2009 expedition to Baruntse (7129 m)

Paper work


For Nepal a visa is needed.

Dutch citizens can obtain their Nepal visa at the consulate on Herengracht in Amsterdam. It takes a few minutes. The application form can be downloaded beforehand.

Permit / peak royalty

For climbing Baruntse a permit is needed. The royalty in Spring is $2100 for up to seven members. In Autumn it is $1050. All royalty fees can be found on the website of the Ministry Of Tourism of Nepal. The permit must be collected in person at the ministry.

Duty clearance

All cargo that is sent separately must be cleared by the Nepalese customs. Therefore a packing list is required. All items should be marked consumable or re-exportable. For consumable items you pay around 25-30% duty. For re-exportable items the tax is refunded when you leave the country again and export the goods again.

On the airway bill you must provide the 'Name of the consignee'. That would be the expedition name and trekking agency.


The unit of currency in Nepal is the rupee (NPR).

The rates below are the real time updated forex rates coming from www.exchange-rates.org.

Nowadays there are plenty ATMs in Nepal, even in the smaller towns. If you plan to bring cash then US dollars or Euros are the best options. The dollar has been the preferred foreign currency for years but has lost it's position in favor of the Euro now.


International flights

KLM (via Delhi, long wait, not recommended), Gulf Air, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines have connections from Amsterdam to Kathmandu. It is also possible to fly to Bangkok and then to Kathmandu. The average price is € 1100-1300. There are no direct connections.

We have used Gulf Air. We got an extra baggage allowance of 10 kg per person.

Excess baggage

WWBSWe shipped excess baggage to Kathmandu by Worldwide Baggage Services (only from The Netherlands). 80 kg including insurance costed us € 235. Back to Amsterdam you have to use a local Nepales company; there are plenty in Kathmanu. It is advised that excess baggage is sent to Nepal 2-3 weeks prior to the expedition to allow for sufficient time for duty clearance. This was handled by our trekking agency.

Local transport

A flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar costs about € 115. It operates daily. To Lukla it is € 123.

Local support


We have done a full service expedition for which we needed:

  • Nepalese trekking agency;
    They took care of the local logistics: staff, permits, equipment
  • 2 Climbing Sherpas
  • Cook and cook helper
  • Porters

We have a friend in Kathmandu who happens to own a trekking agency: Ngima Sherpa from Unlimited Sherpa Expeditions. He took care of most logistics. And he was one of our Climbing Sherpas too.

Accomodation in Kathmandu

We stayed in the Tibet Holiday Inn in the Thamel. This was not a very good hotel. The only good thing was that it was just outside Thamel, only 5 minutes. A better option is the Amar Hotel. This is a good and not so expensive hotel. A double room with attached bathroom was USD 28. The downside is that this hotel is not in Thamel. But a taxi is only 100-150 rupees.

Altitude Sickness

Visit the Base Camp Clinic!What is it?

Altitude sickness is a complex of health problems that occur as a lack of oxygen. Usually one will not suffer from it in the lower altitudes (< 3500 m). Almost everybody will have some form of altitude sickness when climbing higher than 5000 meters. A full acclimatization needs 7 to 10 days and your body will not acclimatize fully above 5500 meters. There are three types of altitude sickness. They may occur on their own or together:

  • Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
  • High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)
  • High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE).


Symptoms of AMS are:

  • Headache
  • Dizzyness
  • Sleeping problems
  • No or less appetite

You may suffer from AMS if these three facts are all valid:

  • You’ve been climbing recently and usually over 300 meters a day
  • You have been on altitude for some hours now
  • You suffer from a headache that you did not have before.

In addition, you must suffer from one of these:

  • Feeling sick, no appetite, vomiting
  • Very tired
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Having sleeping problems that you normally do not have.


These two forms of altitude sickness are potentially lethal. You may suffer from HACE if:

  • you have a very heavy and persistent headache
  • You behave like a drunk
  • you seem to lose your coordination, you hallucinate, you have epileptic attacks etc.

To be brief: if you have both AMS and suffer from typical brain disorders (that you normally do not do) you may have HACE.

You may suffer from HAPE if:

  • you have AMS
  • you have a persistent cough
  • you feel very tired
  • you need a lot more time to recuperate.

Almost everybody will suffer from some kind of headache. A minor headache, which reacts well to painkillers, is not very important. However if you develop a headache during nighttime and it does not react to painkillers, you must wonder whether it is more serious than just AMS.

How to avoid altitude sickness

Here are some tips for avoiding or minimizing the chance that you get altitude sickness:

  • Recognize the symptoms and know what to do
  • Avoid a fast ascent to height above 2500 meters
  • Two or three night sleep on 2500 m
  • Avoid a gain of over 300 meters a day. It is good to climb higher that day but your sleeping altitude should not be over 300 m higher (Climb High, Sleep Low)
  • One extra day of rest after every 1000 meters
  • If you have any altitude sickness symptoms, do not climb higher
  • Descent if the situation worsens
  • Drink, drink, drink.

How to react if one suffers from altitude sickness


  • Descend immediately; at least 500 meters; try to reach the 2500 meters altitude
  • Use dexamethason
  • Stay at lower altitude until you have fully recovered (this may last a week). Ascending to soon may kill you!


  • Descend 500-1000 meters
  • Use nifedipine


  • Do not climb higher
  • Drink a lot
  • Use painkillers and/or diamox

Diamox as prophylaxis

Acetazolamide (brand name Diamox) is a well know drug for AMS. It can also be used as a 'prophylaxis'. This is only recommended if a fast altitude gain is inevitable, for instance if you fly to Lhasa without proper acclimatization.

Diamox not only helps against the symptoms of AMS, but also cures it! It help with the acclimatization process. It also seems to help against Cheyne-Stokes respiration.

Do not use sustained release Diamox!

Dosis as prophylaxis: start 24 hours before; 2 doses per day of 250 mg each. Continue taking it every day. Stop after the second or third night on altitude.

Other health issues

Altitude cough

Visit MountEverest.net!Many people suffer from a cough when they are on high altitude. This cough is also known as the Khumbu Cough.

If you get the cough during descent you can try codeine. If your lungs are affected then use antibiotics.


Headache is usually a symptom of AMS. Regular painkillers can be taken, although aspirine is slightly better, because it makes your blood thinner. Aspirine may also help a little against the Cheyne-Stokes respiration.

Sleeping problems

Sleeping pills are not recommended because they lower down your respiration, which can be dangerous on high altitude. Diamox may help a little if you suffer from Cheyne-Stokes.

Zoldipem and Melatonin are the only pills that have proven to have no negative effects on respiration.


A satellite phone may be convenient. But they are expensive! Thuraya has coverage in parts of Asia (including the Himalayas) and in Europe, not in the Americas. For full world coverage you need an Iridium. The advantage of a Thuraya is that it's cheap and it's light. To add to the costs is a Thuraya ECO-SIM pre-paid card, which is about $ 20. You can buy top-up scratch cards for extra airtime or you can use their website.

We bought the Thuraya SO-2510. Including a $ 80 top-up voucher and ECO-SIM it costed us € 540, which is cheap. We found it on eBay.

The SO-2510 can be used as a dial-up modem as well.

Coverage Area Thuraya


Whenever we had time and the possibility we published our diary on our blog (only in Dutch).


We have one pair of Brondi FX-400 radios. The range should be 8 km (5 miles). These radios can be used to communicate between high camps and base camp. A special license is required in Nepal.