FAQ Expeditions

Allgemein

What type of experience should I have in orderr to participate in an eight-thousander expedition?

You should be an experienced climber and have a certain degree of altitude experience. Dealing with crampons, ice axes and ropes should not be foreign. Otherwise, you can learn these skills in a preparatory course or a preparatory expedition. Basically, a decision must always be individual. Depending on fitness, age, altitude experience, athletic lifestyle, previous mountaineering experience etc. Tell us everything in the booking form and we can jointly make a decision. Be sure to carefully read the requirements mentioned in any expedition or trip description.

Will I be guided to the peak of an eight-thousander?

During our guided eight-thousander expeditions, you will be accompanied by a certified mountain guide and Sherpas. However, this will not be a guided tour in the traditional sense, as you may know it from a guided ascent of Mont Blanc or Grossglockner. This is impossible on eight thousand meter high peaks. The guide is responsible for the management of the group and makes all major decisions. The ascent takes place independently under the guidance of the mountain guide, accompanied by the Sherpas. On Mount Everest or the other eight-thousanders, you have the option of being accompanied and supported by your own personal Sherpa on the day of the summit ascent.

How dangerous is it to climb an eight-thousander?

It's dangerous. Alone because of the height. As organizers, we try to ensure all that is possible in order to increase the safety of our participants. That include, amongst other things, maximum oxygen (Mt. Everest) and Sherpa support, licensed mountain guides and experienced expedition leaders, the currently most reliable weather forecast for the Himalayan region and the best equipment available on the market.

Why is Furtenbach Adventures more expensive than other tour operators?

We place a great deal of emphasis on safety, quality and highest chances of success. An expedition is a lifelong dream for most. This lifelong dream is to be a good experience, from which one returns healthy and exhausted. We do not want our participants exposed to higher risks than absolutely necessary in order to save costs, maximize our profits or be the cheapest supplier. Especially with eight-thousander expeditions, be sure to compare the scope of services very closely. The largest cost factors in addition to the permit fees are staff (Sherpas with fair payment and mountain guides) as well as oxygen and material for the routes and high camps. Where an offer is much cheaper, it also becomes clear very quickly where the money was saved. With tour operators outside of the EU, bear in mind that the booking, including the payment and the travel service itself are often not protected or regulated. The EU Package Travel Directive, which requires a financially costly hedging of client funds (In Germany this is the so-called „Reisesicherungsschein“ and in Austria it is the „RSV“) applies to operators within the EU. The rates offered by Furtenbach Adventures can withstand any price-performance comparison. Our range of services and quality standards set new benchmarks in the market.

Why is Furtenbach Adventures cheaper than other tour operators?

That would come as a surprise to us as well.

Booking

What exactly is the booking procedure and when and how should I pay for my expedition / trip?

These questions are answered in detail on the Booking and Payment page. Please click here.

What happens if I get injured or sick before the start of an expedition?

We strongly recommend taking out travel cancellation insurance. During the organization of an expedition, high costs are incurred in advance and a great deal of organizational commitment and financial advances are required from us as organizers. These costs are often not refundable for us (eg. permits, bank guarantees). Therefore, for cancellations by participants, the deadlines and cancellation fees listed in our Terms and Conditions apply. We are very concerned about the satisfaction of our customers, in a particular cases we willl always try to find a mutually satisfactory solution together with the participants.

Who is the organizer behind Furtenbach Adventures tours and expeditions?

We are. Together with the best UIAGM certified mountain guides available! Furtenbach Adventures is a fully licensed travel and expedition organizer based in Innsbruck / Austria and conforms to the legal EU Package Travel Directive. We are registered operators in the Austrian Tour Operator Directory of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economics with insurance against bankruptcy in order to protect client money in accordance with the regulation on travel agencies. Within this framework, our promise of high quality begins. For our customers this means maximum consumer protection and safety regarding booking, payment and travel service. For products we sell as an agency we take special care on choosing our partners to fulfill our highest quality and safety demands.

