With a straightforward climbing route and easy access to an established Base Camp, Shishapangma is an ideal first 8,000m peak!
THE RMI DIFFERENCE
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America’s oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Denali and a leader in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our experienced guides are some of the best in the world, more than 40 of whom have reached the summit of Mt. Everest, some multiple times. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge necessary to create the best possible trips. We work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader.
In 2011 a strong team of RMI Guides, including Elías de Andrés Martos, successfully climbed Shishapangma via the Northwest Ridge without the use of supplemental oxygen or Sherpa support. Their knowledge and experience serves as the foundation for your adventure. Read about the 2011 climb on the RMI Blog.
Safety has always been RMI’s top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. Our experienced team of guides and Sherpa focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. By purposefully staffing this expedition with a low climber to guide ratio we maintain the highest high degree of personal service from RMI’s guides and Sherpa staff, increase our margin of safety on the mountain and improve your chances of success.
Our climber-to-guide ratio is 3:1, and our Sherpa-to-climber ratio is 1:1.
Our camps are stocked with comprehensive medical kits and we have two Gamow bags on the mountain throughout the expedition. Our guides and staff are highly trained in emergency mountain medicine and work to maintain our strict standards of safety. When problems arise on the mountain, away from medical facilities, the level of training and experience RMI’s guides have makes them some of the most sought after guides in the profession.
Careful planning and vigilant care are taken as we venture into high altitudes. Our well-planned use of climbing oxygen dramatically improves a climber’s chance of success on Shishapangma. It is expected that first-time 8,000m climbers use bottled oxygen. Personal exceptions/considerations will be addressed individually with the guides. Oxygen equipment will be carried to high camp and worn on summit bid. All oxygen will be purchased prior to the expedition.
Participants on our Shishapangma Expedition must have a solid understanding of mountaineering skills. We require that each team member have previous high altitude experience, such as Denali, Aconcagua, Huascaran, Ama Dablam or other 7,000 – 8,000 meter peaks. Screening and final selection will be done on an individual basis after we have reviewed your climbing resume and our Shishapangma Guides have spoken with you directly. Climbers on this adventure will be expected to be confident, competent and ready to participate in this adventure of a lifetime.
As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs.
Depart US. During your flight you will cross the International Date Line and travel time is approximately three days.
Arrive in Kathmandu. We are transferred to our hotel for some rest and recovery before our evening reception and welcome dinner. Overnight in Kathmandu. (D)
Situated in a bowl-shaped valley in central Nepal, Kathmandu is the largest city in Nepal and the cosmopolitan heart of the Himalayan Region. Today the itinerary focuses on a thorough team meeting / orientation and equipment check, fitting for oxygen masks, and any other last-minute preparations. The rest of the day is spent enjoying the city and local cuisine. Overnight in Kathmandu. (B)
Leaving Kathmandu, we travel the Friendship Highway towards Tibet. We reach the Chinese-Nepali border which we cross on foot via the Friendship Bridge. Once in the Chinese town of Zhangmu, we check in at our hotel for the day. (B, L, D)
We drive across the spectacular Nyalam Thongla Pass and through the Nyalam Gorge, into the town of Nyalam. In Nyalam we see the first displays of typical Tibetan buildings and attire. (B, L, D)
Today we spend our time acclimatizing in Nyalam after this big jump in elevation. A short hike in the nearby hills helps us in the process and provides the first view of the higher Himalayan mountains. (B, L, D)
After an early wake-up in Nyalam, we jump into the vehicles for the last time on our way to the trailhead at “Chinese Driver’s Camp.” (This is the furthest point that the vehicles from the 1964 Chinese expedition made it). These idyllic meadows on the Tibetan Plateau serve as our camp for the next few days as we continue to acclimatize and sort out our gear to be carried to Base Camp by the yaks. (B, L, D)
Driver’s Camp to Base Camp requires a 10-mile hike. While not steep (gaining only 2,000′ over that distance), it takes the majority of the day. The views of Shishapangma from Base Camp are astonishing. Upon arrival to camp, we pitch and move into our tents and establish what will be home for nearly the next month. (B, L, D)
Once at Shishapangma Base Camp the itinerary can vary greatly; this is only an outline of the expedition’s movements. If weather and conditions allow for all team members to summit earlier, then the program schedule will be moved accordingly. We are permitted a total of 28 days on the mountain.
Once at Base Camp, we rest for a few days and allow our bodies to adapt to life at 18,400’. Using nearby terrain, we review our climbing techniques, becoming comfortable and proficient on steep terrain and fixed lines. Shortly after our arrival, we take part in our Puja Ceremony, a deeply meaningful and solemn Buddhist ceremony led by a local lama before the start of any climbing expedition.
With our bodies acclimatizing to Base Camp, our Puja ceremony completed, and our training accomplished, we begin our acclimatization rounds on the mountain. Over the next weeks we slowly work our way up the mountain, acclimatizing to higher and higher elevations and becoming stronger at altitude and familiar and comfortable with the terrain. Above Advanced Base Camp (ABC, 19,500′) we establish three camps. Camp 1 (20’990) is at the top of a long snow slope, which is accessed by crossing an intricate field of seracs. We follow a gentle slope which steepens on its second half to take us to Camp 2 (22,650′). At Camp 2 we can contemplate the summit, and the beautiful surrounding mountains, like Pola Gangchen and Porong Ri. The ascent to reach Camp 3 (24,250′) starts out crossing a relatively long flat section under Shishapangma’s North Face. At the end of this snow plateau, we encounter the steep headwall under the Northwest ridge where and establish Camp 3 at the base. Summit day consists of climbing intermediate snow slopes, only interrupted periodic by small rock outcroppings.
Once at the Central Summit (8,007m/26,270′) we use our best judgment to address the crossing to the South Summit (8,013m/26,289′), a typically corniced knife-edge ridge that poses the most difficult part of the climb.
The number of days this takes our team varies due to weather, acclimatization, team strength, the number of caches we make, and other such circumstances. Our guides use their vast mountain experience, knowledge, and decision-making abilities to maximize each climber’s chance of reaching the summit of Shishapangma.
We make the descent from Base Camp back to Driver’s Camp, marveling at the riot of green that we find after so many days at high altitudes. Upon arrival back at Driver´s Camp, we unload the yaks and transfer to the waiting vehicles, to make the drive back to Nyalam for a well deserved hot shower and night of sleep in a bed. (B, L, D)
We descend the Friendship Highway on our way back to the border. After crossing into Nepal, we are expected back in Kathmandu by dinner time. (B)
Flight: Arrive home.
* Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. reserves the right to modify the land cost of a trip at any time before departure.