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How Hard is it to Trek to Everest Base Camp?

If you’re like us, you have a mantra: work, save, travel, repeat. 

And as you repeat that wonderful cycle, a few adventures will naturally drift to the top of your list. These are the Big Treks – the ones you don’t just save money for but the ones you save your entire being for. Your strength, your motivation, your enthusiasm – and your camera memory cards. And none is higher on the list than the classic trek to Everest Base Camp trek.

But how hard is the Everest Base Camp trek? Can the average active person do it? What are the best tips for success? What should I know before I book it?

Do not fear! When you travel with a company who has been operating the Everest Base Camp Trek for as long as we have (since 1975) you can succeed. A well paced, high quality trek will only get you so far, you still need to put in the work to be trek fit. 

To increase your chances of completing the Everest Base Camp trek there's a few things that you must do, starting as much as three months before you fly to Nepal. Our advice comes from our nearly 50 years of experience helping people achieve their Everest Base Camp goal and introducing them to this beautiful part of the world.

The Everest Base Camp challenge in numbers

First, let’s break down the challenge to see if it is something you think you can achieve:

• a well paced trek takes a minimum of 13 days, with all the trek days at altitude (altitude is typically anything above 2,440m/8,000 feet). Be wary of shorter treks as in our experience they ascend too quickly or compromise on rest days, which makes the challenge much harder. Remember, you might only get one shot at this;

• each day you will walk between 4 to 8 hours at altitude, depending on your fitness (even if you are fit, we advise you to walk slowly);

• be prepared for below freezing conditions between December and February at night, especially once you get over 4000m;

• the trek distance is roughly 130km round trip, which might not seem long over 13 days, but you are at altitude and some of the 13 days are used to rest and acclimatise; and

• you are aiming for the high point at Kala Pattar (5545m/18,193 feet). Kilimanjaro is 5,895m

If you feel comfortable with these numbers then you're a good candidate for reaching Kala Pattar, the traditional viewpoint for Mount Everest.

Thyangboche Monastery, the spiritual heart of the Khumbu region |  <i>Kelvin Law</i>

Getting fit for Everest Base Camp trek

If you are of reasonable fitness, you can trek to Everest Base Camp. We define reasonable fitness as being able to walk over rough ground with a daypack for 7 hours with only short stops.

The fitter you are the more you can relax and enjoy the trek to Base Camp. 

The first task for those considering a trek to Everest Base Camp is to ensure your 'cardio’ is in shape. That means doing any type of exercise that increases your heart rate and keeps it up for a prolonged period. We recommend doing any activity that makes you move and do it more often and for longer periods of time.

Most people will think of running, cycling, and walking as ways to improve their cardio, but there are many fun ways like dancing, jumping rope, playing sports (e.g., soccer), swimming, boxing, and rowing. Just find the activity you like best and do it more often. We recommend you start at least three months before your trek, better still, six months if you can.

You should consider a half hour of gym machine or outdoor training three to four times per week the bare minimum. If you can, strive to make your workouts roughly twice that amount, or at least work towards that goal of an hour of exercise three times per week with a greater goal of five times per week. 

If you stick to your plan, you should be able to reach this level of fitness within a few weeks.

Getting 'trek fit'

As well as a decent level of cardio fitness, you’ll want to work on balance and strength. 

The trekking route to Everest Base Camp covers ground ranging from dirt and mud to gravel and rocks – maybe even some snow. So, you’ll want to improve your balance and your strength. Most exercises you do for cardio will improve balance and knee/leg strength, but exercises like step ups, squats, heel-to-toe walking, yoga, and tai chi can help specifically with balance and strength.

If you’re getting fit in the gym, remember to crank up the difficulty of the running machine or the step machine so it mimics an uphill trail. Do the same outdoors, opting for hills over flats. There is no better training than actually walking up a hill outside, whatever the weather.

The truth is that fitness is relative. Some 60 year olds will have an easier time on this trek than many 20 year olds. It's important to know your limits and go at your own pace.

Also, it’s important to remember that for the most part you’ll be trekking on consecutive days, so being mentally prepared to trek day after day will help your preparation.

Get proper footwear - and break them in early

Never underestimate the power of a shoe – their sole job is to take you to where you want to be. They will be your best friends on a multi-day trek so if you have to purchase a pair don't skimp, and then break them in early to avoid blisters on the trail.

You need sturdy hiking boots for this trek. Whether they are ankle high or low cut is up to you. Whether a flexible shoe or a stiff boot, they’ll need to be broken in before you begin. You should allow at least a month of training time to get them broken in. You can read some of our footwear tips here.

Acclimatising correctly

Few of us live at high altitudes so anything above 2500m is a foreign environment for most of us. Done correctly, trekking altltiude isn't something that your body can't adapt to.

Acclimatising to a higher elevation each day is the goal, and the best way to achieve that is to travel slowly. We schedule our treks to Everest Base Camp for 13 days so you can ascend slowly and have acclimatisation rest days at key points along the trail. The extra day gives your body a better chance to acclimatise and will maximise your chances of successfully completing your trek. 

For added reassurance, our treks are led by first aid trained local guides equipped with a comprehensive medical kit and portable altitude chamber for safety.

Oh, and remember to drink lots of water at altitude.

Eating correctly on trek

Climbing any mountain for many days requires a lot of personal fuel. Our Everest Base Camp trekking staff serve meals freshly prepared by our cooks three times a day on the mountain, and between meals it’s important to snack. 

Having food included on your trek is a huge bonus for many reasons, you can read the 7 reasons why we include meals on treks.

Our guides also stop regularly during the trek to check in on you and see how you’re doing. Our Nepali guides and staff have spent many years working in the mountains of Nepal and know how to travel efficiently. We employ and train local experts in order to contribute to the local economy, which helps both visitors and local residents.

Avoiding dehydration is critical. Your body loses water through respiration twice as fast at high altitude as it does at sea level. Make sure you carry an appropriate amount of water and keep sipping it.

Yak sighting at Everest Base Camp |  <i>Sally Dobromilsky</i>

What’s you'll carry in your daypack?

The most important things you’ll want to bring in your daypack are water bottles (minimum 2), layers of clothing, a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, snacks, and a camera.

Clothing you can layer, to take on and off as required, is extremely important. The ambient temperature changes as the day progresses, and your body will work to adjust to the changes and keep you comfortable. So, it’s important to be able to adjust your temperature. We recommend a thick base layer plus two thermal layers and a shell jacket at a minimum. 

A big down jacket is especially nice when taking sunrise and sunset photos. We provide that on our treks.

You don’t need to have all these layers in your daypack, but a couple are welcome as you get higher. Your guide will let you know at breakfast what to carry. Learn more about layering.

Choosing a good quality trek

There’s nothing harder than trekking all day then having to set up a camp and prepare food and water. On our treks, you can relax and enjoy the scenery with like-minded souls and new Nepali friends at the end of a great day rather than doing extra work.

Our experience has shown that camping is a more hygienic way to trek to Everest Base Camp, rather than staying at tea-houses. Enjoy more privacy at our own private Eco-Comfort campsites complete with heated mess tents and standing tents which feature raised beds and thick mattresses for extra warmth and comfort. 

You’ll also save a lot of money on gear by choosing a trek that includes it. Our treks include a souvenir kit bag and a trek pack, which includes a high-quality sleeping bag, a down jacket and more – a US$500 value.

Here's 8 things you should look for in a high quality trek in Nepal.

Preparation = Confidence

The reason we suggest approaches to training, boots/shoes, gear, and other things is because these items build your confidence and it’s your confidence that plays as big a role as anything else we've outlined. Just remember the old Chinese proverb: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

With thoughtful and careful preparation, you can successfully take that first step towards your dream Everest Base Camp Trek.

What Months are Rainy Season in Africa & Can I Visit?

So, you’ve got a visit to southern Africa high on your wish list and want to make sure you are planning your trip at the right time of year. There are good reasons to plan your trip in January and February, which is a period known as the rainy season, or green season, in Africa. 

What is the African Rainy Season Like?

The rainy season in Africa is nothing like what people in the northern hemisphere are used to in their autumns. No constant drizzles or downpours, but often a refreshing and welcoming thunderstorm in the evening after a warm and dry day. It’s actually a really good time to visit.

 
Desert camping on the 'African wilderness in comfort' trip |  <i>Peter Walton</i> Waterhole's draw large herds of elephant close to camp |  <i>Kylie Turner</i> Breathtaking sunset in Spitzkoppe, Namibia |  <i>Gesine Cheung</i>
 

Why Visit During the African Rainy Season? 

There are various reasons to visit southern Africa during the rainy season:

  • Hot & dry during the day, welcoming rainfall in the evening and overnight
  • Witness how the desert comes to live overnight, which is a wonderful spectacle to experience
  • Often there are good flight deals after Christmas and New Year
  • Be there before the bushes have grown thicker after the rainy season, to have better chances to look between them for wildlife.
 

Best African adventures in January & February

Some of the trips that offer fantastic travel experiences in southern Africa during the rainy season are:

  

 

 

Want to speak to a real person about planning your active African adventure? We have offices around the world, find the office nearest to you now.

 

 

Australian Walking Holidays Awarded Highest Level of Certification from Ecotourism Australia

With the number of companies out there now offering adventure travel, it’s a big deal when you achieve recognition from your peers.