Safety

How and where does Furtenbach Adventures attach importance to safety in expeditions and trips?

Safety is our greatest concern. It is in the nature of things that expeditions and adventures also involve some risk. In particular, the eight-thousander mountaineering trips can never guarantee 100% security. We are currently doing everything that is possible and permitted by the authorities in order to increase safety and will never cease to strive towards more. We have summarized and explained the key points on this topic on the Safety Page. Please click here.The basis for such statements is usually the statistical ratio of successful ascents compared to deaths over the past 60 years. Ultimately, this alone is not conclusive. For the simple reason that an expedition of today is completely different from one of the past decades. Several different factors must always be taken into account. These factors include the selected route, the season, climbing style, oxygen use, Sherpa support, being in a group or alone, other groups on the mountain or on the same route, as well as the participants‘ experience and physical condition. In general it can be said that eight-thousander mountaineering is continually becoming safer thanks to better material, better weather forecasts, better height tactics, etc.. Statistically, this applies most significantly to the "simpler" and "objectively safer" eight-thousanders such as Cho Oyu, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II, but also to the "objectively dangerous" eight-thousanders such as Annapurna, Nanga Parbat and K2. Mount Everest is probably somewhere in between. After all, it’s here that more aid materials and tools are used than on any other eight-thousander. Continuous fixed ropes, ladders, oxygen, and Sherpas more than anywhere else, increase the chances of success and reduce the death toll. Nevertheless, it is particularly dangerous because of its height and a potential falling out of the oxygen system. The Shisha Pangma has to be mentioned as a special case. The lowest eight thousander is considered easy and objectively relatively safe. The available statistics, however, do not speak in favour of this mountain. Firstly, this is due to the fact that only the central peak is climbed by most, whereas the main peak is reachable by an exposed and often dangerous connecting ridge. The climb to the central peak is thus often not credited. Secondly, no really reputable and reliable statistical data exists, since this mountain is not registered in the Himalayan Database. Undeniably, the ascent of an eight-thousander remains one of the largest adventures of our day, but it goes hand in hand with corresponding risks.

Equipment

What equipment do I need when participating in an expedition?

Unless specified otherwise in the detailled program, Furtenbach Adventures provides the complete and comfortable base camp and high camp equipment, incl. communication equipment and all insurance materials. As far as it’s included in the offer (Mt. Everest, K2) or as an additional option, participants will be provided with the best, most reliable and lightest oxygen system currently available on the market (Summit Oxygen). For the high camps we use only tried and tested original brand tents from North Face, Mountain Hardwear and Ozark. You only need to bring your own personal equipment includign down clothing, expedition shoes, and a sleeping bag for the base camp and high camp. You’ll find a detailed list of required equipment incl. recommendations here. We will send you a copy following your booking as well. We strongly advise you to use a boot warmer, especially at the summit. Ideally, one should use a model with remote control, since you can very simply switch it on only when needed, in order to save power. We recommend either heated gloves or heating pads for gloves. Both of these things significantly reduce the risk of suffering frostbite. Regarding all equipment issues, you are welcome to contact us in case of questions or if you need personal advice! Contact us here.

Pre-acclimatization & High Altitude Tent

Why pre-acclimatize? Is it worth the effort and what does it cost?

For our Mount Everest expeditions on the south and north side, each participant will be sent home a tent and a high altitude generator including a training plan six weeks before start of the expedition. So that you can be acclimatized to an altitude of 6000m while sleeping, reading, watching TV or training on the ergometer. The effects of the pre-acclimatization last for about 2 weeks, and reduce the risk of falling ill at the beginning of the expedition due to altitude sickness, which in turn enables a faster arrival to the mountain and thus a shorter total duration. In addition, in the first few days you will feel far better and show less symptoms of altitude adjustment than climbers who are not pre-acclimatized. The set is picked up again after six weeks. No additional costs arise for participants, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Training & Nutrition

How can I best prepare for an expedition?

