The clothes to bring on a trek to Everest Base Camp or Annapurna Circuit

March 31, 2015

everest-base-camp-packing-listThe question of what to bring on a trek to Everest Base Camp or on the Annapurna Circuit is oft-asked. Your packing list must be carefully considered given that there will be a weight allowance when you fly to Lukla or Pokhara (see: http://www.taan.org.np/). Many people make the mistake of bringing too much stuff: there is nothing worse than carting clothing and equipment around for two weeks at altitude and not making use of it. You will feel even worse if it is a porter doing the carting. So here is a list of clothing for this trek that assumes the adventure will last for slightly more than two weeks.

Outer layers

Middle layers

Base layers

Footwear, because your feet are critical here

And do not forget the inner and outer gloves and wooly hat.

Adhering to this list will allow you to be comfortable on your Everest Base Camp trek

You can find more information on the Everest Base Camp packing list and Annapurna Circuit packing list here:

Should You Take a Sleeping Bag on the Inca Trail?

December 24, 2014

packing-list-for-inca-trailThe Inca Trail appears on many people’s bucket lists, featuring as it does breathtaking scenery and Inca ruins. It’s widely-regarded as one of the 10 best treks in all the world. It concludes at the lost city of Machu Picchu, whose image seems to grace every Peru-related brochure or travel book.

If you take the Inca Trail, central to your enjoyment will be your sleeping bag, in which you’ll be spending a large proportion of your time. Nights chill the bones, particularly in winter when the temperature can be below freezing and legend speaks of nights when it was below 14 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be cold at night, whatever the season. The coldest night is the second, which is spent at the greatest height.

A warm sleeping bag will be required, and it’s highly-advisable to bring your own, although it will be one more thing to carry. A down sleeping bag will last forever more, compensating for its higher price, but a synthetic one will absorb less moisture and offer more insulation even when damp. A water-resistant shell will prevent a down sleeping bag from becoming wet. Down possesses a better warmth-to-weight ratio.

If buying is not an option, so long as you have no objection to being the latest in a long line of occupants, a sleeping bag can be hired from the trek provider with ten days’ notice, or more cheaply – $10 – from a multitude of establishments in Cuzco, however its quality will then be in the lap of the gods. You should closely inspect any bag you are considering renting. Apart from anything else, it is not unknown for bags to go unwashed or, even worse, undried between uses. Since there is a weight limit to your accoutrements, a sleeping bag should never be bulky – and cheap ones often are. It is wise to bring a sleeping bag liner to provide extra warmth and stand between you and that rented sleeping bag. Silk is more compact than thermal.

A four-season bag is much preferable in winter, although if you’re on a budget, you may be able to make do with a three-season bag and liner plus warm clothes. Roll mats will be provided, but you’ll be spending at least two nights on the bare ground so your comfort would be enhanced by a Thermorest-style mattress which is a much superior insulator and can be hired locally for $10. It should be borne in mind that there are different types for men and women.

Evidently, the decisions as to whether to bring a sleeping bag on the Inca Trail and what type to use are not to be taken lightly.

For a complete Ica Trail packing list check out this article!

Machu Picchu – A Brief History

September 19, 2014

machu-picchu-trekMachu Picchu, the 15th century Inca site, is the most popular tourist destination in Peru and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The site is thought to have been constructed in 1450 as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472), and was abandoned about a century later during the Spanish Conquest. The site never became known to the Spanish during the conquest and therefore one of the most intact Inca ruins.

Although known locally the site came to prominence when American historian Hiram Bingham discovered the ruins in 1911. Bingham erroneously thought he had discovered the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ and thus, the title, is still to this day mistakenly used by tourists and tour operators.

Bingham had actually discovered the Lost City, Vilcabamba, earlier in his expedition but had thought it unimportant due to its size and state of preservation.

Since 1911, tourist activity to Machu Picchu has grown exponentially, reaching a peak of 400,000 visitors in 2000. Concerns about threats that tourism pose to Machu Picchu’s conservation has in recent years led the Peruvian government to impose stricter regulations on tourist access and activities.

Today the site is only open to 2,500 tourists a day, and permits to climb Huayna Picchu (within the citadel) is limited to 400 people per day.

