This Handbook contains everything you need to know about this Epic Secret Compass expedition to Kamchatka.
Read on to discover our ethos and team-centred approach and for the nitty gritty like flight and visa advice, insurance requirements and kit recommendations. Use the buttons below to ask questions or to apply for this team or, once approved, to secure your spot on this expedition team with a Booking Form and a £400 deposit.
Arrive: by 1800 on 18 Aug 2019 into Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (PKC).
Depart: leave PKC any time on 1 Sep 2019.
Insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive cover.
Docs: send your flight, insurance and passport copy in.
Balance due: 90 days before departure on 18 May 2019.
The primary aim of this epic expedition is to complete a challenging trek on the Kamchatka peninsula’s Klyuchevskaya massif, a region where active volcanos dominate the landscape – including the eponymous active volcano that is Eurasia’s highest at 4750m – and bears rule the pastures which link them.
Secondary aims are to climb neighbouring volcanoes, including Zimina, (2300m), Bezymianny (2882m) and Plosky Tolbachik (3085m) if conditions, including ongoing eruptions, allow.
This region is home to the eponymous active volcano that is Eurasia’s highest at 4750m. Secondary aims are to climb neighbouring volcanoes including Zimina, (2300m), Bezymianny (2882m) and Plosky Tolbachik (3085m) if conditions, including ongoing eruptions, allow. Due to its being a technical summit, Klyuchevskaya itself will not be attempted.
The Kamchatka peninsula has been described as a natural volcanology museum. It’s home to around 300 volcanoes, 30 of which are active, with every stage of volcanic life present from active to extinct.
Remote trekking through untracked wilderness with no trails, people or villages.
Travel through a region with one of the highest densities of bears in the world.
Volcano summit attempts (i.e. Bezymianny, Zimini and Plosky Tolbachik).
A rare chance to experience total isolation in a truly remote part of the world.
You need to organise your own international flights. It is advised that you book a flexible flight ticket that can be changed or refunded if the expedition dates are changed or if it is cancelled for any reason. See our online Terms and Conditions.
You need to arrive in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky by 1800 on the 18 August 2019, and the expedition officially ends on the 1 Sep 2019 when you are free to depart anytime. There are a number of different airlines that fly into Petropavlovsk- Kamchatsky: Aeroflot, S7 and Transaero. Please note that it can take up to two days to fly to Kamchatka.
Travel insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all expeditions. You should be aware that many standard insurance policies may not cover you adequately for all aspects of a remote expedition and so we strongly recommend that you purchase a suitably designed insurance policy. Secret Compass cannot comment on the suitability of your cover so if you are in any doubt please contact your policy provider and ask them to confirm that you are covered to our minimum standard (below).
Emergency medical repatriation (to home country) including any associated expenses abroad of at least $500,000.
Activities: ensure that any expedition activities are included, these could be trekking, horse riding, rafting, MTB etc.
Geographical region: check the geographical region you are going to is insured (often the US and Canada or countries such as Afghanistan are not insured).li>
Foreign Ministry advice: check your insurance is not sensitive to any travel warnings issued by your respective foreign ministry. In the UK, many insurers will not insure you when the Foreign Office warns against travel to this area. Foreign Office advice will not necessarily mean we cancel an expedition or do not travel to a particular area. Please check @FCOtravel and the Travel Aware site. https://www.gov.uk/travelaware
Dates: make sure the period of cover begins at the departure and ends at the return to your home country. Many flights take a day or two and time zones vary. Insurance companies may prejudice your claims due to this.
Pre-existing medical conditions: disclose these to your insurance company and to Secret Compass.
Prior to travel Secret Compass will require the name of your insurance policy provider, their 24-hour emergency contact number and your policy number. For full information on travel insurance and links to suggested companies, please visit the insurance page on our website.
Visas are your responsibility and may take several weeks. British Nationals require visas for Russia, outline instructions are below. Please check the requirements for your specific nationality.
Fingerprints. As of 10 Dec 2014, all applicants in the UK must apply in person and submit biometric data (scanned fingerprints) to the embassy.
Applications. The process for British nationals is as follows. Fill out an application through VFS Global, a company that processes applications on behalf of the Russian Embassy in London. Please click here to go to their website and follow the instructions carefully. You will then need to print out the application form and submit it IN PERSON to the processing centre, along with the supporting documents and biometric data. Applications can take 10 working days to process (longer during busy periods) and there is the option for the centre to return your documents by post for an additional fee
In order to apply for a visa for Russia via the VFS Global application service you will need the following:
Passport with at least 6 months validity after the visa expiration date and 2 blank pages.