Sound health and a good physical condition are basic requirements for an expedition to a high mountain. Training within the basic endurance range is particularly important. Due to the altitude and the associated oxygen depletion, blood becomes thicker and circulates more slowly. One consequence is that in high altitudes, our pulse can not climb as high as usual during exertion. Endurance training within the basic endurance range with a moderate pulse is more effective for good performance at high altitudes than intensive training at a maximum heart rate. The majority of your training should therefore be done in the basic range. Always depending on your preferences, options or availability while running, biking or swimming. In between, you should incorporate regular, shorter intensive units or interval training, and strengthen your upper body in preparation for climbing on the fixed rope. Talk to your sports physician, fitness coach or trainer from the sports club in order to create an exact training plan suitable for you. In general, the fitter you are when you arrive to the mountain, the better. Spend as much time in the mountains as possible in the months leading up to the expedition. Go hiking, climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking or on a ski tour. The mountains are the best preparation for the mountains. Do not underestimate the possibilities of mental training. During an eight-thousander expedition, a lot is going on in your head. When in extreme situations or under high stress, mental strength coupled with determination and a visualized goal have often been the key factors of success. There is a lot of literature and expert opinions on this subject. We only wish to point it out. If necessary, a training professional can put together a special training plan individually tailored to your needs and in accordance to your expedition destination. Contact us for an offer.

Should I try to lose or gain weight prior to an expedition?

Neither. On the one hand, the less kilos you have to carry, the easier your ascent will be. On the other hand, the altitude, cold and exertion are demanding on the body and they consume reserves. In the course of an expedition you almost always lose weight. As a basic rule, you should be in a physical condition that makes you feel fit and well. If necessary, a nutritionist can put together a special diet plan, specifically tailored to your needs and in accordance to your expedition destination. Contact us for an offer.

How can I avoid the risk of diarrheal disease?

The risk of diarrheal disease is particularly high in Kathmandu and would be not only uncomfortable but also dangerous before the expedition. It strictly applies: always have a small hand sanitizer spray on you and use it excessively. ALWAYS wash your hands and / or disinfect them before eating or drinking. Always wash your hands / disinfect them after taking your shoes on or off. Brush your teeth with bottled water and drink only bottled water. Only boiled or fried foods, no raw salad, no ice. But this should be common sense by now. Under certain circumstances, a timely DUKORAL oral vaccination (against cholera and a majority of the E. coli strains) can minimize the risk further, as it stimulates the intestinal immune system. Talk to your doctor. For the duration of the whole trip /expedition, ALWAYS wash your hands before every meal and after each visit to the toilet. Here one also bears responsibility towards other participants. This is to be taken very seriously. Germs are transfered from the toilet to the food, dishes or utensils, and then into our bodies. Not the other way around. Our teams in Nepal and Pakistan are trained in kitchen and food hygiene, they are strictly controlled and take this issue seriously.

What should I eat in the high camps?

Generally, you will be catered to in the high camps. Principally, the sense of taste is impaired or more sensitive in higher altitudes and results in a decreased appetite. However, energy supply is essential in the high camps. For the few nights at the high camp, you can bring along some additional snacks to supplement the provided meals. We suggest a small amount of cakes, smoked meats or „Schüttelbrot“,, whatever you like best. That which tastes best at home, is often the only thing that you like to eat in the high camp. Experience has shown that thinly sliced vacuum packed bacon in layers, individually vacuum packed sausages, „Schüttelbrot“, mountain cheese, favorite chocolate, Isostar powder (drunk hot) as a rich and tasty alternative to tea, candy or „Mannerschnitten“ have always been well received. And as an insider tip for the summit day - PowerGel and a Red Bull or a Cola in a 0.5 liter plastic bottle (can be purchased in Kathmandu and Islamabad) worn on the body in the inside pocket of the down suit. No joke. This combination works wonders.

Furtenbach Adventures is the most innovative organizer of expeditions and exclusive adventure travel.

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Get in touch

Furtenbach Adventures GmbH
Höttinger Gasse 12
6020 Innsbruck
Austria

+43 (0) 512 / 204134

office@furtenbachadventures.com

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