The most popular route to the ruins, the Classic Inca Trail, has a limit of 500 permits per day (half of which go to guides and porters employed by trekkers). This means that booking onto a tour needs to happen early, particularly during the poplar seasons – May through September. In February the classic trail is closed due to the onset of rain. In fact in January 2010, heavy rain caused bad flooding that trapped over 2,000 tourists and local, who had to be air rescued.

Permit restrictions on the Classic Trail have led to alternative routes like the Salkantay and the Vilcabamba growing in popularity – despite being longer and tougher than the Classic trail.

These less travelled routes offer tourists quieter trails with equally good opportunities to view Inca sites and enjoy the incredible mountainous landscapes that characterise the Urubamba Province.

Click here to find out more about Machu Picchu Treks or read this great informational resource on Machu Picchu.

Mount Kilimanjaro Facts and Figures

August 14, 2014

mount-kilimanjaro-factsAre you looking for some of the most interesting Mount Kilimanjaro Facts and Figures?

Look no further. On this page I have tried to capture as many Mount Kilimanjaro Facts as I can. However, if you want to see the most comprehensive list I highly recommend the Mount Kilimanjaro Facts on this page.

First up, Mount Kilimanjaro is super high, but how high is it?

According to recent measurements the top of the mountain or summit stands at 5,895 meters or 19,371 feet. The highest peak is called Uhuru and is situated on a dormant volcano. In fact Mount Kilimanjaro consists of three conical peaks called Kibo (on which Uhuru Peak stands), Shira and Mawenzi.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and has the nickname – The Roof of Africa. To reach the summit means to stand on top of the Roof of Africa.

Mount Kilimanjaro is also the highest free standing mountain in the world.

The mountain is situated in Northern Tanzania. Two Tanzanian agricultural towns are located in the shadow of the mountain. they are called Arusha and Moshi. If you are going to climb Kilimanjaro you will start from one of these towns – in the foothills of the Kilimanjaro National Park.

Tanzania is an awesome country as it not only has the highest mountain in Africa but is also home to Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater lake in Africa, and Zanzibar.

I digress.

Back to Mount Kilimanjaro Facts.

Approximately 35,000 people try summit Mount Kilimanjaro every year. Only 45% on average succeed. Many people have to turn around because of altitude sickness.

On the Mountain there are 6 routes to climb to the summit. Three from the south – Marangu (which is the only route with huts), Machame and Umbwe. From the West you can ascend via the Lemosho or Shira Route and in the North East you can ascend via the Rongai route.

Treks are either 5,6,7 or 8 days. The more days you take the higher your chance of success as you can acclimatize better.

Approximately 3-5 people die on Kilimanjaro every year.

To find out more Mount Kilimanjaro Fact check out this page.

Kilimanjaro gear packing list

August 2, 2014

kilimanjaro-equipment-listIf go Google search “Kilimanjaro equipment list”, you will discover conflicting lists that contain varying line of items to take with you to Mount Kilimanjaro.

I know firsthand how confusing and frustrating this is – what should I take and what shouldn’t I take?

Below I have created the complete Kilimanjaro gear packing list for your convenience. You can get most of this equipment from mountain and trekking retailers like REI.

Kilimanjaro Clothing

Hand, Foot, and Headwear

Kilimanjaro Equipment and Accessories

Miscellaneous

Documentation

So that’s it for the complete Kilimanjaro packing list. You can find detailed reviews and recommendations on specific items on this website: www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/kilimanjaro-kit-list/

Travel insurance for Mount Kilimanjaro

July 28, 2014

Kilimanjaro insurance – what do you need to know?

insurance-kilimanjaroSo you are planning to trek Kilimanjaro.

You have your flights booked, your tour scheduled and your equipment ready. But have you thought about travel insurance?

Many trekkers arrive in Kilimanjaro without having given a second thought to travel insurance. This is a major oversight. See this article to see why: www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/kilimanjaro-travel-insurance/

Trekking Kilimanjaro comes with many risks, the most obvious is going to high altitude. At high altitude many things can go wrong and with no or poor cover you could find yourself having to fork out loads of cash to fund evacuation and medical bills.

Your main concern is altitude mountain sickness, also known as altitude sickness, which is a systemic issue on Kilimanjaro. Most people suffer mild headaches and nausea, but severe complications like pulmonary or cerebral edema can result in death.