One Passport Photo.
Completed application form from VFS Global.
Authorisation Letter – provided by Secret Compass.
Authorisation Letter. Once we have your details (flight itinerary, passport photocopy) we will request your Authorisation letter from our Russian partners. This may take several weeks so please allow plenty of time.
Permits. All relevant tourist permits will be organised by Secret Compass.
You should have a passport valid for at least 6 month duration after the dates of the expedition. Please send a clear, colour copy of your passport to Secret Compass ahead of the expedition and carry photocopies with you on the expedition in a safe place. It is also useful to carry spare passport photos (x 3).
If you’re travelling on a British passport issued since January 2017, you should make sure you’ve signed your passport before you travel. Some British nationals who haven’t signed their new passports have been denied entry into Russia.
Day 1: Aug 18 -Yelizovo
Meet in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Briefing at the hotel. Some flights will take 2 days to reach Kamchatka depending on your departure point – please be aware of this!
Day 2: Aug 19 – Drive to Kozyrevsk
Long drive to the small town of Kozyrevsk. This can take around 10 hours depending on condition of bus and road.
Day 3: Aug 20 – Kozyrevsk to Kopyto, start trek
Early start aboard a 6×6 truck through the mosquito and bear infested taiga to Kopyto hut at 1100 m. Short trek to establish camp on the banks of the Studenaya river.
Day 4: Aug 21 – Studenaya river to Platina Hut
Trek across the tundra from the Studenaya river through Bezymianny Pass to Platina Hut, establish camp for the next 3 nights.
Days 5-6: Aug 22-23 – Possible summit attempts.
Using Platina Hut as a base, explore the surrounding volcanoes with possible summit attempts.
Day 7: Aug 24 – Platina Hut to Tolbachik Pass
Trek across tundra and climb to Tolbachik pass and down into new watershed.
Day 8: Aug 25 – Tolbachik Pass to Tolud Hut
Trek across tundra and climb to Udina pass and down to Tolud Hut at the edge of the forest.
Day 9: Aug 26 – Tolud Hut to Tolbachik Base
The next several days are spent on Tolbachik volcano. Depending on weather conditions and the team’s capabilities there may be the opportunity to ascend Plosky Tolbachik (3085m) and Ostery Tolbachik (3600m). If the weather is clear, there are amazing views of the 12 volcanoes which surround Tolbachik.
Day 10-12: Aug 27-29 – Tolbachik base
Acclimatisation and possible ascents
Day 13: Aug 30 – Tolbachik base to roadhead
Trek across lava fields down to the base of Tolbachik to the roadhead and be picked up by 6×6 truck. Drive to Kozyrevsk.
Day 14: Aug 31 – Drive to Yelizovo
Drive to Yelizovo (about 10 hours), stay at guesthouse. Dinner at guesthouse.
Day 15: Sep 1 – Yelizovo
Day in Petropavlovsk to do some sightseeing and purchase souvenirs. Catch flight home.
About Secret Compass itineraries
Please remember that this itinerary acts as a framework plan. It provides guidance as to our intentions but may not be followed religiously. This is an adventure and by definition the outcome is uncertain. The leadership team will adapt, flex and change the plan depending on the numerous frictions you may encounter along the way.
This expedition will be physically very challenging as we will have to carry all our own food. The initial plan involves creating a basecamp and laying a food depot to reduce the weight carried but on the first few days all the weight will need to be carried, roughly up to 25kg. You will be required to be fit enough for the following:
Daily activity: varies but from eight to over ten hours per day.
Walk: up to 25km for 8 days over very rough terrain.
Carry: up to 25kg of food, stoves, fuel, tents, winter clothing and other kit.
Terrain: rough terrain including river crossings, exposure, bogs, scree slopes, snowfields and steep sided volcanoes at altitudes up to 3600m. There may be snowfields at higher altitudes.
Climate: a temperate climate with cold, windy conditions at height.
Swim: there may be river crossings so swimming isn’t required but teammates must be comfortable with this.
All our expeditions are achievable by people with an active and healthy lifestyle and no previous technical experience are necessary to join this expedition. However, this is an arduous expedition that will test you and at times you may be sore, tired, hungry and possibly wet! The weight you will carry, particularly in the first few days will have a debilitating effect on you and you must be physically ready to carry such a heavy weight. You must be prepared physically and mentally for the expedition and for living in basic conditions for the duration. Please ensure that you train for the expedition and arrive fit and ready to go. At a basic level, you should be comfortable jogging for at least 45 minutes and be able to walk for 8 hours per day in the British hills carrying 30kg for at least 3 consecutive days.