Our Australian domestic division, Australian Walking Holidays has done just that. 

Recently, its entire range of active holidays was awarded certification in all three programs by Ecotourism Australia and included in the prestigious Green Travel Guide

The three programs are; 

  • Advanced Ecotourism Certification, 
  • Respecting our Culture Certification, and 
  • Climate Action Business Certification.

“I am absolutely thrilled that our combined efforts to deliver tours of the highest standards of sustainability have been recognised with this triple program certification,” said Michael Buggy, Australian Walking Holidays General Manager. “Many of the areas in which we operate are places of astonishing natural beauty and are often of great significance to Indigenous people.”

The triple certification by Ecotourism Australia assures travellers that the experience they are booking with Australian Walking Holidays has been independently verified for its commitment to sustainable practices.

With the award, Australian Walking Holidays becomes one of only 20 businesses in Australia to achieve certification across all three programs.

According to Buggy, the months-long certification process involved a rigorous examination of the company’s environmental management plan, including its initiatives in wildlife conservation, its Indigenous cultural respect and representation, and its operational practices to effectively measure and minimize its carbon footprint.

“We hope this independent accreditation gives travellers even greater confidence that they are travelling sustainably and respectfully when they travel with us,” Mr Buggy said. “We welcome the regular audits by independent experts from Ecotourism Australia that are part of ongoing accreditation to ensure we maintain best practice,” he said.

Ecotourism Australia CEO, Elissa Keenan, commended the achievement.

“We are proud to see Australian Walking Holidays achieve certification in all three programs, showcasing to travellers that their tours across Australia uphold global best practice sustainability standards in environmental protection, Indigenous cultural respect and representation, and climate action,” she said.

Australian Walking Holidays offers a range of active holidays in every State and Territory except the ACT. It is Australia’s most experienced operator of high-quality, small group Australian walking holidays and its exclusive itineraries are all 100 percent carbon offset.

7 teahouse trekking myths debunked

Tossing up between going on a teahouse trekking trip and a camp-based trek in Nepal? We sift through some myths and drill down into the facts on how the two really compare.

While teahouse-based treks in the Himalaya may incorporate some eco-friendly measures, often these ‘green’ initiatives are not as 'green' as they appear. In fact, the use of wood in the construction of teahouses and for cooking and heating are just some of the reasons why your environmental footprint may not be as small as you initially thought.

And what about supporting local communities?  How do teahouses compare to eco camps?

Myth 1: Staying at a teahouse is environmentally friendlier than camping

Despite a drop in visitors to Nepal following the 2015 earthquake, tourism figures to Nepal are recovering with almost a million people visiting in 2017. According to the Nepal Tourism Board, the first three months of 2018 saw a 14.2% increase in international tourists compared to the previous year. While this growth has benefitted Nepal’s economy, it adds stress to the country's natural environments – and is a major contributor to deforestation.

In a mountainous country such as Nepal, deforestation poses a huge threat, with an increased risk of landslides in deforested areas.  Teahouses are constructed primarily of wood sourced locally – which is a major cause of deforestation. In addition, teahouses rely primarily on wood for heating and cooking. While burning wood translates to lower costs for teahouses, it contributes to a much greater cost on the environment.

The vast majority of locals are heavily dependent on fuel-wood, with 64% of households burning wood for cooking, and 95% of this wood sourced from nearby mountain regions.

When you add the demand for wood generated by tourism, deforestation becomes a very serious problem,  increasing the incidence of landslides and flash flooding during the monsoon season, leading to food insecurity, loss of biodiversity and sadly, on some occasions, entire villages.

What about eco camps?

Eco campsites use very little wood. Kerosene or gas are the fuel used for cooking. Dried yak dung is used for heating common areas, which are constructed using stone, cement and tin, rather than wood. Where it is necessary to use timber for construction, it is sustainably sourced from Nepal's controlled forestry suppliers outside of the region. As well as these huge environmental benefits, tent life in the Himalaya has the added benefit of encouraging a connection with nature and the outdoors.

Semi-permanent eco camps in the Annapurna region. Photo: Mark Tipple.

Showers are powered by hydro or solar heating systems and bathrooms are housed with flushing, composting and septic, western-style toilets and hand basins. All non-biodegradable refuse – paper and plastic – is incinerated in a clean and complete burn, with non-combustible waste safely carried out to the nearest city for responsible disposal.

There's no doubt that the environmental impact of our camp-based treks are significantly smaller than standard lodge-based and teahouse trekking trips.

When there is no other option available - when land permits do not allow wilderness camping in certain areas - you do stay in ecolodges on the World Expeditions trips. In this situation, we choose to stay in those which will have minimal environmental impact and are in line with our responsible travel policy, of not using wood for heating and using the World Expeditions supplied incinerators for rubbish disposal where appropriate.

 

 

Myth 2: Teahouses spread tourism dollars to more locals than eco campsites

Teahouses are often run by locals, but they are not a traditional part of the culture as they were built to cater for the growth in tourism. Those lucky enough to own a teahouse business are fortunate to have a source of income that is often restricted to the small group of locals they employ.

What about camping based treks?

Camp-based treks spread money more widely to sections of the community that don’t have the resources to own a teahouse and employ around 25% more local people than on a teahouse trek.

The regular crew employed on every trek consists of a guide, assistant guides, cook and kitchen crew, trekking Sherpas and porters. Our wilderness camps require an even bigger crew of porters, with more gear to carry.

As well as the employment opportunities that these treks provide, the semi-permanent campsites are situated on land leased to us annually, with tourism dollars going directly to local land owners, who are also paid to operate and maintain the campsites. This not only provides a steady income for local families, it also reduces the effects of seasonality by extending the season, with guides and porters working during the off-season to set up and maintain the camps.

 

 

Expect on all our treks to be served up with healthy and nutritious meals from locally grown food, which are sourced as we trek. By purchasing fresh produce and supplies from a range of communities along the trail, we're helping provide an income source to farmers, further benefitting the local economy. It's a win-win situation!

As members of the International Porter Protection Group and the International Mountain Explorers Connection, we operate our treks to ensure the health and well-being of porters globally. In Nepal, a good working wage is provided, which is regulated by the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal and the Labour Union of Nepal, as well as providing life insurance and income protection insurance for all our porters.

What's more, our guides are trained well above the industry standard, receiving extensive first aid and medical training from Dr Ross Anderson of Adventure Medical Consulting, and on the field training courses on leadership, group management and responsible travel practices. This training teaches life skills which can assist locals in other career paths, such as transitioning from a porter to a guide or teaching English.

Myth 3: It’s more sanitary to stay in a teahouse than at a campsite

With the revolving door of trekkers arriving from around the world, it's vital that standards are consistently high, to avoid the spread of illness and infectious disease. The extensive network of teahouses along the regular and most popular routes in the Annapurna, Everest and other areas vary considerably in the quality and service standards they provide. No doubt, some are meeting safe standards of cleanliness and hygienic food preparation but some are not.

Unfortunately, not all accommodation you come across on a teahouse trekking tour are operated equally and there can be large variations in the level of training and consequent knowledgeable of kitchen staff. To save money, some may even cut costs when it comes to food preparation, adding to the chance of experiencing the adverse affects of poor standards in sanitation and hygiene.

Inside the living quarters of a teahouse. Photo: Greg Willis (CC)

For some teahouse trekkers, it’s even become a necessary gear item to bring their own sheets, blankets and pillow cases to safeguard against bedbugs. With that in mind, it’s best to investigate the state of a teahouse, including the showering, restroom and bedroom facilities, when booking.

What about eco camps?

A camper rearranging his bedding to catch the sunshine during his trek on the Everest Circuit and Cho La Pass. Photo: Heike Krumm.

We make sure that your stay at our exclusive eco camps isn’t just adequate; it’s homey, priding ourselves in providing clean and comfortable housing for all campers with beddings and pillowcases cleaned after every use. There are also sanitary, Western-style sit toilets and most of our campsites are fitted with hot showers.

You’ll also have added peace of mind knowing your three-course meals are freshly prepared following quality control standards by trained cooks to minimise the possibility of becoming ill.

Myth 4: Teahouses are warmer than camping

Ask any trekker who has stayed in a teahouse and they'll tell you the bedroom areas are like cool rooms with paper thin walls. To put it bluntly, they are cold, uninsulated and draughty.

What about eco camps?

It is in fact, tents – particularly the calibre of our semi-permanent, double skinned tents – that are a far warmer option.

With sewn-in floors and mattresses on raised beds, our tents provide cosy sleeping quarters with the option of additional blankets. Simply zip then up to keep out those brisk Himalayan breezes.

Our trekkers seem to love them and we do too given the small environmental footprint they represent.

Myth 5: Teahouses offer a deeper Nepalese experience than camping

Staying at a lodge means you can meet other travellers from around the world. It's great fun hearing about fellow trekkers' experiences through the region. You may also have a chance to meet locals working in the tea house, but it’s a completely different experience when a crew is travelling with you for consecutive days on a trek.

What about eco camps?

The privacy and seclusion of our eco camps offer a real wilderness experience away from tourist crowds, as well as providing opportunities to meet and get to know local staff and dedicated porters. Camping gives you the opportunity to stay closer to local communities, to experience their culture and, of course, to appreciate the natural surrounds.

Porters posing for a photo.