Here are the important Kilimanjaro travel insurance things to consider:

1. Make sure that you insurance premium covers trekking up to 6,000 meters. Kili’s highest point is 5,895 meters. All standard travel policies don’t include cover up to 6,000 meters so you need to request it specifically for Kilimanjaro

2. Your cover should provide insurance for evacuation and medical / emergency costs if you become ill, injured or suffer AMS complications

3. Theft is a real concern in Africa so make sure your policy covers loss, damage or theft of your property

4. Finally make sure that your policy covers delays, interruptions and cancellations of your tour, as well as financial default of your tour operator. There is nothing worse than a tour getting cancelled for whatever and you can’t recover your costs.

So as you can see there are some very real risks when travelling in Africa and climbing high mountains like Mount Kilimanjaro. Rather be safe than sorry, make sure you get adequate insurance cover and then you can rest assured that if anything goes wrong your experience won’t be unnecessarily spoiled.

All the best with your journey and preparations.

Check out the helpful information below for more detail on Kilimanjaro insurance. And of course if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line in the comments below. Always happy to respond.

Here is a really nifty Kilimanjaro Travel Insurance calculator from World Nomads… this website also provides loads of useful Kilimanjaro trekking information.

Trip Advisor have an interesting debate on Kilimanjaro insurance here.

Go Green Ideas – Simple Ideas, Big Impact

January 14, 2014

go-green-ideasAre you thing of going green at work?

These go green ideas will hopefully give you some inspiration and food for though. However, before we look at some go green ideas it is worth mentioning why it makes great sense to go green at work.

There are four reasons why a company should go green. Have a read of this go green initiative.

1. You can quickly find energy and resource savings and therefore save money on your bottom. You’ll be amazed at the inefficiencies you can find in your operation in terms of energy and resource use. Most companies overspend on energy by 5-10% because of laziness.

2. With solid green credentials you can market yourself to customers and prospects and differentiate yourself from the competition. Green marketing is a great tool to help win and retain business, particularly when it comes to responding to tenders and customer inquiries.

3. You can use your green initiatives to engage staff and make them feel proud of the organisation they work for because of the awesome go green ideas that you have implement.

4. Go green ideas in a business is really just the right thing to be focusing on. As a business you have a responsibility to the environment and go green ideas are a great way to demonstrate that you are taking that responsibility seriously.

So what go green ideas can you implement in your business that don’t cost the earth to implement and are practical and effective to get of the ground.

Here are three. This article gives 25 detailed go green ideas.

1. Reduce energy consumption by switching energy inefficient lights for efficient alternatives. For example you can switch out your old 50 watt halogen bulbs for either a lower watt bulb, say 35 watt, or indeed a LED bulb which come in 5-10 watt alternatives

2. Run a proactive switch off campaign with staff to get them to switch off computers at night and lights in rooms that are not being used

3. Implement a comprehensive recycling scheme that results in near 100% recycling rates. remove personal bins and replace them with segregated waste bins.

So what’s stopping you get started today and see the very real impact going green can have on your business.

Environmental Policy Template – The Basics

January 13, 2014

environmental-policy-templateIf you are thinking of going green at work the first and best place to start is in formulating an environmental policy.

An environmental policy sets the strategic direction for your company in terms of improved environmental performance and also sets out how you plan to measure and monitor performance over time.

It is a critical document that is often overlooked or not taken seriously. This is a shame as a good environmental policy template can set you apart from competitors and help you make real savings in terms of carbon and money in your business.

A robust environmental policy template is also super helpful when it comes to responding to tenders or requests from clients that want to know what you policy towards the environment is. Without a good environmental policy you risk losing valuable work and also losing the trust of customers and potentially staff.

To setup an environmental policy you should consult the senior management in an organisation and ensure that their is senior leadership buy-in. The document itself only needs to be one A4 page but what you include in it needs to hold true, be relevant and actionable. Using an environmental policy template is the easiest way to ensure compliance with international standards. Failure to meet best practice can mean that procurement bodies that assess environmental policy recognize that yours is not up to standard and therefore you lose potential work.

In the policy you should include information about who you are as a business – i.e. what you do. You should also state how you intend to measure, manage and monitor your environmental performance. Outline your key objectives and the aims that you wish to achieve.

You should also outline any legislation that impacts your organisation in terms of duty of care to the environment.

Use facts and figures wherever possible to demonstrate what you are doing and ensure your environmental policy is signed by the most senior executive at the company. The policy should be widely communicate inside and out the organisation and it should be reviewed at least once a year.

