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There are 414 peaks open for climbing in Nepal. Of those 414 peaks there are 8 (8000m/26,246ft) peaks located in Nepal that are open for climbing. Currently there are 14 (8000m) peaks in the world all of which are located in the Himalayan Range. We operate expeditions for all the 8000m peaks in Nepal, 2 expeditions in Pakistan for Gasherbrum II (GII), K2, and 3 expedition in Tibet for Shishapangma Cho-Oyu, Everest North.
8000m peaks are the coveted price for high altitude mountaineers, the ultimate test. It is the culmination of a climbers skill, tenacity and hard work. It takes years of deliberate progression to test you at this level. When you start to get into this realm of climbing the terrain that is being climbed is relatively easy but given the fact that you are in the death zone (above 8000m/26,246ft) easy terrain quickly becomes arduous and impassible for most.
A select few world class climbers have recently been opening up more technical routes at on 8000m peaks. These mountain athletes are applying cutting edge training systems and years and decades of experience.
Experienced climbers have also been attempting to climb all of the 8000m peaks in the winter season. This adds another extreme element of difficulty to an already punishing test. To this writing no one person has been able to live through the dream of climbing all 8000m peaks in the winter, they have all perished in the pursuit.
How To Prepare For An 8000m Himalayan Climb
If you are considering an 8000m project you’re in the big leagues now. The climbing period of an 8000m expedition peak (which cans last 30-65 days) can be compared to running several marathons/triathlons.
It is important to remember that the guidelines that are laid out below are fairly general. Each individual will have a different level of physical fitness and mountain climbing resume coming in.
Identify the specific technical challenges that you will face during your climb. There is enough information available online today, you should not be surprised about what you will find when you arrive at your objective. Do your homework, it will increase your chances of success.
Ascend at least 1 (7000m) peak that is similar to your 8000m project, subsequently you should have at least 2 (6000m) successful summits under your belt, and dozens of peaks accomplished under 5000m.
Understand your body at altitude. By the time you get to an 8000m peak you should have intimate knowledge of how your body reacts and performs at the various “marker” altitudes of 6000m, 6500m and 7000m. A big key to high altitude climbing just understands the rate at which your body acclimatizes.
Build up a supporting base of aerobic activity. At least 400-500 days of physical activity. This translates to at least 2 years of steady aerobic activity. This can include: running, swimming, cycling, cross country skiing, soccer, competitive races such as marathons or triathlons and any other related aerobic activities. This should not be difficult for people who have an active lifestyle.
With at least 2 years of physical fitness activity under your belt you should now apply Periodization Training Models to your preparation. This will apply the proper progression, load and frequency to your training, Think of Periodization training models like sharpening a pencil: at first you have just the raw wood, but after steady and consistent work you develop that raw wood into a fine point.
Be trained and competent in several mountain skill sets including: Climbing self-rescue, crevasse rescue training, advanced mountaineering skills (using ice ax, front pointing in crampons, crossing glacier) and wilderness medical training (specifically treating high altitude related illness such as pulmonary edema and cerebral adema.)
**Our policies for accepting clients on 8000m peaks are all the previous experience required for 7000m, 1 (7000m) peak, the client has good physical fitness, no high blood pressure or diabetes, advanced knowledge and formal training in rock & ice climbing.**
Legality and Bureaucracy of 8000m peaks
• The cost of your permit depends on the season that you climb in. Spring is full price, the fall has a 50% discount and the winter/summer has a 75% discount.
• The cost of your 8000m permit is the same for all 8000m peaks except for Mt. Everest which is in its own price bracket all by itself.
• The government of Nepal does not allow climbing permits to be issued to a climber who is below the age of 16.
• For peaks above 6501m you need a liaison officer. The government has implemented a policy for safety and preservation reasons that any peak over 6501m cannot be climbed without a liaison officer. The liaison officer must go with the group and return with the group at the end of the expedition. They have to stay at the base camp and ensure that the team does not attempt any other route, leave trash, paint the rock and that they respect the culture.
• Currently the Himalayan kingdom allows climbers to scale just eight mountains above 8000m. The International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation will soon open 5 new 8000m summits. Three new peaks in the Kanchenjunga region and two in the Everest region. These summits include Lhotse Middle, Lhotse Shar, Kanchenjunga South, Kanchenjunga Central and Kanchenjunga West.
Classifying 8000m Peaks
In the Nepali grading system peaks are classified by their difficulty into three general categories: Easy, Moderate and Challenging.
The peaks are then further broken down using the International French Adjectival System (IFAS). The French adjectival alpine system evaluates the overall difficulty of a route, taking into consideration the length, difficulty, exposure and commitment level (how hard it may be to retreat) of the route. The overall grade combines altitude, length, difficulty of approach and descent, number of difficult pitches and how sustained they are, exposure and the quality of rock, snow and ice.
*For more details on a specific mountain, hover and click on the mountain to be taken to the supporting webpage.*
It is important to note that these references are according to the normal or standard routes on each peak