Myth 6: Teahouses provide a truly remote stay

Select teahouses offer accommodation in stunning Himalaya backdrops and these are often along popular tourist trails. Sure, a four-walled room does have the perks of privacy, but you should also factor in their thin walls and the constant influx of tourists visiting these places.

Often, their communal areas can get crowded as they pack in as many tourists who are willing to pay for a meal or place to rest, where there can be long waits when dining.

A teahouse on Thorong La pass. Photo: Sergey Ashmarin (CC)

What about eco camps?

As much as we want you to feel at home in your accommodation, camping in dramatic areas of the Everest or Annapurna regions offers a different experience that allows you to reconnect with nature and breaks you away from many of the conveniences of western-life.

Our Dzongla eco camp, for example,  is situated right beside the steep north face of Cholatse (6,440m), with Ama Dablam (6,812m) coming into view, so you are greeted with spectacular 360-degree views from the moment you unzip your tent. Waking up to views of the Nepali wilderness and chains of Himalaya giants makes for truly special moments and a memorable trekking experience.

Waking up to beautiful views in Lespar.

You can enjoy ‘down time’ in an authentic Nepali atmosphere in our common room areas, which are designed to suit the camp capacity. These areas are heated and well-kept, making for a comfortable place to enjoy a hearty meal after a day’s trek, to read a book or play some card games with fellow trekkers.

And the best part about our campsites is that you won’t need to completely sacrifice western conveniences. Similar to teahouses, some of our campsites offer battery charging stations for your electronic gadgets although this may come at a cost charged by the camp managers as another form of income for them. Prices can vary from no charge up to 2200 rupees ($20 USD) per charge, depending on the remoteness of the campsite.

 

 

Myth 7: Teahouse trekking is all-inclusive

After a long day of trekking, all you want to do is sit down and enjoy a hot, delicious meal. But like the majority of teahouse stays, the costs of meals are not included; and the higher you hike, the more expensive the prices will get. Usually, you’re looking at spending around US$45 per day for meals, tea, coffee and water, often with a limited selection of foods which are largely fried.

It's also important to note that you will need to buy your own water on a teahouse trekking trip which can add up on your total expenses. These are also usually supplied in single-use plastic bottles, which aggregates to the plastic waste in the region that can be difficult to dispose of correctly in the more remote areas.

What about eco camps?

One of the advantages of World Expeditions’ camping-based treks is that, once on-trek, all your hot drinks and meals are included in the trip cost. So, you won’t need to worry about arranging payments, carrying large amounts of cash for that matter, or waiting in line for your meal to be prepared.  Just sit back, relax in the beauty of your surrounds and enjoy the company of your fellow trekkers while your crew prepare meals, tidy up and wait on you.

We can also cater to special dietary requirements, housing a wholesome and nutritious menu of local and western cuisines – you can even go for seconds at no additional cost!

Every trekker is provided with ample, potable water that has been boiled to not only provide safe, clean drinking water, but to eliminate the need for single-use plastic bottles. So, you can rest assured that you are well taken care of for the entire journey of your trek while knowing that you are travelling at minimal impact to the environment.

 

 

The bottom line

Teahouse trekking can be seen to be a more affordable option but often at the risk of quality control and hygiene standards, and a lack of meal inclusions. Some are housed with western-style conveniences but you’ll generally find the accommodation to be very basic. During high seasons, however, it’s important to note that teahouses can get quickly booked out and prices of the rooms will vary on trail location, altitude and accessibility.

Alternatively, camp-based treks provide a classic style of trekking in Nepal with the support of a local crew, including porters, cooks and guides. Although this may look to be a pricier option, once you add in meal costs, hot drinks, water and the initiatives supporting sustainable practices, it’s definitely a style of travel worth experiencing.

What were your accommodation and food experiences like when trekking in Nepal? Let us know in the comments below.

How Hard Is it to Climb Kilimanjaro?

Climbing Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, is a bucket list item for active adventurers the world over, and while its summit falls short of the 6,000-metre mark, that doesn’t mean it’s a cinch.

But as soon as you might add ‘Kili’ to your list of dream adventures, you’ll start wondering 'can I do it?'

If you’ve been to Nepal’s Everest region, you’ll know that Everest Base Camp is 5360m and a well-paced itinerary will take as long as 9 days to get there, including rest days. The height of Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in the European Alps, is 4,809m. Climbing Kili will be the toughest thing that many people who attempt it will ever do in the outdoors.

Climbing Kilimanjaro does require a certain level of fitness, but the average active person can achieve the summit if they’re prepared both physically and mentally.

The Challenge

If the following important points about climbing Kili doesn’t put you off taking on the challenge, then mentally you’re already halfway up the mountain:

• most of the ascent is between 2,500m and 5,895m (8,000 and 19,320 feet), so this is a genuinely high mountain trek at high altitudes – be prepared;

• the climbs are typically seven to eight days, and there are no ‘rest days’;

• while porters will carry most of your gear, you’ll still carry up to 8 kilos per day (water, snacks, personal items, etc.), mostly at altitude;

• if you get cannot complete the climb due to lack of fitness or feeling the effects of altitude there is no refund;

• you will be hiking as much as 1,000m in elevation on certain days, notably on summit days for most of these climbs; and

• summit day is very long, up to 15 hours. Climbing to 5,895m you’ll have half the oxygen you have at sea level as well as a grueling descent of more than 2,000m.

Is Kilimanjaro a Technical Mountain?

In mountaineering, ‘technical’ means using equipment like ropes. Kilimanjaro is a trekking peak, so there is no special mountaineering equipment or skills required other than an excellent level of fitness.

Training for Success on Kili: Increase Your Weekly Exercise

While our experienced guides and porters will take care of you on the mountain by preparing your camps and meals and showing you the beauty of the flora and fauna on the mountain, they can’t climb the mountain for you. Even if you’re in peak physical condition, you must train to really enjoy the trek.

Our most important suggestion for training for Kilimanjaro is to take any form of exercise you normally do (i.e., exercise you enjoy) and crank up the level of that exercise. If you’re a runner, run farther. If you’re a cyclist, cycle farther. At a bare minimum you should be doing at least 5 hours of training spread across several days per week. If you normally walk or run 5kms three mornings per week, try walking or running 7kms four mornings per week. And when that seems normal, push up the length or frequency of the walks/runs. We recommend you start training at least three months before your trip to Tanzania.

Porter heading towards Kilimanjaro |  <i>Kyle Super</i> Trekkers on Kilimanjaro's Uhuru Summit |  <i>Kyle Super</i> Stunning weather overhead as we arrive at Barranco Wall |  <i>Heike Krumm</i> Trekkers descending Mount Kilimanjaro |  <i>Peter Brooke</i>
 

Train on Hills

Also, try to train on ground that is sloping. Whenever you can, train on hills. The difference between training on a slope and training on level ground is quite big, and the benefits of hillwalking and running are huge.

The five things you’re aiming to improve while you prepare for your Kilimnajaro climb are physical strength (especially in the legs), endurance, flexibility, balance, and mental preparedness.

Train for the Hardest Parts

Training in adverse conditions can help you prepare mentally. Rolling out of a sleeping bag in -20°C temperatures in the dark is not everyone’s idea of fun, so if you can get into a routine of getting up before the sun in a cold setting, try it. It will help you mentally.

Put Yourself in a ‘Kili Mindset’

Pretend you’re on the mountain while you train. Wear the boots you recently bought for the trip while you train. (That’ll help break them in, too, which is very important.) Wear a daypack and put as much weight as you can in it while training. Get used to your pack – it will become part of you. Picture yourself there. Wear the clothes you might wear on Kili and take off layers as you warm up.

Rest and Recover

Overtraining is not uncommon. If your physical exercise is too demanding, you risk injury, which certainly doesn’t help your ability to climb a mountain, especially if your departure date is getting closer.

Spot incredible African wildlife on a game viewing safari

Acclimatisation on Kili

As mentioned, there are no rest days on standard Kilimanjaro climbs. You may want to choose a longer route, or add one or two acclimatisation days to your trek up Kili. Talk to our experts if you’d like to tailor such an experience.

Also, think of a warm-up climb before Kili. Mount Meru, Kili’s little sister, is within a few miles of our base in Arusha, and the summit lies at 4,566m. An ascent takes four days, but it will vastly improve your experience on Kili.

The best acclimatisation strategy is to just climb the mountain slowly and keep sipping water to avoid being dehydrated. When you get on a trail, our Kili porters will constantly urge, ‘pole pole’ (‘polay-polay’), which means slow in Swahili. Take their advice. The slower you go, the better your chances of reaching Uhuru Peak.

Fuel & Hydration

Climbing a mountain for eight days requires a lot of personal fuel. Our East Africa staff serve fresh veggies and proteins three times a day on the mountain, and between meals it’s important to snack.

Our guides also stop during the morning and afternoon for tea. Tea breaks, as any afficionado knows, aren’t really about the liquid (although that doesn’t hurt). They’re about taking a half hour to check on yourself. Are you keeping up with the group? Are you hurting anywhere? Do you have a blister?

Avoiding dehydration is critical. According to our medical advisor, Dr Ross Anderson, mild dehydration is common in those who are active in the mountains and is a result of more water leaving the body than is taken on board. On average, 1.5 litres to 3 litres of water is required per day in an adult at sea level. However, more water is required when acclimatising to high altitudes. Read his full article, The Importance of Hydration at Altitude.

