Planning Your Expedition: Group, permits, and gear required for a successful climb
Group or Solo
Before the Peak expedition, one must travel with a partner or in a larger group. Going solo offers plenty of time to reflect, make decisions, and learn about oneself. But it also entails reducing the safety factor of traveling with companions. For those who travel with a partner, find someone they can trust. Similarly, they can get along since their partner can make or break their trip.
Sometimes, a group of three or more can work better, especially when undertaking more challenging expeditions, as the workload can be shared. For climbing trips, having a group also means that there will always be company during long belay stances, which can be mentally challenging. Finally, when opting to travel in a larger team, it is crucial to make an effort to get to know everyone beforehand, mainly if they are not all friends, to avoid breaking up into cliques and feeling like strangers at the airport.
An ACAP permit, short for Annapurna Conservation Area Permit, is mandatory for trekkers who plan to trek in the Annapurna Region and Tilicho Peak expeditions. It is necessary to purchase this permit in advance of the trekking activity. The permit cost is NPR 3000 or US $30 per person, and trekkers can choose either option for payment.
However, it is suggested to pay in NPR to get the benefits of the local exchange rate. Although the counter staff may ask for payment in US dollars, it is advisable to politely request the price in NPR. SAARC nationals must pay NPR 1000 per person for the ACAP permit, and children below ten are exempted from the permit fee.
ACAP permits can also be issued via a trekking agency for those in a hurry or who do not want any hassle. The trekking agency can assist in arranging the permit per the trekker's requirements. To issue the ACAP permit, the essential documents must be sent to the agency.
Trekkers must obtain a Trekkers' Information Management Systems (TIMS) card. This card is mandatory for ensuring the safety and security of trekkers and promoting well-managed trekking experiences. Obtaining a TIMS card involves following a specific process, including submitting a PP-size photograph, a copy of the passport, and payment of the required fees.
The TIMS card serves as a means of recording factual data. It can be obtained from the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), the Trekking Agencies Association Nepal (TAAN), or authorized trekking companies approved by the government.
Anyone planning a trip to Nepal to be aware that the cost of a TIMS Card has recently gone up to 2000 rupees per person.
Royality For Climbers
To regulate the number of climbers and ensure safety, the Nepalese government determines the permit fees for climbing various peaks and mountains in Nepal. The fees for foreign climbers to climb Tilicho Peak vary depending on the season. With the highest fee of $500 in the peak climbing season of spring, followed by a lower fee of $250 in autumn.
The fee drops to $125 in the winter, considered an off-season for climbing. Nepalese climbers pay lower permit fees than foreign climbers, with fixed yearly fees.
In particular, Nepalese climbers pay 6000 Nepalese Rupees (around USD 50) to climb in the spring. In the Autumn months, the Nepalese should pay 3000 Nepalese Rupees (around USD 25). And 1500 Nepalese Rupees (around USD 12.50) in the winter season.
Peak climbing requires proper equipment and preparation for a safe and successful expedition. Mountain Rock Treks has provided a list of essential peak climbing gear to ensure safety in the Nepal Himalayas.
The essential peak climbing gears include an alpine range climbing and expedition harness, crampons, ice axe and hammer, ascender, power controller multi-lead lamp, karabiners, rappel device, trek/ski poles, climbing safety helmets, sun and snow glasses, oxygen bottles, tape sling, and outerwear clothing.
The equipment must be lightweight, adaptable, and suitable for various conditions. Climbing helmets and warm outerwear clothing are crucial for safety in places with stone falls, ice falls, and snow ladders.
Personal medical kit, sunscreen, lip protection, energy bars, water thermos, water and windproof gloves, warm socks, hats, and Gore-Tex jackets are also important. Ski poles should be purchased from accredited vendors to avoid buying imitation poles that may pose a safety risk. You can check our Peak Climbing Gears and Equipment List blog here for a more detailed gear and equipment list.
Will Tilicho Peak Expedition be Difficult For You (Climbing Technicality)?
Tilicho Peak expedition involves climbing a mountain with a combination of rock and ice climbs and glaciers, graded at a D+ difficulty level. The climb to the summit of Peak Tilicho involves establishing three high camps. The route from Base Camp to Camp 1 (5800m) is relatively straightforward, with a mixture of 50-degree mixed rock and ice climb over a 590m distance.
