It does not matter if you aren’t a really good climber. Now that you’re in Nepal, here’s a chance to challenge yourself and climb a real Himalayan peak or two. Yes, be a Himalayan climber. A good choice would be to try climbing one of the 18 trekking peaks listed under Group B of NMA (Nepal Mountaineering Association) Trekking Peaks. These are between 5663 m and 6654 m in height, so they aren’t exactly a cakewalk. Some experience in climbing would be good, besides of course, a certain degree of physical prowess.
The climbing fees for these 18 trekking peaks vary depending on the size of the group involved. If your team has one to four people, you pay US$350; if it’s five to eight people, you pay US$350 plus; and if it’s nine to twelve people, the fee is US$510 plus. Additional people in the two latter groups have to pay US$40 per person and US$25 per person, respectively. In any case, you can’t have more than 12 people in a group at any one time.
These fees entitle you a one month period to achieve your goal. However, if you need more time, you can extend for another two weeks, in which case you got pay an additional 25% of the total initial fees. At the same time, you should know that the permitted period means the time taken to climb above the base camp, and you don’t need to hurry getting there as the trek to and from the base camp does not come under this one month period.
Among these trekking peaks, the most popular are Mera Peak, Island Peak, Lobuche Peak, and Pisang Peak. Mera Peak (6,654 m), the highest trekking peak, is in Khumbu Himal in the Sagarmatha (Everest) region. Getting there and back usually involves a period of some two weeks or so. You first fly to Lukla (2840 m) from Kathmandu and trek thereon to Tukdingma, Kharkateng, Chatrawa, Kotte, Thangna (where you acclimatize for one day), Khara, and finally, you reach Mera Base Camp. From here, you climb up to High Camp where spend a day doing some serious preparations for the climb ahead, besides some extra acclimatization as well. The next day, you summit the peak. And, hurrah! You have climbed a genuine Himalayan peak!
Island Peak (6160 m), a.k.a. Imjatse, is also in Khumbu Himal in the Sagarmatha region, and this endeavor will also take some two weeks of your time. The first thing is to fly to Lukla from where you start trekking along the following route: Phakding, Namche Bazaar, Tangboche, Dingboche, Lobuche, Kala Patthar (5545 m; from where you get a fantastic close up view of Mount Everest), Chhukung, and finally, Imjatse Base Camp. In between trekking from one point to another, you take rest days to acclimatize yourself to the rising altitude. Climbing the peak is not too difficult as it is said to be a non-technical climb and any reasonably fit person should have no problem climbing it. However, it is a demanding climb, as most climbs up icy slopes are bound to be.
Loubuche Peak, which again is in Khumbu Himal of the Sagarmatha region, actually includes two distinct summits, Lobuche east (6119 m) and Lobuche west (6145 m). Though they are connected by a continuous ridge, they are at some distance from each other. Usually, it is Lobuche east that is the goal of most climbers. The odyssey begins with a flight to Lukla from where the trek goes through Phakding, Namche Bazaar (3441 m; where you acclimatize for one day), Tengboche, Pheriche, Dingboche (where you acclimatize for another day), Lubuje, and then Everest Base Camp (5364 m) and Gorakh Shep (5180 m), and then on to Kala Patthar and back to Dingboche, then to High Camp (5400 m; one day for more acclimatization). The next day you summit the peak. Hurrah! expedition
Pisang Peak (6091 m) is in Manang District of Gandaki Zone in western Nepal. Your adventure begins with a five-hour drive down to Besi Sahar, from where the trek begins. The route goes like this: Tal (1700 m, 6 h), Bagarchhap (2160 m, 5 h), Chame (2670 m, 6 h), Piang (3200 m, 6 h), Pisang Base Camp (4200 m), High Camp (5300 m; acclimatization for one day), then yes, climb to the top of Pisang Peak. After achieving this feat, trekkers generally go on to Pokhara via Manang, Yak Kharka, Thorang Phei, Muktinath (famous religious site), Marpha (famous for apple pies and apple brandy), Tatopani (hot springs), Shikha, Ghorepani, Poon Hill (famous for sunrise over Himalayan peaks), Ghandrung, Nayaypul, and then Pokhara, the ‘Lake City’. Naturally, this all round trip will take considerable time, almost a month, but it’s really a terrific way to see a lot of Nepal.
Whatever peak you choose to climb, you will be achieving a Himalayan victory, so go ahead and pick up the gauntlet. Challenge yourself to be a Himalayan conqueror!