What to Bring

The most important things you’ll want to bring in your daypack are water bottles, layers of clothing, a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, snacks, and a camera. You don’t need to worry about finding water on the mountain – your guide will take care of that. But you need to bring containers for as much water as you’ll consume while hiking, whether that’s one 1-litre bottle or four. Again, we can’t reiterate enough how important water is.

Remember to get what you need for the day out of the bags carried by the porters. In the mornings, they will pack whatever you give them in their big bags then start up the mountain. While the guide stays with you, the porters are often soon several kilometers ahead of the group and you might not see them until everyone stops for lunch. So, if you might want your camera during the morning’s hiking, make sure it’s in your day pack.

Also, the air gets 6.5°C colder with every 1,000 meters of elevation gain, so having clothing that you can layer is extremely important. We recommend a thick base layer plus two thermal layers and a shell jacket at a minimum. A big down jacket is especially nice when taking sunrise and sunset photos. You don’t need to have all these layers in your daypack, but a couple are welcome as you get higher. Learn more about layering.

When to Climb Kilimanjaro

East Africa has two wet seasons and two dry seasons every year. 

Our Kili climbs take place during the dry seasons, December to mid-March and mid-June to the end of October. Most days during the dry season are sunny and clear, so a broad-brimmed hat and appropriate sunscreen are strongly recommended. It’s important to remember that because the air is thinner at altitude, there is a 6 to 10 percent increase in UV exposure for every 300m of elevation. Climbing high mountains puts you at greater risk for skin cancer.

Guides & Staff

Our East Africa guides and staff have spent many years working on Kilimanjaro and know the mountain like the backs of their hands. Some of them have climbed the mountain more than 200 times! World Expeditions employs and trains local experts in order to contribute to the local economy, which helps both visitors and local residents. These friendly folks will become close friends, especially on the final day as you descend back to the forests and farmland on the lower stretches of the mountain.

So, Can I Climb Kilimanjaro?

Yes, the average active person can climb Kilimanjaro, but you obviously need to be prepared. The more you train physically, the more you prepare mentally, the more you stay positive and the more you make your ascent a fun project rather than a chore, the greater your chances of making the summit. Work on your strength and stamina, prepare for the cold mornings and evenings, and you can start, as they say, dreaming of Africa.


Ready to climb Kili? See which route is right for you.

View all Kilimanjaro Treks with World Expeditions


RELATED ARTICLES

• What To Expect When Climbing Kilimanjaro

• Climb Kilimanjaro - Choose the Best Route for You

• Traveller Stories: Adventure Mum climbs Mt Kilimanjaro

View all Kilimanjaro articles


Cam Burns is the author of Kilimanjaro & Mount Kenya: A Climbing and Trekking Guide and its subsequent edition Kilimanjaro & East Africa: A Climbing and Trekking Guide. He has climbed nine routes on Kilimanjaro and circumnavigated the peak. He works for World Expeditions in our Sydney office.


How Long Is the Transcaucasian Trail And Where Is It?

We’ve mentioned it before, the Transcaucasian Trail (TCT) is the next big thing in trekking. Because it’s a new adventure for hikers and actually still being developed, you may like to know where exactly the TCT is and how long it is.  

 

The story of the Transcaucasian Trail only started in 2015 when three international hikers were, independently, interested in hiking the lengths of Armenia and Georgia. They decided to work together and with the help of local and international volunteers started to establish a Transcaucasian Trail. The long-distance hiking trail is still under development and aim is to build two corridors of about 1500km each through the Greater Caucasus Mountains and the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. 

Stunning sight of Adishi glacier on the Transcaucasian Trail
 

Where is the Transcaucasian Trail?

So, where are these Caucasus Mountains and the Transcaucasian Trail you may wonder. 

In between Russia to the north, the Caspian Sea to the east, Turkey and Iran to the south, and the Black Sea to the west lie the mountainous countries of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. A region also known as Transcaucasia. The area is right at the border between Europe and Asia and offers hikers a unique experience into scenic, mysterious and fascinating lands. 

How Long Is the Transcaucasian Trail? 

Currently, around 1200kms of the Transcaucasian Trail is mapped. The Trail is still being developed and should, when it’s finished, span 1,500kms of hiking East-West and another 1,500kms North- South. The length of the trail takes trekkers along ancient monasteries, glaciers, welcoming villages, remote mountain landscapes, and endless UNESCO listed sites. A full crossing of Armenia is possible, as well as the upper Vaneti – Racha stage in Georgia and between the districts of Sheki & Zagatala in Azerbaijan. 

Can I Walk The Transcaucasian Trail? 

Yes, you can definitely walk the Transcaucasian Trail. Although mapping and waymarking the trail is still in full swing, lots of sections of this long distance walk have already opened up to hikers. There are for example the route between Tblisi – Ushguli – Mestia in Georgia which generally takes 10 days to complete, or the Yerevan – Tbilisi part in Armenia that you can walk in about 8 days. 

Wildflowers, sunshine & fantastic hiking on the Transcaucasian Trail Strike a pose! Transcaucasian Trail, Georgia A refreshing waterfall on the Transcaucasian Trail Hikers walk on a patch of snow on the Transcaucasian Trail Mountain flowers of the Caucacus
 
 

Adventure travel company World Expeditions offers guided walking holidays along several sections of the Transcaucasian Trail that can be combined into extended hiking holidays. 

 

There are benefits of joining a small group trip in Georgia & Armenia, such as:

  • Get a deeper understanding of the country & its people
  • English speaking mountain guide during hiking
  • Focus on your surroundings, instead of route finding
  • Handpicked accommodation in cities & along the trail
  • All meals included
  • Private vehicle transfers
  • English speaking guides during sightseeing
 

Intrigued? Contact our adventure travel experts for support with your enquiries.

Flinders Island's Wybalenna: Why Reflection Is Best When Visiting

All of our active holidays in Tasmania will take you through exquisite landscapes that stir the senses and awaken the spirit. These environments have healing qualities – some reduce stress and refresh the soul, others stimulate ideas and make us ponder our places, and some simply get the body back a to a healthy normal rhythm that modern life disrupts.

Meanwhile, others offer time and space for serious reflection, like Wybalenna on Flinders Island.

There’s no doubt that Wybalenna, a treeless stretch of gently sloping grasslands on the west side of Flinders Island, has a sad history. In 1847 dozens of Tasmanian Aboriginal people died there while waiting to be transported back to ‘mainland’ Tasmania.

It’s important to reflect and remember what happened. Tragedies are a part of our collective psyche for good reason – hopefully they aren’t repeated. 

But it’s also important to move on – we have to. And sometimes it’s possible to view things through a more positive light.

No one can ever rewrite history when it comes to Wybalenna,  but when you visit this starkly beautiful area, it's important to let it become part of your humanity while not appropriating the entire Wybalenna experience.

Truganini, an elder with the Nuenonne people, was one of those who went to Wybalenna in 1835.

In her 2000 book, Truganini: Journey Through The Apocalypse, Cassandra Pybus points out that while the dark periods of Truganini’s life have been thoroughly hashed out, she and some of her contemporaries thrived despite their troubles with European settlement.

Indeed, Pybus’ book describes Truganini as being wholly in sync with the natural world around her, a natural swimmer who loved diving for crayfish, an expert possum catcher, and a sharp negotiator with the white settlers that came. Truganini’s life did have some bright spots.

And that’s the importance of Wybalenna – creating better memories for yourself and to share them with those you love. 

While the natural beauty of Flinders Island can’t entirely erase what happened at Wybalenna, it can certainly make you put those things aside, even if for just a short while.

Just a short distance north of Wybalenna is the Emita Nature Recreation Area where you can access the Castle Rock Walk, one of Tasmania’s Great Short Walks. The 6.4-kilometre  (return) track meanders along Marshall Bay, crossing coastal hinterlands en route to the track’s namesake, a massive granite boulder.

Exploring Castle Rock on foot
 

As you walk this unspoilt coastline, you’ll see dozens of shearwaters (muttonbirds). They build their nests in the ground, and are a delight to follow through the air. The backdrop to their aerial antics is a knockout view across Bass Strait.

Other wildlife who inhabit the lower realms of the viewplain include Bennetts wallabies, pademelons potoroos, possums, echidnas, and wombats.

And depending on the time of year, you might get to the magical springtime bloom, when dozens of flower species are poking their heads out – the rock orchids and shy bush are especially appealing.

After your walk, you can visit the nearby museum and learn how Flinders islanders dealt with the isolation of their chosen home and about their perseverance to thrive.

Wybalenna is on an island off an island off an island, with sapphire waters lapping at tangerine-colored granite. Flinders was originally called Great Island, but the name was changed in the 1800s to honour Matthew Flinders. You can lose yourself in beauty here. 

The relics of Wybalenna give us insight into a chapter of Tasmanian history that is quite bleak, but important to know. No one can ever rewrite history when it comes to Wybalenna, but when you visit this starkly beautiful area, it’s important to let it become part of your humanity while not appropriating the entire Wybalenna experience.


Visit Wybalenna on our walking tours of Flinders Island.
Tips and Trips: Staff Suggestions for your next Tassie adventure

Need some ideas for your next Tasmanian adventure? There's nothing like getting good advice from an expert, so we asked our staff for input on their favourite active Tassie experiences, and here's what they told us.