To find out more on environmental policy templates and how you can quickly and effectively set one up for yourself have a look at this excellent environmental policy guide.

Green web hosting – the basics

January 12, 2014

best-green-web-hostingEver wondered what green web hosting is?

This article gives a brief overview on the basics behind green web hosting. In particular, what it is and why I think you should consider switching to one of the best green web hosting companies for your organisation.

As you probably already know, web hosting takes a lot of energy to run – firstly there is the energy to run the massive data servers that web hosting companies use, and secondly there is the exorbitant amount of cooling required to keep the servers cool and running at all times.

The massive amount of energy used to power web hosting data servers takes its toll on the environment and results in significant greenhouse gas emissions – the nasties that are responsible for climate change.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. If you have a website you probably already use a hosting company to host your site.

Nowadays you can switch to a green hosting company.

These companies typically use energy off the grid to power their operations and then purchase between 100% and 300% of the equivalent energy from certified renewable sources. In doing so they offset their emissions one to three times as well as stimulate demand for renewables.

In the long run this type of economic activity will help drive the cost of renewables down and make them much more competitive with traditional fossil fuel sources.

If you already have a hosting package I think you should seriously consider switching to a green host company as it is quick and easy and comes with great benefits for your company.

The biggest and most obvious benefit of green web hosting is the reduction in emissions that you can claim against your organisational carbon footprint.

Looking to reduce your carbon footprint – this is an easy way to do it.

In addition you will get lost of positive marketing mileage out of saying to your customers and prospects that you use green web hosting. You can display your green web hosting badge on your website and if you are in the sustainable product online game this can be a great way to demonstrate to your customers what you are doing to reduce your emissions.

So in our opinion it is a no brainer. There is no additional cost, it is easy to switch the benefits in terms of marketing and reduction in your carbon footprint is profound.

This article reviews the best green web hosting companies on the market. Check it out

Kilimanjaro Climate Change – Reality or Myth?

January 4, 2014

mount-kilimanjaroDisappearing snow and glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro is nothing new, but is it getting worse? This article explores some key questions about Kilimanjaro Climate Change.

Anyone interested to climb Kilimanjaro should head over to this site for all the preparation details you might need.

The Europeans initially observed Mount Kilimanjaro over 150 years ago, and noted that its cone was under a thick crust of snow and ice. However records show that by 1912 85% of this had vanished, a change that began before modern climate change warming issues.

Glacier and snow shrinking on Kilimanjaro is nothing new, yet now, it seems that it is happening undoubtedly faster than in the past: around 1% a year of shrinkage was recoded between 1912 to 1953, but more worryingly 2.5% shrinkage a year has been recorded from 1989 to 2007. This is the period that climate change has in full swing.

Here is another interesting article from the Huffington Post

The most recent study on Kilimanjaro Glacial shrinkage was published last year and clearly warned that climate change is the primary cause of Kilimanjaro’s snows disappearing over the last two decades.

The study which lasted 7 years and drew on 100 years of data employed six climate modelling tools that will installed on Kilimanjaro’s mountain’s plateau and also constituted ice core drilling. The study showed that ice in the layer of core sediment 6-17 feet deep began to vanish 2000. Almost one quarter of the snow on Kilimanjaro has been lost between 2000-2006.

The study unequivocally notes that no other factor than climate change could have caused this sudden transformation. Although deforestation affects only lower reaches of the mountain there is no evidence that it has affected the glaciers of Mount Kilimanjaro which are high above.

The research shows that Kilimanjaro’s glaciers are evaporating rather than melting, also known as sublimation. According to the study greater dryness is the principal driver of glacier shrinking on Mount Kilimanjaro. Evidence shows that East Africa has dramatically become drier over the past two decades – less moisture has led to drought and also famine in Ethiopia, Kenya and also Sudan. As an end result, Kilimanjaro’s snows aren’t being replaced.

Check out these pics from this awesome Kilimanjaro site

Some people claim that it’s a lack of precipitation rather than higher air temperatures which are responsible for the glacial shrinkage. What is for certain is that it will take many seasons of new snow to overcome the consequences of climate transformation on Mount Kilimanjaro and also replace the retreating glaciers.

A major geological feature of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers, the Furtwängler Glacier, has transformed into half its thickness over the past decade. Some researchers believe that one more poor season and the glacier could be lost forever!