Camp 2 (6200m) is situated on the shoulder of the mountain and can be accessed via a 55-degree 450m snowfield. The shoulder has an 800m snowfield with low objective danger and shallow exposure due to its wide expanse. Climbing Tilicho Peak with fixed ropes is required on a 40-degree slope to reach Camp II at 6300m, and the summit is approached by rising on some stretches of a 60-degree slope.
To begin the expedition, a base camp is established near the lake. From the base camp at around 4400m, the final goal of climbing Tilicho 7,134m is set. The climbing route from Base Camp to Camp I is a steep 70º/90º, while the route from Camp I to Camp II is a vertical ice climb with a steep 90º angle. The climbing route from Camp II to Camp III is steep, with angles ranging from 40º/60º or a maximum of 70º to reach the summit.
Training for Tilicho: Physical and mental preparation for the challenge ahead
Excellent physical condition is crucial for any high-altitude expedition, including the Tilicho Peak climb. You must stick to a consistent and rigorous training regimen to prepare for this challenging adventure. Additionally, practice ascending and descending step-up ladders commonly found on steep faces at high elevations.
The Tilicho peak expedition is not to be taken lightly, as it is graded at D+ (Fitness level). Climbing this peak requires a high level of physical and technical ability, and climbers must have prior experience of at least one high-altitude climb of 7000M or 8000M+ anywhere in the world. Therefore, it is essential to be in excellent physical shape to complete this expedition, and past climbing experiences and knowledge are vital for this.
We strongly recommend focusing on endurance, core, and strength training to prepare for this expedition. Some suggested training methods include various aerobic exercises. You can include long-distance running (over 20km) three to four times a week, cycling (1-2 hours), and hiking with 15-20 kgs of weight to gain elevation. Strength building and muscle endurance training are critical to focus on, and we recommend kettlebell routines as an effective workout.
Moreover, climbing other smaller peaks and testing yourself before the main expedition is also a great way to prepare for Tilicho Peak. We advise scheduling your training at least 6-12 months before departure to ensure you are physically fit.
Having prior knowledge of the environment you're heading into can be beneficial. Taking smaller steps toward achieving your end goal is also helpful. Attempting to climb a peak without preparation can be unpleasant and result in injury.
Taking on such journeys and challenges is to have fun, learn about different cultures, discover yourself, and feel confident and prepared to embark on an incredible journey. To prepare yourself mentally, it's crucial to acquire knowledge about the trek or climb you'll be undertaking since knowledge is power.
Tilicho Peak Expedition: Acclimatization and Altitude Sickness
Acclimatization is necessary to let your body adapt to environmental changes. It is essential for climbers ascending high-altitude peaks. Climbers must give themselves multiple days to rest and engage in light activity. This process allows their bodies to adjust to the new environment. Hikers must also gain altitude at a speed that their bodies can handle.
At high elevations, air pressure drops, and oxygen becomes more dispersed. This leads to breathing difficulties, rapid heartbeat, and the production of more red blood cells to carry oxygen. So without proper acclimatization, hikers are at a higher risk of altitude sickness. Following your initial ascent, we will maintain a consistent climbing routine by ascending between 300-400 m daily.
Each night's accommodations will be at an altitude of 300-400 meters higher. During this day, take some light trekking to reach a slightly higher altitude (300-400 meters) before returning to spend the night at the previous level.
Altitude sickness is a common condition in mountainous areas. This condition can cause severe problems if not appropriately addressed. Symptoms of moderate AMS include a headache, weakness, and nausea or vomiting. When experiencing these symptoms, descend to a lower altitude until conditions improve. Wait at least 24 hours at a lower height before attempting to climb higher again.
However, if you experience shortness of breath at rest or cannot walk alone, then your AMS has become more severe. To get better, you must quickly descend to lower elevations to avoid the risk of developing HAPE.
Acclimatize before climbing to reduce your risk of altitude sickness. This means taking your time to adjust to the decreased oxygen intake at higher elevations. Acclimatization varies for each person, and symptoms generally don't appear below 8,000 or 9,000 feet.
