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Sishapangma Expedition – 47 Days

Shishapangma officially Xixiabangma is the fourteenth highest mountain in the world and the lowest of the eight-thousanders. It was the last 8,000 meter peak to be climbed, due to its location entirely within Tibet and

OVERVIEW OF THE TRIP

Trip:
Tour Type: Climbing involve with Rope and Ice Axe, Sightseeing and Trekking
Trip Duration: 47 Days
Max Altitude: 8,027 m /26328.56 ft
Trip Starts From: Kathmandu
Trip Ends At: Kathmandu
Trip Region: Nepal, Tibet
Best Season: 
March to October
Trip Level:
Trip Route: Ktm-Lhasa-Shishapangma base camp -Sishapangm Summit-Zangmue-KTM

Trip Information

Shishapangma officially Xixiabangma is the fourteenth highest mountain in the world and the lowest of the eight-thousanders. It was the last 8,000 meter peak to be climbed, due to its location entirely within Tibet and the restrictions on outside visitation to the region imposed by the Chinese during the 1950s and later. The mountain has two summits, the commonly climbed Central summit that the Chinese say is 8013m (7999m on old maps) which we have reached four times. Naturally, we will be aiming to climb to the higher true summit, 8027m (26,335ft), let’s see if we can get there!

Before the Chinese opened Tibet to western mountaineers in 1978, little was known about Shishapangma. The only 8,000m peak to lie entirely in Tibet, it lies tantalizingly close to the Nepalese border, shrouded behind the great, but less high, border peaks of Langtang. Enterprising individuals sought mere glimpses of it during the period that other 8,000m peaks were receiving their first ascents! It is perhaps not surprising that it was the last of the 8,000m peaks to be climbed. Not that its ascent by the North-West Ridge presents any great difficulty. On the contrary, it is now regarded as one of the most straightforward 8,000m climbs and its summit is frequently achieved.

Regarded as a ‘holy’ mountain by the local Tibetan population, and lying on the route to Mt. Kailash, Shishapangma continues to baffle us. Historians cannot fathom her names – Shishapangma, Xixabangma, Gosainthan. Yet, the mountain is perhaps the most accessible of her genre, rising only a few miles west of the Kathmandu-Lhasa Highway. It was 16 years before the mountain received its second ascent, by a West German team in 1980, and it has been climbed every year since.


    ITINERARY

  • Day 01 – Arrive at Kathmandu airport (1345meters). Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 02 – Pre-trip Meeting and Sightseeing around Kathmandu valley. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 03 – Official formalities and Preparation day in Kathmandu. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 04 – Final Preparation day in Kathmandu. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 05 – Fly to Lhasa (3,600meters) from Kathmandu. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 06 and 07 – Sightseeing in Lhasa. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 08 – Drive to Shigatse (3900 meters), 6 hours. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 09 – Drive to Xegar (4000 meters), 6 hours. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 10 – Acclimatization Day. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 11 – Drive to Shishapangma base camp (5000 meters). Overnight at tented camp.

  • Day 12 and 13 – Base camp preparation. Overnight at tented camp.

  • Day 14 – Move to Advanced Base Camp (5600 meters). Overnight at tented camp.

  • Day 15 to 40 – Climb period of Shishapangm. Overnight at Tented Camp.

  • Day 41 and 42 – Cleaning the mountain. Overnight at Tented Camp.

  • Day 43 – Packing Advance base camp. Overnight at Tented Camp.

  • Day 44 – Trek Base Camp and drive Zhangmu. Overnight at guesthouse.

  • Day 45 – Drive back to Kathmandu. Its time for Celeberation. Overnight at hotel.

  • Day 46 – At leisure in Kathmandu. In the evening, we have our farewell celebration and expedition dinner. Overnight at Hotel.

  • Day 47 – Fly from Kathmandu for your final departure.


    TRIP DETAILS

  • Day 1 - Arrive at Kathmandu airport (1345 meters).

    Our airport representative will be receiving you at Tribhuvan International airport, Kathmandu and s/he will be displaying an Aarohi Holiday signboard outside the airport terminal. You will be then transffered to your respective hotel in our private tourist vehicle. Overnight at Hotel.
    (No meals included)

  • Day 2 - Pre-trip meeting & sightseeing around Kathmandu valley.

