or boosters to cover the high risks such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Traveller Diarrhea, and Polio. Most of us chose 'preventive measures' for Rabies and Malaria. We will carry 2 prescriptions for self-medication if needed - Cipro for gastrointestinal problems and Diamox for altitude sickness. I carried both these meds to Nepal last year and didn't need them. Hopefully I won't need them again this year. As these are common over-the-counter meds in Nepal our unused meds are given to the guides and porters.

Weight Gain- Doctor's Orders... "You will lose 10% of your bodyweight and a skinny guy like you can't afford to lose it so gain 15 pounds over the next 6 weeks." I have heard these orders 3 times over my lifetime... Prior to cancer-colostomy surgery, before trekking to Everest BaseCamp Nepal 2011, and now before trekking and climbing Nepal 2012. The routine was the same each time, in 6 weeks I gain 15 pounds and over the following 4 weeks I shed those 15 pounds. For me gaining the weight was a difficult and unpleasant job- eat 5-6 times a day rather than 3, drink 1000 calories a day in powershakes, frequently eat ice cream products for dessert, eat before going to bed, and make all the high carb/high fat choices. While many people envied this diet I really didn't like it at all, but it had to be done.

Airline Tickets- Purchased 6 months in advance to get best pricing... but still expensive

New Gear- All gear has to be carried on someone's back so weight and bulk are minimized. Being kind to our porters our total possessions cannot exceed 25 pounds (11kgs).  So I research products and am very selective to take only high-quality, multi-use, and absolutely essential items. Fortunately I have good gear from prior travels but did need a few specialty items for this trip. A new Osprey backpack with Hydration system, new Julbo trekking and mountaineering glasses, No-Stink Icebreaker merino wool sweater to be worn weeks without a wash, an intense but long-battery-life Petzl headlamp for every night but especially for those nights on the mountains, ColoMajic biodegradable liners, and Comfizz briefs, support belt, and stoma protector. We chose to rent rather than buy our climbing gear as it was unclear if we would do more climbing in the future and the purchase costs were very high.
Fuel- Many of us don't even think about the fuel we use for cooking... It's just the electricity or natural gas that is connected to our houses, but in the countryside of Nepal fuel is a concern. In lower forested areas the fuel is firewood, in higher deforested areas the fuel is yak dung, and in higher elevations the fuel is kerosene. We chose to use portable kerosene stoves for the entire trek and not contribute to the growing problems with deforestation of Nepal. So we pre-arranged to have kerosene bought in Kathmandu, then bussed to Tumlingtar, then carried by porters for our trek.

Hogus -  And of course there was preparation collaborating with StomaWise and The Bowel Movement to get Hogus created, geared, and transported to Canada.

This is Hogus buried in 444 toothbrushes, that we will deliver to Gudel .... so every school child in Gudel will have their very own toothbrush!

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1 comment:

  1. Now, this is one of the kinds of excitement I like the most. Few things in this world can match the adventure of exploring another country.