To protect yourself against altitude sickness, consider taking Diamox or a similar medication to alleviate the symptoms. Additionally, staying hydrated throughout your high-altitude expedition can be beneficial.
Nevertheless, if you experience any concerning symptoms, you must inform your team immediately. They can assist you by arranging transportation to the nearest hospital. And if necessary, flying you back to Kathmandu via helicopter.
Best Months for Tilicho Peak Expedition
Tilicho Peak presents its best version between March to May and September to November. These months offer optimal weather conditions to explore this region's beauty fully. These months also provide an excellent opportunity to immerse in the local culture and lifestyle.
You can witness the picturesque beauty of Tilicho Peak during this time, making it a perfect blend of nature and culture. On the other hand, the slippery and muddy trails make it challenging to explore the region during June, July, and August, making these months less suitable for visiting Tilicho Peak.
Autumn Season For Tilicho Peak
In Nepal, September, October, and November welcome the refreshing and tranquil Autumn season. It is the perfect time to experience the beauty and charm of Nepal. The weather during this season is delightful, with clear blue skies, stable and moderate temperatures, and an overall pleasant climate.
This is an ideal season for adventure enthusiasts who wish to indulge in trekking and other outdoor activities. The Annapurna and Manaslu regions are a must-visit during this time, offering awe-inspiring mountain vistas and the Tilicho Peak Expedition, which provides a semi-arid landscape and a surreal natural ambiance.
Apart from this, Nepal is also known for its vibrant culture and festivals, such as Dashain and Tihar, which fall during this season. The festive spirit and traditions add to the already charming and welcoming surroundings.
With pleasant mornings and sunny days, the weather during Autumn is perfect for exploring Nepal's diverse and thrilling adventure activities.
Spring Season For Tilicho Peak
As winter draws to a close in March, Nepal's vibrant Spring season bursts forth and lasts until May. This time of year is considered the most appealing time for travelers visiting Nepal. With clear skies and a temperate climate, the Spring season provides an ideal atmosphere for exploration.
As you trek through verdant forests, you'll be surrounded by the vibrant hues of rhododendrons in full bloom.
Embarking on a Tilicho Lake Trek in Spring allows you to bask in the breathtaking vistas of the Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna, Pisang Peak, and a host of other stunning peaks in the region. The Gompas and monasteries dotted along the trekking route, as well as the unique trans-Himalayan landscape of the Manang valley, are particularly awe-inspiring during this season.
Spring is also a fantastic time to participate in the local culture in festivals and celebrations. With Mahashivaratri, Holi, Nepali New Year, Dussehra, and many other festivals taking place during this season, you'll have plenty of opportunities to engage with the vibrant spirit of Nepal.
Summer and Winter ( Off Seasons for Tilicho Peak)
The summer season in Nepal runs from June to August and is ideal for exploring mountain regions due to favorable temperatures. However, the Terai and lower hilly areas can be challenging to travel due to high temperatures. Monsoon season also falls during the summer months, making trekking difficult due to frequent changes in climate and weather.
While trekking is not recommended during this time, hiking around the outskirts of valleys and nearby areas can still be enjoyable, with lush green vegetation on display. The Tilicho Lake trek is not advisable during summer due to uncertain weather conditions. Winter months from December to February are suitable for exploring urban and lower elevation places, but high elevations may experience snowfall and frosty conditions. While winter is not recommended for trekking in higher hills, hiking, and other activities are still possible.
Cost Of Tilicho Peak Expedition
Mountain Rock Treks offers peak climbing services for a Tilicho expedition that costs between $5000-$9000 per person. The company provides all-inclusive, high-quality services focusing on safety, summit success, cultural experiences, and fun. Our mountain adventure brand prioritizes responsible, ethical, and sustainable practices. Climbers can trust the team to take care of everything and enjoy their climbing holiday without any worries. Mountain Rock Treks explores the least climbed and remote peaks in the Himalayas and worldwide.
The cost of a Tilicho Peak expedition depends on various factors such as itinerary duration, facilities, meals, accommodation, travel insurance, permits, and guides. These factors determine most of the expedition cost. If you book with a tour company, they will manage all logistical requirements for you, but it is essential to read the cost inclusions and exclusions carefully before booking.