    In the morning, after breakfast, At around 8am, we host a pre-trip meeting at your hotel in Kathmandu and introduce your trek leader/guide. Please seek this opportunity to ask questions about your trek. We will also supply you with our trek Duffel Bag, T-shirt and a Cap. For the meeting, please make sure you bring passport, three copies of passport-size photos, and a readable copy of your travel insurance policy. During this meeting, please clear the due balance, if any, and sign the legally binding trip form as well as the non-liability disclaimer. Please inform us in advance if you will be arriving late and therefore are unable to attend the pre-trip meeting.

    After the Pre-Trip meeting and breakfast, your sightseeing trip will start at 9.45 AM in the morning. We provide a private vehicle and professional tour guide. We visit Boudhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where we observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. After Boudhnath Stupa we visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here we see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. We also visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square, which is a collection of pagoda and shikhara – style temples grouped around a fifty-five-window palace of brick and wood. The attraction of the Bhaktapur Durbar Square are the the Lion gate, the Golden gate, the Palace of fifty five windows, art galleries, the Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla.

    The rest of our time in Kathmandu is free for further exploration and some last-minute shopping in Thamel area near by your hotel.Overnight at Hotel. 
    (Breakfast Included)

  • Day 3 - Official formalities in Kathmandu.

    Formal briefing at the Ministry of Tourism. The expedition leader will check that everyone’s equipment is in working order. Overnight at Kathmandu hotel.
    (Breakfast Included)

  • Day 4 - Final preparation day in Kathmandu.

    Final opportunity for last-minute purchases. Overnight at Kathmandu hotel.
    (Breakfast Included)

  • Day 5 - Fly to Lhasa.

    Early morning transfer to the Kathmandu International Airport for the hour-long flight to Lhasa. This stunning flight takes us directly across the main Himalayan range, providing magnificent mountain views. After landing at Gonggar Airport and meeting our Tibetan guide, Lhasa is a further two hour drive. The remainder of the day will be left unscheduled for participants to rest and adjust to Lhasa’s higher altitude. Overnight at Lhasa hotel.
    (Breakfast Included)

  • Day 6 - Sightseeing in Lhasa.

    We spend today visiting several of Lhasa’s many monasteries in the company of a guide and interpreter. One of these is the Sera Monastery, one of the best-preserved monasteries in Tibet. Several hundred monks live and study within its whitewashed walls and golden roofs. After lunch we’ll visit the Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, as well as the Jokhang Temple. This temple is possibly the most sacred shrine in Tibet and there is always a procession of devout Tibetans making their way through the complex. Surrounding the Jokhang is the Barkor, a maze of narrow cobbled streets that is the central market of Lhasa. Overnight at Lhasa hotel.
    (Breakfast Included)

  • Day 7 - Second day of sightseeing in Lhasa.

    In the morning, we visit spectacular Potala Palace, which dominates the city of Lhasa. The building served as the seat of the Dalai Lama from the 17th century until 1959, and contains numerous grand state rooms and many important chapels. After lunch we visit the Drepung Monastery, founded in the 14th century and once the largest in the world, with a population of around 10,000 monks. These days that figure is down to several hundred, but there is still much at the monastery of interest, especially because it was left relatively unscathed during the Cultural Revolution. Overnight at Lhasa hotel.
    (Breakfast Included)

  • Day 08 - Drive to Shigatse.

    We set off in jeeps for the six hour drive across the Tibetan plateau. Soon after leaving Lhasa, we reach the banks of the Tsang Po, which becomes the Brahmaputra River when it enters India. We drive upstream for a while before turning southwest through barren desert-like valleys to reach Shigatse (3900m), Tibet’s second largest city. Overnight in a hotel.
    (Breakfast Included)

  • Day 09 - Drive to Xegar.

    Today continues with another six hour drive, along the Tibetan highway. As we drive the northern edge of the Greater Himalaya comes into view, providing a spectacular panorama of peaks, including Everest. We overnight in a hotel 7km outside the main town of Xegar (4000m). If there is time, we may be able to visit the main town and its hilltop monastery. Overnight at Xegar hotel.
    (Breakfast Included)

  • Day 10 - Acclimatization Day.