THE WORLD'S BEST RIVER JOURNEY

 

Our Australian Sales Manager Linda Murden tackled the Franklin River Rafting expedition, and she found it to be one of the wildest places she's experienced anywhere on her extensive travels.

‘There were so many memorable moments,’ Linda said. ‘Climbing to the top of the mast on the yacht transfer on the final day, jumping in the freezing cold water and experiencing the change in temperatures between the Franklin and the Gordon Rivers, sleeping rough without a tent under the stars or in rock caves, the Lost World which is a narrow gorge that we walked up that opens up into a beautiful mossy hidden glen, riding the rapids, going completely off the grid and not seeing anyone after day two on the river until day nine.’

Linda got a good work out on the excursion and heartily recommends a little bit of upper body strength conditioning before your trip.

‘It is beneficial but not necessary,’ Linda said. ‘It just helps with the sore muscles.’

MULTI-ACTIVITY ADVENTURE FROM LAUNCESTON TO HOBART

Adventure Reservations Consultant Efti Nure can't stop raving abour her time on our Cycle, Kayak & Walk Tasmania trip.

‘My favourite experiences were sleeping with pademelons and wombats on Maria Island – outside of my usual comfort zone so very special. We also had a rare visit from a Tassie Devil,’ she recalled. ‘Those moments were capped with an exhilarating ride in Freycinet National Park surrounded by forest and finishing with an epic view of The Hazards [mountain range].’

Her advice for any Tasmania traveller?

Be prepared to be in awe at every turn,’ she said. ‘Tassie will steal your heart!’

Efti Nure on our Cycle, Kayak and Walk adventure
 

Gus Chueng, Operations, also completed this popular 6-day multi-activity adventure.

‘Best things about the trip were exploring and walking amongst the wombats and kangaroos at historic Maria Island and relaxing at the end of each day with a good Tassie pinot noir,’ he said.

‘Advice for the trip?’ he asked. ‘Because this trip fully supported, this multi-activity trip can be enjoyed by anyone. If you are not a regular cyclist, an electric bike definitely makes the journey more enjoyable; and a padded bicycle seat is a must!’

TASMANIA'S BEST KEPT SECRET

Dana Garofani in our Operations team enjoyed doing something that very few have done, enjoy a walking adventure on Flinders Island.

‘Beautiful trip!’ she said. ‘Favourite moments: swimming, rock hopping, sunset at Castle Rock and watching the shearwaters fly home. There are plans for a new campsite in an idyllic spot nearer the sea, so the trip will be even better next season.’

She urges travellers to go before the secret is out.

‘There were hardly any other tourists. I went in early February,’ she said.

Spectacular coastal walking on Flinders Island |  <i>Andrew Bain</i>
 

THE FAVOURITE BUSHWALK WITH ALL OUR GUIDES

Isabelle Hardinge, National Product Manager, recently did the rugged and remote South Coast Track and thinks it's one of the best hikes she has ever done.

‘My favourite moment from the South Coast Track was our ascent of the Ironbound Mountains. We knew it would be a long and challenging day, with a forecast for over 30 degrees. We got moving early to beat the heat. We were rewarded with a cool morning breeze and an unforgettable and everchanging landscape. The day was long and challenging but the high of reaching the top, the relief of a mild temperature on the exposed incline, and the vast and clear views through the walk were experiences I will not forget anytime soon.’

Her advice for this remote trip: ‘Train hard and prepare yourself for this walk but try not to overthink and stress about it. The challenges this trek requires will be easier to overcome if you have physically prepared yourself for the trip but remember that the challenge is also half the fun.’

 

THE WALLS OF JERUSALEM

Daniel Bunting, Business Development Coordinator, also pushed himself on his trip, but without a group, on the Walls of Jerusalem Self-Guided Experience.

‘We awoke from a night of bucketing rain to sunny skies and a curious Pademelon hopping around our platform,’ he said. ‘It was like the rains parted and the park was welcoming us with a visit from its amazing furry residents.’

‘Most of the water along the track is safe to drink, so there’s no need to haul litres along with you,’ Daniel said. ‘Top up as you go rather than carrying litres at a time while up on the plateau.’

Allie Peden, Sales Consultant, agrees with Dan that the Walls of Jerusalem Self-Guided Experience is a must-do trip.

‘I loved how pristine and wild this area felt,’ she said. ‘Peaks with views for days, and the area is named The Land of One Thousand Lakes – stunning!’

What’s the old adage about Tasmanian weather? Wait five minutes and it’ll change? Allie recommends packing for all seasons.

‘I also recommend a fourth day to do the Lake Adelaide loop walk,’ she said. ‘One hundred percent add the extra day.’

There you have it – sage advice and smart suggestions from folks who’ve gone out and done what you’re hopefully still dreaming about!

Dan Bunting in the Walls of Jerusalem
 

HIKING IN TASMANIA'S MOST FAMOUS NATIONAL PARK

Isabelle Hardinge also did the classic Overland Track recently.

‘My favourite thing to do on the Overland Track is the side trip to Old Pelion Hut and the waterhole. When you reach this spot, it is after one of your longest days, and it can be an easy one to dismiss, but I promise it is worth the extra effort. The waterhole is not as dramatic as some of the others you experience on this walk, but it is one of the most tranquil and peaceful locations I know of. It is tucked away and always presents as a hidden gem that only you were lucky enough to stumble upon. The water may be freezing but it’s always worth jumping in and relaxing after your long days walk.’

She recommends doing as many side trips as possible.

‘It may be a push at the time, but you’ll thank yourself later,’ she said. ‘The track offers a lot of these additional side trips, but every single side trip along the Overland track is unique and worthwhile.’

Cam Burns, in Marketing, rates the Maria Island and Cradle Mountain Experience as one of the best walking experiences he's come across in all his travels across the world.

‘Climbing Cradle Mountain is one of the most exhilarating experiences in Tasmania, both physically and visually,’ he said. ‘The route winds up past Wiendorfers Tower and you’re often not quite certain where you’ll end up. On top, the views of Barn Bluff and other iconic Central Tasmania peaks in that never-ending blanket of lush green vegetation are otherworldly.’

His advice for the trip: ‘Challenge yourself to learn the names of all the mountains on the horizens. You can see many of Tasmania’s most iconic peaks from atop Cradle.’

British Alpine Legend to lead K2 Trek

One of Britain’s greatest living climbers, Victor Saunders, will be leading our trek to the Karakoram in 2023. 

Victor, whose career spans six decades, has summitted Everest six times between 2004 and 2012. Beyond Everest, Victor is an elite alpinist who has established some of the hardest mountaineering routes on earth. Victor will lead our K2 and Gondogoro La trek immediately before his own climbing expedition to K2.  

The Gondogoro La (Gondogoro Pass) lies south of K2 and connects the Gondogoro Glacier to the southwest and the Vigne Glacier to the northeast. 

The late American photographer Galen Rowell called the exquisite area northeast of the Gondogoro La the ‘Throne Room of the Mountain Gods’ and titled his 1977 book after the region. Victor will trek with our group until it returns to Skardu on day 22 of the 25-day trip. 

There he will meet his climbing expedition team. How would you benefit from a guided trek with Victor? 

First, an accomplished mountain man like Victor notices the little things: your breathing, your condition, your steps—even how much water you’re drinking. He knows tricks for a proper acclimatization. He knows how to read the weather and prepare for the day. He knows how to maintain pace without stressing the body and mind. He knows the people and their histories. 

Second, he’s the president of the Alpine Club, and people in such high places have the best stories about the nutty, wonderful, and famous climbers of the day. You’ll likely hear a few stories that will impress and confound.

 

Third, Victor will be on the trek not just for the trek’s sake, but to actually attempt an ascent of K2, the hardest 8,000m peak and the second tallest mountain on earth. You’ll get to see how a world-class mountain athlete prepares himself physically and mentally for such an task.  

Besides being an accomplished climber, Victor is a learned scholar. After training and working as an architect, Victor committed his life to the mountains. He has made several noteworthy contributions to mountaineering literature, and his book Elusive Summits won the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature – the most prestigious award in the mountain publishing space – in 1991.  

Expect to have a fun, safe, and rewarding journey with Victor and gain some insight into what drives humans who live for the world’s greatest challenges.

How to get into mountaineering FAQs

While reaching the summit of a mountain over 4000, 5000 or 6000 metres is a serious endeavour, this guide will help make it within reach for the fit and experienced trekker. 

High altitude mountaineer, Soren Kruse Ledet, who has more than 20 years of guiding experience under his harness, shares his expertise and top tips for those looking to reach new heights in the mountains. 

QUICK LINKS
I'm an aspiring climber, what experience should I have to join a mountaineering course?
Should I have previous experience travelling at high altitudes?
What skills can I gain when joining a beginner mountaineering course in the Himalayas?
What things can I expect out on the trail as a first-timer?
What are some top tips to be prepared physically and mentally?
How fit should I be?
What kind of training should I be doing?
Are there certain gear items I should have?
What does a day in a beginner mountaineering course look like?
What key things should I not overlook when getting into serious mountaineering?
If I've climbed before, what other things can I benefit from joining an introductory climbing expedition?