Vaccinations. Please seek advice from your health professional on recommended vaccinations. The NHS Fit For Travel site and Travel Health Pro are both useful.
Dental. It is strongly recommended that you have a dental check up prior to departure. Dental problems far from help are very unpleasant.
The standard currency in Russia is Roubles. US Dollars can be changed easily but please note that banks are closed on Sundays (day 1 of the trip). There are ATMs in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. This expedition is all inclusive so you won’t need much money, except for beer and vodka in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky!
Secret Compass always suggest carrying an emergency fund of $100-$200 in cash.
The following is Secret Compass’s recommended kit list for the 2019 expedition to Kamchatka. Please ensure that you can fit all your possessions inside a large rucksack. Please ensure there is space left to fit a share of your tent, cooking fuel and equipment as well as all of your food for the expedition.
Secret Compass will supply group equipment, tents, crampons and helmets for this expedition. If you would prefer to bring your own, please just let us know in advance. Your boots must be capable of taking a C1 crampon.
Secret Compass have arranged team members discounts with Cotswold Outdoor, Nordic Life, Outdoor Hire and Expedition Kit Hire, details of these will be sent through on booking.
Baggage and sleeping
RUCKSACK (80-100ltr): A comfortable rucksack that fits your back, a good outdoor shop will be able to help with fitting.
WATERPROOF RUCKSACK LINER: Sealable “canoe or “dry” bags made by Podsac or Ortlieb. You need a large one to line your rucksack.
SMALLER DRY BAGS (Optional): As above, but smaller bags to put essential items in. The large rucksack liners sometimes leak so anything important needs to be waterproofed individually.
SLEEPING BAG: Rated to -10 comfort Nights will drop well below freezing. Store it in a dry bag (as above).
THERMAREST OR EQUIVALENT: Bring a repair kit.
WATERPROOF WALLET: For your passport and money.
2 x LONG SLEEVE SHIRTS: Thin trekking shirts that dry quickly with long sleeves to provide insect and sun protection.
1 x TREKKING TROUSERS: Thin trekking trousers that dry quickly and are comfortable.
1 x THERMAL BASE LAYER: Top and bottoms.
1 x MID LAYER: Fleece or equivalent.
1 x DOWN JACKET: It will be cold at altitude. Recommend you store it in a dry bag.
1 x WATERPROOF OUTER SHELL: Jacket and trousers, Gore-Tex or equivalent. Recently re-proofed and able to fit with your layering system.
4 x HIKING SOCKS: Make sure these fit well with your boots.
1 x CRAMPON COMPATIBLE WALKING BOOTS: Ensure your boot is worn in and comfortable. B1 or B2 rated waterproof boots with good ankle support that can take flexi crampons. Click here for rating system.
SANDALS: Around camp and for river crossings. Ensure secure and comfortable. Not flip flops! A thin pair of socks to wear with your sandals as mosquito protection may be appreciated.
WATERPROOF OUTER GLOVES: With reinforced palm if possible.
4 x UNDERWEAR (Optional): Lycra sports shorts don’t chafe and dry quickly.
MUG: Metal mugs are great to use over open fires
KNIFE, FORK, SPOON
2/3 x ROBUST WATER BOTTLE OR COMBINE WITH CAMELBAK (OR SIMILAR): Nalgene or Sigg are recommended, you need to be able to carry a minimum of 3 ltrs of water
Health and Hygiene
WASHBAG, TOOTHBRUSH & TOOTHPASTE (Optional): Ensure it packs small, you do not need a large travel washbag – re-sealable freezer bags or a small dry bag are ideal.
SOAP (Optional): Anti bacterial and BIODEGRADABLE, concentrated soap is ideal
SANITARY PRODUCTS (Optional): Bring sealable freezer bags for disposal.
LIP SALVE WITH UV PROTECTION: This is essential as chapped lips are painful.
VASELINE: Keep readily available on to prevent chafing skin and heel friction blisters.
MYCIL FOOT POWDER OR EQUIVALENT: This will be very useful for keeping your feet and other sweaty areas dry at night.
INSECT REPELLENT: Bring Deet or other strong repellent
AFTER SUN/MOISTURISER (Optional)
FACTOR 30+ SUN CREAM
Small first aid kit
A team medical kit with a comprehensive primary care provision will be carried.