    This is an important day, allowing us to cope with the great height increase to Chinese base camp tomorrow. General advice is to take it easy, but a visit the main town and a gentle hike up to its hilltop monastery (4200m) are highly recommended. Overnight at hotel.
    (Breakfast Included)

  • Day 11 - Drive to Shishapangma base camp (5000 meters)

    Magnificent views of Shishapangma and many other mountains make today’s road journey an unforgettable one. After crossing the Thang La (5200m), we turn off the Lhasa highway and head west along the road to Mount Kailash for a further 25 km. Turning south onto an even smaller track, we eventually arrive at the base camp (5000m). This is situated close to the Yambughangala River, which drains on the north side of Mt. Shishapangma. Overnight at tented camp.
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Days 12 and 13 - Base camp preparation.

    The first few days at the base camp are spent preparing our equipment and organizing loads for the yaks to carry up the mountain. These are also important days for our acclimatization, as we will all feel the effects of living at 5,000m and will need to be in good shape for the long route to the base camp. Overnight at tented camp.
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Day 14 - Hike to advance base camp.

    After loading up the yaks with all the equipment, we set off with them on the 20km (12 mile) trek to the advance base camp. Initially we follow a jeep track to a plateau above the river, and then the west bank of the valley to ABC (advance base camp) near the snout of the Yambughangala Glacier (5600m). This is in an impressive location, with the giant white pinnacles of the glacier leading up the valley to Shishapangma. Here we unload the yaks and set up camp, which will serve as the take-off point for the climb. From here the Sherpas will do most of the load carrying. Overnight at tented camp.
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Days 15 to 40 – Climbing Mt. Shishapangma.

    From this point on, it’s not really possible to detail a climbing plan, because the pace will depend upon the leader and the particular team.

    Above the advance base camp we will place two or three camps, depending on conditions. The climb starts with a long trek leading to a large camping area at 6400m. From here we traverse further, gaining the shoulder of the mountain and arriving at Camp 2 (7100m). All of the climbing is on scree or snow and presents little difficulty. The northwest ridge is easily accessible from Camp 2, although it may involve snow and ice climbing at a steepness of fifty degrees. Fixed ropes are placed on all steep/crevassed sections. If a high camp is required, it is placed according to the prevailing conditions. The summit ridge is very long and usually reached by tracing a rising diagonal route across the snow slope below to reach the ridge, as close to the summit as possible. The west summit (8008m) of Shishapangma is quicker to reach than the main summit and is the usual point reached by ‘summiteers.’ Plenty of time is allowed in the event of bad weather and slow acclimatization. We intend to have enough time at the end of the expedition to make a complete withdrawal from the mountain, removing all equipment and waste and taking it back to ABC.

    The climb
    The expedition leader, in discussion with the team members and Sherpas, manages the day to day running of the expedition. The Sherpas carry the majority of the equipment to establish the camps, leaving us to familiarize ourselves with the mountain and grow better acclimatized, a long process. There are several different methods to prepare for the summit bid, and the will be discussed in detail on the mountain.

    The basic plan is to spend three to four days at ABC, then take a six to seven day trip up on the mountain, sleeping as high as Camp 2 (7100m). Logistically, it takes some sound preparation and organization to ensure all the camps are set up with the appropriate supplies. Then we need a window of good weather for the summit attempt, often a waiting game.

    Summit route options
    Summit day means a very early start. The best route to the true summit is crossing the face, but we judge at the time whether this is safe.

    The route goes first to the central summit, which we must fix with ropes. From there to the true summit is a knife-edged ridge that is rarely in good condition for traversing, although it is only truly challenging for less than a rope length.

    The other possibility is a new route: from Camp 3 we descend a little onto a broad plateau and will probably have to put up a camp there. The slopes from there on are moderate, although there are a few crevasses.

    Safety and conduct of the climb
    Mt. Shishapangma has by now been climbed by many, and the mountain and its potential dangers deserve respect from all those attempting it. Reaching the summit late in the day would be a serious mistake, and the guides will ensure that appropriate timing is adhered to. The aim of the expedition will be to ensure that as many team members as possible reach the summit. However, this will not be to the detriment of safety. Safety will govern all decision-making on the mountain and will be based on the sound mountaineering judgment of the highly experienced mountain guides. To support the guides on the mountain, Aarohi Holiday will plan the expedition as thoroughly and carefully as possible using experience and knowledge of the mountain to maximum benefit. Ultimately, the leader will have sole discretion on the implementation of any plan to climb the mountain, and he will ensure that safety remains the prime consideration.

