Safety is one of, if not the most, important things we at Himalayan Experience think about when planning and running our expeditions. Our trips have been tried and tested, altered and perfected over many years , more than most other operators in the industry, and our logistical prowess and commitment to these safety standards are well known in the climbing community, backed up by our impressive expedition statistics.
One of the key decisions we made over the years was to ensure we have a dedicated expedition manager stationed at basecamp who is extremely knowledgeable and experienced, and will not be involved with climbing further up the mountain, meaning their focus is solely on the organisation of the members and staff and their safety, with the clarity of vision only available to those who remain at the lower altitudes, thus able to make the best decisions at all times. In the past this has been the job of Russell Brice, and more recently this job has been shared by Russell and Phurba Tashi
The basecamp manager will be carefully monitoring and recording the weather, the climber’s progress up the mountain, energy levels, physical and mental state as well as the amount of oxygen consumed and remaining, all of which greatly reduces many areas of potential risk – this high level of constant observation saves lives.
We work with the optimum Sherpa/client ration of 1:1 and Western guide/client ratio of 1:4 which drastically increases both safety as well as the chance of achieving the summit. Our Sherpa team is one of the most experienced and respected in the Himalaya, with our senior Sherpa having been on every one of our expeditions since 1994, providing many familiar faces to those who have climbed with us more than once and achieving the much sought after sense of a bonded team. We are extremely proud of the team of Sherpa and guides we have built, and we invest heavily in the best clothing, eyewear and equipment for them
We have a dedicated medical tent at Base camp, and unlike other operators we also have our very own Doctor as part of the team, a priceless asset given the harsh environment we are working in and great source of comfort and reassurance to our members – knowing we have access to professional medical advice if you wake up feeling unwell can be the difference between success and failure on the mountain.
Oxygen management is extremely important when climbing these mountains, and we provide 5 bottles per member as part of the expedition price (something many others do not do), as well as giving full training on how to use the state of the art equipment (regulator, mask etc) which Himalayan Experience helped to develop.
Our commitment to safety isn’t only focussed on the mountain, we also make sure we are providing the highest levels from the moment our members arrive and step off the plane. In Kathmandu in recent years the general building expansion has been huge but with very little care of the infrastructure with standard being unsatisfactory. The telephone systems is overloaded, the water supply is fragile, there are long periods of no electricity, the roads are chaotic and the air quality is sub-standard.
For these reasons, we have made the decision to start our expeditions from the luxury of the Hyatt hotel where there is a constant power and communication supply but more importantly the hotel is surrounded by a large garden area which makes the air quality far better, offers peaceful surroundings and also an open space to escape to in the event of an earthquake. The Hyatt is also the only hotel in Kathmandu to have a helicopter landing pad – all details that on first glance may be overlooked but careful thought has gone into all of these factors to again ensure we are offering the safest trip possible.