Problem: The Great Himalaya Trail is not your average thru-hike. Doing any long distance on the Great Himalaya Trail presents a number of challenges ranging from coordinating permits to getting equipment replaced on the trail. Trying to do it all is very time consuming and error prone – and sometimes impossible to do from the trail. Locals also usually get better rates. And for emergency extraction, you really want an ally in Kathmandu who is helping with coordination.
Solution: We offer a basic support package that provides 80 hours of logistical help including pre-departure support and acting as an agent and emergency contact in Kathmandu. If we can’t do it, we will locate a third party (e.g. a transportation company) and work out the best deal on your behalf. This is based on a model that HAL Co-founder Seth Wolpin used in 2014 during his GHT crossing with John Fiddler and Kathleen Egan and backstopped by Dorjee Sherpa.
- On the ground coverage duration: 3 months.
- Base cost (one person): $2,000 USD
- Max hours of support included with base cost (including pre-departure): 80 hours
- Additional cost per person in group: $250 USD (includes 10 additional hours of support)
For each additional person added to the group beyond the initial person we will add ten hours of service. if we go past the contracted hours, additional hours would be $20 per hour. If any hours are unused at the end of the service period, half of the value will be returned to the clients and half donated to: www.wideopenvistas.org
Discounts: 3% can be deducted if payment is by bank deposit in the US and not with a credit card. And we offer a 5% discount if fundraising for www.wideopenvistas.org
What this covers
HAL functioning as an expedition concierge, or otherwise: ‘ fixing’ or ‘backstopping’ your GHT experience. We estimate that each trip needs 50-80 hours of support including help with logistics pre-departure and when you are on the ground. Some examples of fixing services provided: a) airport pickup, hotel bookings in Kathmandu, all travel bookings (jeep, plane, bus) while in country, assistance obtaining permits, hiring guides, porters, arranging for gear to be sent to parties on the trail, assistance with emergency medical evacuation, translation services via sat phone, research on permit check points.
All logistical goods and services will be passed on with no markup/profit by HAL and all expenses/receipts will be documented. We will keep track of hours and report at ten hour increments. When we have to subcontract for services – we will advocate for a discount for you, at no additional charges on our own. In most cases, we will get a better rate than what you can get yourselves because that is how business operates in Nepal. That said, we will not work with subcontractors who pay their staff (porters, guides) less than a living wage or equip them in substandard gear.
Reserve Fund: A reserve fund with HAL should be established by the group so we can pay for trip costs while you are on the trail. For example, a member may need to exit the trail to the nearest airstrip – we would buy the ticket so you have a flight waiting for you when you reach the airstrip. Or you may want a new jacket or an ice ax delivered in which we would pay for these costs out of the reserve fund. A log of all transactions will be kept and any funds remaining at the end of the trip will be returned. In many cases, especially when in Kathmandu, expenses can be paid directly by participants and the reserve fund does not need to be touched. If you deposit funds with a credit card through our processor, you may need to cover the transaction fee (2.9% or refund fees). You can also have an outside party periodically do an international wire transfer if you want to have a low escrow balance.
What this does not cover
- Planning your entire trip on the Great Himalaya Trail. We can help with this, but it will burn up a lot of the 80 hours in the service package – plus mapping it out is part of the adventure and there are many resources on the web. We are there when you have a question you can’t answer (new checkpoint? GPX tracks, permit issues), and when you need help on the ground.
- Everything working out perfectly. It is the Himalayas! But we do our best and you will have a lot less bumps versus trying to navigate all of this on your own. Many people underestimate this aspect – but the GHT is extremely difficult and having some element of backstopping is critical. There are other companies who will help you get your permits for a few hundred dollars – but they can’t be relied on to backstop you. We are one of the few companies in the world with a deep level of understanding related to the challenges on encounters on the Great Himalaya Trail.
- The group (ideally each member) needs to have a satellite communication device like a InReach (SPOTs don’t work well in the Himalaya). HAL can help secure a satellite phone rental at-cost for participants.
- Helicopter insurance is required – we can help point you in some good directions. We highly recommend you carry a sat phone and contract with a remote expedition doctor who has high altitude training.
- We also recommend you leave Kathmandu with all permits in your hands and with substantial overlap in permit coverage between sections so that even if your pace changes, you still have adequate permits. The group needs to identify their route and start/stop dates (could be on a weekly interval with way points), so we can do the necessary legwork getting the permits. If advice is needed on the itinerary that can be provided once a contract is in place and will be counted as part of the service hours.
We are happy to provide 30 minutes free consultation via a phone call or skype/zoom session. If you need additional time after that, we provide private consultation for trip planning at a rate of $30 per hour pro-rated in 10 minute increments. If you sign up for one of our other trips, or a basic GHT support package, we will credit you by deducting the consultation fees from the listed price up to a maximum of 4 hours.