    The high mountains of the Himalayas, Shishapangma in particular, are there for us to climb and enjoy. The priority will be to enable all team members to fulfill their potential on the mountain, returning home safely and with a life-enhancing experience. Whether or not expedition members reach the top, the expedition should be an enjoyable and rewarding achievement that will form the basis of many long cherished memories and friendships.
    (High Quality Camping Tents will be provided in each camp)
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Days 41 and 42 - Cleaning the mountain.

    It takes several days to clear all the camps, and remove all waste from the mountain. Overnight at Tented Camps.
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Day 43 - Packing advance base camp.

    More packing! Occasionally we can arrange for the climbers to leave ahead of the expedition leader and Sherpas. We judge at the time, as conditions allow. Overnight at Tented Camp.
    (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

  • Day 44 - Trek to base camp and drive to Zhangmu.

    We trek to the base camp, in the afternoon catching a ride to Zhangmu. Overnight at guesthouse.
    (Breakfast Included)

  • Day 45 - Drive back to Kathmandu.

    We should arrive in Kathmandu late afternoon or evening ready to enjoy the good restaurants. Overnight at hotel.
    (Breakfast Included)

  • Day 46 - Leisure day in Kathmandu and Farewell Dinner.

    Time for relaxation and shopping. Once back in Kathmandu, Aarohi Holiday will host an evening barbecue as a chance to celebrate the expedition, say farewell, and thank the Sherpas and team members for their support and friendship throughout the trip. Overnight at hotel.
    (Breakfast and Farewell Dinner Included)

  • Day 47 - Transfer to airport for flight departure.

    An Ace airport representative will escort you to Kathmandu International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal.
    (Breakfast Included)


    COST INCLUDES

  • Airport / Hotel / Airport pick up & drop by Tourist Vehicle.

  • Standard twin sharing accommodation in three star hotel in Kathmandu; Breakfast included. (6 nights).

  • Two star hotel accommodation in Lhasa and Gyantse with basic guesthouse accommodation in Shegar and Zangmu including Breakfast.

  • Guided city tour in Kathmandu by Tourist Vehicle.

  • Full board meal during camping at base camp, prepared by our cook with hot Tea & coffee.

  • All base camp and Advance base camp camping gears (We will provide fully water proof dining tents, kitchen gears, dining table, chairs, toilet tents, shower tent at the base camp)

  • High quality tents for all camps.

  • Insurance for all Nepali staffs and porters including helicopter rescue provision.

  • Boiled and purify drinking water for the trek and at base camp.

  • Expedition permits.

  • Liaison officer and his round trip flight, insurance, wages, expedition equipments etc.

  • High altitude climbing food, fuel, Gas above base camp (you are also advised to bring some high altitude food yourselves).

  • Guide, cook, porters, helpers up to base camp.

  • Climbing Sherpas (1 member = 1 Sherpa Ratio on climbing day).

  • A well stocked first aid and medical kit sufficient to counter any possible mountaineering ailments, from headache to serious injury.

  • Extra Oxygen equipment for medical use and summit (from 7,000m) only.

  • A portable hyperbaric chamber (Gamow bag).

  • Emergency communications on the mountain and satellite communications link for helicopter evacuation.

  • Mask regulator.

  • Sightseeing/Monument entrance fee for entire trip.

  • Welcome and farewell dinner for members in Kathmandu.

  • Power supply at Base Camp for charging electronics (solar backup).

  • Flight cost from Kathmandu - Lhasa including airport departure tax.

  • Chinese visa and permit. (We handle all the paperwork for the Chinese visa and all the Tibet travel and climbing permits).

  • All our government taxes and vat.


    COST DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Lunch and dinner whilst in Kathmandu and while staying in hotel/guesthouse in Tibet.

  • Travel insurance which covers emergency Rescue and Evacuation. (See the travel insurance page).

  • International airfare and airport departure tax (see the international flights page).

  • Nepal entry visa; you can obtain a visa easily upon your arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu. (Tourist Visa with Multiple Entries for 30 days can be obtained by paying US $ 40 or equivalent foreign currency. Similarly, Tourist Visa with Multiple Entries for 90 days can be obtained by paying US $ 100. Please bring 2 copies of passport size photos).

  • Alcoholic, hot and cold drinks.

  • Personal trekking and climbing Equipment (See the trekking equipment page).

  • Tips for trekking staff and driver (Tipping is expected, see info below).

  • Any others expenses which are not mentioned on 'Price Includes' section.


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