I'm an aspiring climber, what experience should I have to join a mountaineering course? 

If you’re looking to step into mountaineering, it’s ideal that you have trekked before so that it isn’t difficult for you. 

While you might find a refresher abseiling or rock climbing course to be beneficial, if you’re a beginner and have never climbed before, that’s not a problem. When choosing an introductory mountaineering course, no prior technical mountaineering or climbing experience is necessary, however, it is the next step up from a multi-day hike. 

Some of the best parts about joining a mountaineering course with World Expeditions is that you’re combining alpine trekking and climbing opportunities with an experienced crew and world-class leaders, so you’ll be well supported and extremely safe when out in the mountains. 

 
 
 

Should I have previous experience travelling at high altitudes? 

No, but it is an advantage. You should be comfortable trekking in adverse weather conditions, so having prior experience at altitude is desirable. Should you not have this experience, being under the guidance of a climbing expert will add to your comfort and support. 

What skills can I gain when joining a beginner mountaineering course in the Himalayas? 

You will gain basic and very hands-on practical understanding and appreciation of what’s involved in climbing; like how to place rock, snow and ice protection; learning how to belay a lead climber, a multitude of useful knots etc.

When entering the outdoor classroom of say, the Himalayas, you can better learn how to be self-sufficient in a mountain environment. Knowing how to look after yourself in extreme conditions at altitude is a key takeaway from joining a World Expeditions mountaineering beginner course.

Our experienced leaders will teach you valuable expedition climbing skills |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

What things can I expect out on the trail as a first-timer? 

Expect remote and poorly defined trails in variable weather, which can see you on foot for up to 12 hours a day. This is subject to weather conditions and altitude. 

Setting expectations of what the terrain may encompass, such as knowing that there are high pass crossing involved or trekking across long-angle snow slopes, can help you feel more mentally prepared. 

Ropes may be used during treks for glacier travel and steeper sections of ice and snow. 

What are some top tips to be prepared physically and mentally? 

Holding an objective that it is always farther than it looks, higher than it looks and harder than it looks. I recommend reading this ‘The 3 golden rules of mountaineering’ blog for ways to best approach mountain peaks and how to be mentally prepared when on an expedition. 

How fit should I be? 

As fit as you can be. The more fit and prepared you are, the more enjoyable the experience will be. So if you go on long and frequent hikes, are confident in carrying a heavy pack and train in advance for the trip, this will make all the difference. 

As mentioned above, doing a mountaineering course is a step up from trekking, so you'll need a good level of fitness, a passion for mountains and the motivation to take the preparation seriously. 

Approaching the summit of Cholo in perfect conditions, Khumbu region, Nepal |  <i>Soren Kruse Ledet</i>

What kind of training should I be doing? 

It’s ideal to start training a good six months leading up to the trip. Your training program should involve things like: 

  • strengthening your leg muscles 
  • building endurance 
  • carrying a heavy pack 
  • hill training
  • improving your overall fitness

Doing exercise around four times or more a week for an hour and a half is a general guide and will depend on each individual’s capacity. 

However, climbing is also very much a mental game, so giving yourself the mental space for such an expedition is just as important. Set expectations and do not underestimate the climb, even if it is a beginner grading. These factors will help you have a better chance of enjoying the course and hopefully reaching the prized summit. 

Climbers celebrate on Aconcagua's summit |  <i>Angel Armesto</i>

Are there certain gear items I should have? 

Depending on the expedition, a very detailed gear list is provided and the beginner course will include items like carabiners, belay devices, ascenders and so forth as part of the all-inclusive value. Items, like double boots, can be BYO or hired in advance. 

What does a day in a beginner mountaineering course look like? 

For instance, one day will be spent practising self-rescue using various friction knots and another is spent learning how to abseil. There is also time spent learning how to place snow and ice protection as well as going through a variety of knots so you can learn why, what and where specific knots are used. Practice makes perfect! 

Hone your ice climbing skills with us in Nepal under the guidance of our experienced leaders |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

Once you’ve learnt the key alpine skills in great detail, you’ll then put them to the test on an achievable climb. Our previous course on Pachermo Peak (6273m) in Nepal was a fulfilling experience for our climbers. It offered the best hands-on mountaineering training in the best mountain classroom in the world: the Himalaya. 

What key things should I not overlook when getting into serious mountaineering? 

1. Your personal safety and the safety of your companions. 

2. ‘Do your apprenticeship before committing to your dream mountain.’ That is, set realistic goals and understand that while you may be fit, you want to work your way up and build up your level of competency and self-sufficiency to make you safer. 

3. Use good judgement and make sound decisions from experience. 

On the summit of Pachermo (6273m), Nepal on our 2022 mountaineering course. |  <i>Ngawang Sherpa</i>

If I've climbed before, what other things can I benefit from joining an introductory climbing expedition? 

  • Learn about climbing techniques including how to place snow, rock and ice anchors in greater detail. 
  • It’s a great refresher for alpine training and honing your mountaineering skills. 
  • Being able to climb and train at altitude. 
  • Combine safe climbing practices with the opportunity to climb and summit rarely ascended peaks. (Our 2021 course was to Pachermo Peak, check out the photos on our Facebook page
  • Experience complete support with a low climber to guide ratio and world-class leadership by an expert mountaineer. 
  • Enjoy ample acclimatisation days, an experienced climbing crew and fully-inclusive base camp services for a safe and high-quality mountaineering expedition. 
     

Inspired to adventure in new and remote heights? View our introductory and entry-level mountaineering expeditions →


ABOUT THE EXPERT

 

Soren Kruse Ledet is one of World Expeditions’ most experienced mountaineering guides, having completed more than 50 expeditions in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, China, Patagonia and Central Asia. His career started as a member of the 1995 and 2003 Annapurna 4 Expedition, he has successfully reached the summit of Ama Dablam four times and traversed across Nepal on a six-month expedition. His easygoing nature and professionalism make him a sought-after guide.


World Expeditions Foundation donates an extra $15K to local ground crew

World Expeditions’ adventure community have done it again with an additional $15,000 (AUD) set to be distributed to local partners in Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Mongolia and Sri Lanka. 

As part of World Expeditions' continued support for communities affected by the pandemic, the funds were raised thanks to its generous supporters who rallied behind the ‘Grants4Ground Staff’ and ‘Lend A Hand’ campaigns. 

Tim Macartney-Snape, director of the World Expeditions Foundation, extends his thanks: “A massive thank you to all the donors and our loyal community of travellers who backed these campaigns."

The USD$100 grants received by ground staff are a helpful safety net, especially for recipients in areas where they are solely dependent on income from travel and tourism.

First launched in 2020, these campaigns have raised close to $100,000 (AUD) under its not-for-profit entity, World Expeditions Foundation, greatly aiding local ground staff and their families who are still struggling in the current climate. 

Priceless Nepali smile upon receiving a 'Lend A Hand Appeal' food package

World Expeditions and its travellers continue to be a force in supporting communities in delivering local employment, friendship, and fostering cultural tolerance, as highlighted in its Thoughtful Travel Charter

Read on below to see how the funds will support its recipients and how you can still help. 

Who will the funds support? 

For destinations like Myanmar, where our past travellers have had some incredible experiences, the pause on travel remains steadfast due to ongoing upheavals making trips inoperable. In areas such as Sri Lanka, our longstanding operator has been experiencing hardships due to political unrest and these funds will help aid the team on the ground. 

A traveller favourite, Mongolia, has seen a very slow uptake since its borders reopened, with the donations set to greatly help the ground staff, especially in the remote areas we operate in.

Among the crippling factors are the soaring inflation prices and the shy intake of overseas travellers heading to certain destinations such as Pakistan’s remote Karakoram ranges and the Indian Himalaya, despite borders being open. This has therefore left guides, porters and cooking staff out of work. 

As their hardships ensue, coupled with the impacts of Covid, the generosity of supporters will see these additional funds go far to help these communities affected. 

David Thomas, one of our Mt Kilimanjaro porters sent a handwritten thank-you note to the World Expeditions team and donors from the initial ‘Lend A Hand’ Appeal: 

From the bottom of our heart we say thank you very much. Know that it’s really touched [and] blessed our family… This is not small, it for us [is a] blessing and more than a donation to us.

African guide, Kessy, also sent his thanks writing: “Most of my fellow workers were in very [a] bad situation in the pandemic, so what we got today from you, World Expeditions and the donors, is more than we expected. So we would like to thank each and everyone who contributed for us.” 

Want to help? 

As the world gradually opens, it's encouraging to see so many of our popular international destinations welcoming visitors again. However, it will still be a while before we see numbers return to pre-pandemic times. 

To continue to support our cause, you can: 

→ Make a donation

If you would like to assist World Expeditions’ ground crew who are still affected by the pandemic, you can make a donation to the Grants4Ground Staff campaign. 100 per cent of the funds will reach to the intended donors, with no admin fees withheld. 

Porters at work in western Nepal |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

→ Join the World Expeditions Foundation’s ‘Climb for Kozi’ Charity Challenge 

Trek in solidarity to Australia’s highest mountain in support of the ground crew in need. You’ll help raise funds in the process, making your adventure go towards a worthy cause.

All smiles on the hike to Mt Kosciuszko |  <i>Zuzanna Kania</i>

Read about the 2022 climb where Australian mountaineering royalty, Tim Macartney-Snape joined supporters on the challenging trek.