When embarking on such expeditions, a registered guide or lead Sherpa is usually involved. Moreover, sherpas from Nepali companies can have comparable or even more significant expertise than their Western counterparts. The fees for guided expeditions generally encompass all the necessary logistics, such as food, oxygen, sherpas, group gear, administrative charges, and permits.
An experienced Sherpa/guide proficient in English will be at the forefront of the operation. This person will shoulder the responsibility of the ascent and assume the role of group leader, making summit-related decisions and prioritizing safety.
The journey to conquer the majestic Tilicho Peak demands traversing through the breathtaking landscapes of Nepal. To reach the peak base, one must first take a scenic drive from Kathmandu to Dharapani, which can be undertaken via a local bus or a private vehicle.
While a local bus ride might seem economical, it can be pretty arduous, given the long hours of travel. However, it does offer an opportunity to soak in the picturesque vistas en route through the windows. A local bus ride to Tilicho Peak ranges from $5 to $10, making it an affordable mode of transportation.
On the flip side, local buses are generally cramped and uncomfortable, not ideal for a long journey on winding highways. A better option would be to hire a private vehicle for the trip, with greater comfort and convenience. Though slightly more expensive, ranging from $15 to $100, the private vehicle option provides a smoother and more luxurious travel experience. Moreover, the breathtaking views of the Himalayan terrain and scenic countryside make the additional expense worthwhile.
Whether one opts for a local bus or a private vehicle, the journey to Tilicho Peak is bound to be memorable. However, choosing the latter provides a more comfortable and hassle-free travel experience.
Guides or Porters
Hiring a team of professional guides, porters, and crew members is necessary for a successful peak Tilicho Peak climbing expedition.
These skilled experts will accompany you on the journey and assist you in difficult situations. The cost of hiring the team members is combined into the overall package.
A professional trekking guide can be hired at a daily rate of approximately 25 US$. Their services include guiding you through the routes, arranging accommodations, meals, and other logistical support. Similarly, the cost of porters in the region is around $ 15-$25 per day, or it can vary based on weight. On average, a porter can carry a load of up to 25 kg.
Furthermore, hiring a porter guide is comparatively more economical than hiring a professional guide. However, hiring a mountaineering climbing guide is imperative for a safe and successful climb, which may cost around $300- $500.
Kathmandu offers a range of accommodation options for travelers. Luxurious five-star hotels provide top-notch amenities and services at up to US$250 per night. But budget hotels can also be rented for US$15 - $50 per night.
Once you embark on your trek, however, your lodging options will change. Tea houses and lodges will be your primary accommodation choices, which lack the luxurious facilities of hotels but offer a warm bed and a meal for the day at a reasonable cost of around US$2 to US$6 per night. Due to limited availability, you may need to share a room or tent with other trekkers during peak seasons.
You will spend your nights in a tent or campsite in the base camps. Tents will be provided, and Sherpa guides will assist you in setting up your temporary shelter.
The food prices in Kathmandu vary depending on the dining location. While luxury hotels and high-end restaurants offer cuisine worldwide, small eateries provide decent food at a reasonable price. This implies that food expenses in Kathmandu range from $2 to $100, depending on the dining venue.
When trekking on high-altitude terrains, the food options become limited, with Dal-Bhat being a popular lunch and dinner option in teahouses. Other dishes such as momos, noodles, thukpa, and fried rice are also available, with food prices ranging from $5 to $15 per day along these trails. During an extended camping period at Tilicho base camp, our team members will prepare special homemade meals for you.
Travel insurance is important when engaging in adventure activities due to the possibility of encountering unforeseen circumstances along the journey. The insurance should encompass factors such as altitude sickness, injuries, and other unexpected events that may arise during the expedition.
The risk factor amplifies significantly when undertaking high-altitude adventures above 7,000m. Altitude sickness is a formidable challenge that could escalate into a severe condition if not addressed promptly. Emergency helicopter service may also be necessary in some instances. Therefore, to account for these potential challenges along the rough and snowy trails, it is essential to have travel insurance.