→ Jump on an adventure holiday 

One of the best ways to support our local crew is to join an adventure. Partnering with local operators and hiring local guides and leaders, World Expeditions sees its traveller’s dollars investing in these local economies. 

Clients enjoying a lunch in Nepal |  <i>Lachlan Gardiner</i>

It’s a fantastic way to give back to the communities you visit and better spread out the impacts of tourism on the destination.

Published 15 June 2022.

Overland Track Permits: what you need to know

Did you know less than 60 permits* are available a day to trekkers on Australia's Overland Track during the summer season? Here's what you need to know about securing your permits to walk Tasmania's world-renowned trail.

If you have your sights set on completing the Overland Track in Tasmania but are unsure how the permit system works, we have you covered. This guide will give you the ins and outs of obtaining a permit for guided and self-guided walks on the track, what it covers, why they are necessary, when the permits are released and what options you have if you miss out.

Organising your Overland Track permits

You are required to have a permit pass when walking the Overland Track, however, choosing a trusted company to guide you on the trail takes the hassle out of organising this with the permit and the Cradle-Mountain-St Clair National Park pass covered.

As an Australian operator on the trail since 1989, World Expeditions secures the National Park passes and associated track passes each year for all their trekkers. It is a process that takes place well in advance before the season commences to ensure that when you want to go, you can get them locked in. 

However, permits and passes are issued in limited supply, so booking in early is your best shot at securing them. This is especially the case if opting for a self-guided walk. These permits are released from July 1 and tend to sell out within days during the peak season.

*Note: limited permits are available a day to trekkers on the track during the summer season (October to May) – 34 of which are for independent walkers. You can visit the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Services website for the latest information.

RELATED: Walking the Overland Track FAQs

 

Why do I need a permit to walk the Overland Track?

An Overland Track permit helps avoid overcrowding on the track and the fee contributes to the sustainable management of the track.

As most of the track is not serviceable by road, the permits manage the record of walkers entering the fragile environment to account for the impact of the track and surrounding wilderness. The preservation of the wilderness is essential to safeguard the area for its flora and fauna and for people to experience the beauty of Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Everyone who walks the Overland Track will need to purchase an Overland Track Permit if planning to do it from October to May. However, for the months of June to September, while no permit is needed, you do need to register.

What about the National Parks pass?

All walkers are also required to possess a current Tasmanian National Parks Pass regardless of the time of year.

What happens if I miss out on a self-guided permit?

Trying to secure permits for a self-guided walk on the Overland Track is like booking tickets for the footy grand final, it's either get in quick or miss out. Luckily, you won't have the same problem with our guided walks. So if you missed out on a permit on your preferred date, don't stress! You can jump onto our guided Overland Track where we have permits secured in advance.

If you prefer a self-guided walk, you can explore the Overland Track's underrated neighbour, Walls of Jerusalem. This more remote World Heritage alpine wilderness of Tasmania does not require the purchase of permits, with equally spectacular natural landscapes that are only accessible on foot.

Plus, it attracts far fewer visitors than the Overland Track making it very alluring for those who want to get away from it all. Read more about the Walls of Jerusalem walk versus the Overland Track in this blog post.

Does my Overland Track permit confirm a spot in the huts on the track?

While your booking confirms your place and date of departure, when walking self-guided, this does not guarantee a place in the huts along the track.

The public huts cannot be booked and are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, therefore walkers are required to carry a tent if a hut is full. But rest assured that when travelling with Tasmanian Expeditions, quality gear use is part of the package so you aren't caught out in bad weather.

If camping-based trekking isn't your thing, you can experience a private luxury hut stay on the Cradle Huts Overland Track trip to add a little more comfort to your walking holiday. The exclusive huts are well hidden away from the public huts and campsites with the luxury of returning to a hot shower, a potbelly heater, comfy beds and a Tassie wine after each day's walk on the Overland Track.

Does my permit include transport transfer to and from the track?

If you purchase your permit independently, the Overland Track permit fee does not include transport to/from the track, or the privately-owned Lake St Clair Ferry. It would be your responsibility to organise these transport links. However, if travelling with an experienced operator, like World Expeditions, transfers can easily be organised.

Ways to experience the Overland Track & Cradle Mountain area

The Overland Track is internationally renowned, home to the famous Cradle Mountain and Tasmania’s highest mountain Mt Ossa at 1617 metres. The 65-kilometre trail begins at Ronny Creek with the majestic Cradle Mountain towering in the distance. Winding through ancient rainforests, alpine meadows, waterfalls and mountain ranges leading to the summit. Viewing the native endemic flora and wildlife the track ends at scenic Lake St Clair.

The track can be experienced in the main season with our guides or self-guided where all the logistics, food (you get to choose from a menu!), equipment, support and passes are included. You can choose from camping or use private huts along the track. It can also be explored in the winter for a guided walk into a white snowy wonderland where you can try out snowshoeing. View our range of trips.

Whichever walking experience on the Overland Track you choose – guided, self-guided, in summer or winter, staying in tents or private huts, rest assured your National Park passes will be provided to you when booking with us in advance. But don't leave your decision too long as they do sell out!

Last updated 7 June 2022.

Transcaucasian Trail: the next BIG thing in trekking

If a trek in Georgia or Armenia isn't currently on your radar, then get ready to update it because the Transcaucasian Trail is slowly becoming trekking's next big thing.

On the borderlands between Europe and Asia, the new Transcaucasian Trail will extend more than 3000km. It will connect more than 20 national parks, endless UNESCO listed sites and protected areas in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, collectively known as the Southern Caucasus.

"Svaneti is at the centre of a Caucasus-wide experiment in sustainable tourism to see whether slow, self-guided tourism can preserve these fragile environments and cultures, rather than erode them." - BBC Travel in A new hiking route between Europe and Asia.

While the full route is still being developed, you can now trek sections of this biodiversity hotspot with World Expeditions in both Armenia and Georgia – the first two countries that were adequately mapped.

You can combine both hikes, completing the Armenia segment first and then continuing the trail in Georgia, as an 18-day adventure full of history, incredible scenery and with few trekkers in sight.

Georgian Transcaucasian Trail

Views of Upper Svaneti region in Ushguli, Georgia Caucasus Mountains Walking into Georgia's dramatic Caucasus Mountains Hiking to Ushguli in the Svaneti Valley |  <i>Julie Haber</i>

Hike along varied and fascinating landscapes – from floral meadows and mountainous backdrops, to cascading waterfalls and glacial scenery.

The highlights:

  Visit the charming city of Tbilisi – a beautiful blend of nature and crumbling art nouveau architecture.
  Take in enthralling views from Svaneti, which is nestled on the southern slopes of the central Caucasus Mountains and surrounded by 3000 to 5000-metre snow-capped peaks. Four of the 10 highest mountains of the Caucasus are in the region.
  Explore 3000-year-old Mtskheta – the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia, as well as the historic cave town of Uplistsikhe.
  Walk to the foot of Mount Ushba's system of stunning waterfalls and to its breathtaking glacier before enjoying a scenic picnic.
  Marvel at the huge collection of permanent glaciers at Mount Tetnuli and ascend Chkhutnieri Pass (2730m) for spectacular views of Tetnuli (4800m).
  Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Jvari church (6th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century).

 

TIME Magazine listed the trail through the Caucasus Mountains as one of the world's 100 greatest places in 2019, with Forbes placing the Armenian hike in the limelight as a must-do experience.

Armenian Transcaucasian Trail

9th century Apostolic Tatev monastery stands on the edge of a deep gorge of the Vorotan River. Wilderness hiking along paths less trodden, Transcaucasian Trail, Armenia |  <i>Breanna Wilson</i> A local lady makes lavash, a flatbread eaten throughout the South Caucasus |  <i>Breanna Wilson</i>

Home to ancient churches and monasteries, beautiful lakes and countless UNESCO World Heritage Sites, trace parts of the Caucasian Silk route in Armenia that's overflowing with history and scenic brilliance.

The highlights:

  Hike to the picturesque 1st century A.D. Garni Temple which overlooks a deep canyon before heading to the Garni gorge to admire volcanic basalt formations called “the symphony of stones”.
  Stand in awe of Lake Sevan, one of the largest high-altitude lakes in the world located at 1900m, surrounded by snow-covered mountains. Known as the “blue eye of Armenia” or the “Pearl of Armenia”, the freshwater lake of volcanic origin changes colour several times during the day – turquoise in direct sunlight, then turns a greenish shade, and grey by the evening.
  Soak up with medieval Armenian architecture of the Geghard Cave Monastery. The cave enclosures of this cultural and architectural wonder are notable for amazing acoustics where some of its chambers, carved from solid rock, possess exceptional acoustics.
  Experience scenic Dilijan “Little Switzerland”.
  Pass through Armenian colourful villages, enjoying the peace and magnificent scenes of a remote mountainous villages such as Hahgpat and Akner.

The Transcaucasian Trail have the hardiest trekkers in our team brimming with excitement. Why not be one of the first to experience it?

 

Interested in the cities and historical sights of the region? Join this adventure touring trip in Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia that is a fascinating journey from Baku to Yerevan. 

 

Top 5 Springtime Cultural Festivals

The spring season sees a lot of cultural festivals being celebrated around the world. We collected the most colourful ones that are a privilege to take part in at least once in your life. 

Travel to Paro in Bhutan for the Paro Tshechu festival or reach higher spheres during the Hemis festival in Ladakh. Then there are the Buddhist Pi Mai (New Year) in Laos; Mongolia’s annual sporting event, Naadam Festival; and Cusco’s vibrant Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun), all of which are colourful celebrations that are attended by locals and visitors alike.

Inti Raymi in Peru

What is it? The Festival of the Sun

Inti Raymi celebrations |  <i>Nigel Leadbitter</i>

The event traditionally involved the sacrifice of an animal to ensure healthy crops. The sacrifice was banned by the Spaniards, and today the festival involves a procession through the streets with music, prayers, dancing, and scattered flowers. 

The Inti Raymi Festival or "sun festival" is a religious ceremony that dates back 500 years to the Incan Empire’s heyday. The festival honours one of the most venerated gods in the Inca Empire: Inti. 

Women with brooms sweep away the evil spirits plus you will see priests and participants dressed as snakes, condors and pumas. It’s the second largest festival in South America with hundreds of thousands of people travelling to Cusco to celebrate the weeklong event.

Local enjoying Inti Raymi Festival in the streets of Cusco |  <i>Heike Krumm</i>

When is it? It is celebrated on the shortest day of the year, also known as the Winter Solstice, which is generally around June. 

Want to join? Time your visit to Peru around June when the festival is set to occur. It's a great way to add more cultural elements while incorporating the magnificent sights of places like Machu Picchu.

Hemis Festival in India

What is it? Celebrating the Birth of Guru Rinpoche (or Lord Padmasambhava)

Gathered men at the festival at Hemis, Ladakh |  <i>Adam Mussolum</i>

Observed at the Hemis Monastery, the festival is situated in a gorge in the north-Indian province of Ladakh and is a colourful celebration in honour of Lord Padmasambhava. 

The festival is famous for the masked dances that represent the good prevailing over evil and is performed by gompas that follow tantric traditions. 

The festival is said to originate in the 8th Century and other activities include the offering of food, playing traditional music (think cymbals, trumpets and drums), and performing spiritual ceremonies. Joining the festival is believed to give spiritual strength and good health.

Colourful costumes at the Hemis Festival |  <i>Brad Atwal</i> Several hundred Ladakhi villagers from throughout the Indus Valley attend the Hemis festival. |  <i>Adam Mussolum</i> Hemis Festival |  <i>Adam Mussolum</i> The traditions of the two-day festival at Hemis, Ladakh |  <i>Adam Mussolum</i> Traditional and elaborate masked dancer at the Hemis Festival |  <i>Adam Mussolum</i>
 

When is it? The Hemis Festival is celebrated annually in the month of June or July.

Want to join? You can visit the beautiful Indian Himalayan region of Ladakh in June or July. We often offer special itineraries centred around the festival.

Naadam Festival in Mongolia

What is it? It is locally known as the 'Three Games of Men Festival'

Spectators looking on during the Naadam festivities

The festival is an ancient cultural spectacle that combines colourful costumes and performances with an exciting tournament of three traditional sports: archery, wrestling and bareback horse riding. 

Travel to Chandman village to experience the festival in a setting of nomadic life. In the capital of Ulaanbaatar, visitors are presented with an incredible opportunity to experience the culture and people of this amazing land.

Locals in the Naadam Festival opening ceremony |  <i>Fiona Windon</i> Wrestling, archery and horse riding are the three competitions of Naadam Festival Spectators looking on during a provincial Naadam archery competition Naadam Festival opening ceremony |  <i>Fiona Windon</i> Wrestlers at the Naadam Festival in Mongolia |  <i>Caroline Mongrain</i> Locals at Naadam Festival |  <i>Caroline Mongrain</i> Naadam Festival in the Mongolian steppe |  <i>Caroline Mongrain</i>
 

When is it? This is the biggest festival of the year in Mongolia and is held throughout the country in midsummer from July 11-15. 

Want to join? You have several opportunities to visit the Naadam Festival when travelling on our Mongolia trips in early July. Get in touch with our team for ideas on the best trips that include the Naadam Festival. 

Pi Mai in Laos

What is it? Buddhist New Year

Photographer capturing the History and art at a temple in Luang Prabang |  <i>Peter Walton</i>

Like its neighbouring countries of Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, celebrations for the new Buddhist year are important for locals. 

Expect to be celebrating alongside them towards the last days of the festival. Usually, days at the start of the festival are set aside to clean homes and temples and to spend with family. A traditional ceremony is for women to pour on men a cup of perfumed water with flowers. 

Today, this transformed into a carnivalesque water festival in places like Luang Prabang.

When is it? Celebrations are from 13 or 14 April to 15 or 16 April.

Want to join? Book an April departure to join in on the festivities in Luang Prabang.

Paro Tshechu in Bhutan

What is it? The Festival of Paro

The magnificent colours of Tatksang Monastery in Bhutan |  <i>Liz Light</i>

A tshechu is a religious and cultural festival in Bhutan and, according to the Lunar Tibetan calendar, throughout the year many are held. 

One of the most popular ones is in Paro valley: Paro Tshechu. Experience the living Bhutanese culture when the local people celebrate Guru Rimpoche who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. 

Festivities include masked dances, drums, trumpets, ceremonies and people wearing their beautiful, colourful costumes. One of the highlights of the festival is the unfolding of the thangka, named ‘thnongdroel’ in Bhutan.

When is it? The Paro Tshechu Festival is generally held in March or April.

Want to join? Tie in an exploration of Bhutan with a Paro Valley visit. We incorporate various cultural journeys into our Bhutan itineraries.

The ‘Adventure Mindset’: the path to health and happiness

The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah

I often feel frantic and frazzled getting ready for a weekend adventure. Projects pile up and I wonder what on earth I was thinking about adding extra challenges to an already busy life.

But when I stand on that summit overlooking the vast wilderness of rich emerald forest or gaze across snow-capped peaks or feel the sun warm our skin as it pops over the horizon, a weight lifts off my shoulders and the whole world glows.

When we take the call to adventure, our upcoming exotic challenge often motivates and excites us as we gather skills, fitness and gear to prepare for the journey. Life takes on a whole new dimension of happiness and fulfilment.

Wild Women in the Bungles |  <i>Di Westaway</i>

When we’re immersed in a real adventure with friends we feel natural exhilaration. We share magic moments. We feel the wonder of awe.

Doctors call it 'lifestyle medicine'. We call it adventure.

Neuroscience shows that adventure is really good for us. It connects all our happy hormones into one harmonious heaven of pleasure. Millions of people around the world now get to feel the health benefits of adventure by choosing to book a trip to an exotic land. But when you choose an active adventure, you get the magic motivation of the team challenge to lift your health and fitness to another level.

Adventure is a state of mind. Active adventure is a state of mind, body and spirit.

There are many paths to health and happiness. I am only an expert in one: the adventure goddess journey. Adventure goddesses live natural exhilaration because we reconnect with nature and design a lifestyle that synchs with our ancient origins. And Wild Women On Top has helped nearly 20,000 of them feel better.

During the past 35 years of seeking health and fitness, I discovered the healing powers of adventure through adversity. When I was tired, miserable, wrung out and fighting forty, I faced a mid-life crisis. I overcame it by embarking on a real adventure with friends. And now I help other women do the same.

Many women today are exhausted. We are overworked and run-ragged. We are insanely busy bees, rushing around madly with no time to nurture ourselves, working long hours for lifestyles that don’t bring us real happiness.

We have been seduced by a first-world culture that tells us Botox, thigh gaps, acrylic nails, and Brazilians bring happiness and that the doctor will fix us when we get sick.

We’ve lost our way.

But psychiatrists say three things make us happy: someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to: adventure. But I want more than just happiness. I want natural exhilaration.  And to get natural exhilaration, we need nature.

Tramping the Routeburn Track |  <i>Julianne Ly</i>

Nature brings sustainable happiness and fulfilment. It helps us thrive. In nature, we find real health and power. Nature energises mind, body and spirit, creates healthy food and provides action.

As I soar to sixty with a fit, healthy, resilient body and mind, leading a business that supports a family of four, I feel not just happy, but fulfilled. I can still do handstands, climb trees, bounce on beds, out-ski my kidults (not bragging, just saying) and dance about. And so can you.

Remarkable Rocks jump |  <i>Di Westaway</i>

Why an 'Adventure Mindset' is good for you

Adventure is a metaphor for life. There’s the thrill of the planning, the excitement of the challenge, the freedom of the hills, the meditation of movement and the exhilaration of overcoming the odds.

The 'Adventure Mindset' is a recipe to help us feel natural exhilaration. It is a thought tool that adapts the lessons of wild adventure to life. It teaches mental toughness, builds confidence and helps you kick-arse at work, home and in life. When you experience a challenging adventure in the wilderness you experience a journey that gives you a skill-set that can directly impact the way you manage your day to day life.  It gives you an ‘Adventure Mindset”.

The mindset starts with a purpose. When you add people and a plan you get pleasure and power. And when you add nature, you get natural exhilaration.

Life can be tough. Hardships hurt. But with the adventure mindset when life whacks you in the face, you’ll whack it right back.

Words by Di Westaway

Feeling inspired? Find your inner goddess on our Women's Adventures →

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