A WATERPROOF BAG OR TUPPERWARE BOX: Keep kit dry and safe.
PAIN KILLERS: Ibuprofen and paracetamol
ZINC OXIDE TAPE AND SMALL SCISSORS
MELOLIN DRESSING PADS x 4
2 x CREOE BANDAGE
COMPEED BLISTER PADS: Please note that Compeed produce several similar-looking blister packs for corns, etc. Please ensure you purchase the standard / original item
DIAHORREA TABLETS: Immodium
DIORALYTE SACHETS OR SIMILAR REHYDRATIONS PACKS: Enough for at least 2 litres.
PIRITON TABLETS (for allergies)
EURAX CREAM (for bites)
ANY MEDICATION YOU NORMALLY USE: : Please find out the generic/chemical name for your medication in case you need to purchase more in-country. Please also check that your medication is legal in your destination and bring any required paperwork eg. prescriptions.
TREKKING POLES: Essential to help you climb over broken ground, negotiate river crossings and help climb the volcanoes. Snow baskets could be useful on higher ground.
HEAD TORCH AND SPARE BATTERIES
SUNGLASSED WITH UV-FILTER LENSES
PENKNIFE: Remember: DON’T pack in hand luggage!
GAFFA TAPE (Optional): For emergency repairs to your kit, you can take some off the roll and wrap it around something else in your kit like a water bottle
1 x KARABINER (Optional): For securing your rucksack/hanging wet shoes off the back etc
SPARE BOOT LACES (Optional)
SMALL SEWING KIT (Optional)
RE-SEALABLE PLASTIC BAGS (Optional): For dirty washing, wrappings, etc
WATER PURIFICATION TABLETS (Optional): Secret Compass will purify all water and these will likely not be needed, they are a back up in case our systems fail! Chlorine Dioxide or similar is best.
Secret Compass organises expeditions, not sightseeing tours. Our expeditions are team-centred, flexible and dynamic. Teams are managed on the ground by Secret Compass staff: industry-leading professionals and guides of the highest calibre. They put the structure in place for your team to have an incredible experience while achieving your expedition’s aims. Our people are as passionate as you are about achieving the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places. Secret Compass teams often go to places that others don’t. This makes our expeditions truly different, taking you beneath the skin and beyond the headlines of the world’s most remote reaches. Inspired by history’s great explorers and challenges, you’ll be set ambitious goals and will overcome similar hardships to those experienced on the audacious journeys of the past.
Remember this is not an organised tour. It is an adventure. More often than not expeditions don’t run smoothly! The nature of the areas we operate in mean that we will encounter a number of challenges that we expect everyone to meet and relish. Friction and hurdles are all part and parcel of an arduous expedition and also to our success as a team. These make the journey more interesting and are often the best and most amusing parts when looking back. Each expedition is thoroughly reviewed on its return and team members will have the opportunity to provide feedback which helps to inform planning for future expeditions.
Local partners and bureaucracy
Our teammates can only achieve the extraordinary with the help of people in the communities we travel through. NGO and aid workers, guides, fixers and interpreters all work extremely hard and are generous in their hospitality to us and our teams: visitors in their land. They are crucial to our success. Please remember and respect that their perspectives and concepts of time, environmental responsibility and customer service might differ to yours. Occasionally there is no established protocol for outside visitors which means we encounter local power struggles or disagreements. Our leaders have years of experience in delicate negotiations like these and conversational chess – especially through an interpreter – and these interchanges are often memorable parts of any expedition.
Infrastructure and natural events
The areas we travel to often especially remote. Transport infrastructure can be ageing, inadequate or non-existent. Flooded roads, collapsed bridges, fallen trees and vehicle break-downs are all par for the course. Our teams thrive on overcoming challenges like these – be prepared to get stuck in and push occasionally! Natural phenomena like desert sand storms, early monsoons, landslides across key routes, winter coming early, gale force winds and driving snow can all make for a more interesting time on the expedition.
In some areas our teams explore, we rely on local food sources. This can often be outstanding (but can also be very average) and we always make the best out of the resources available. In other cases, we will supply filling and high-calorie dehydrated expedition foods (ration packs).
Part of a team
Secret Compass fosters a team mentality across all its expeditions and projects. Like all teams you will have a leader who will give direction to your progress. Crucial to your team’s success – especially when the going gets tough – is the attitude of the teammates working together to achieve the aim. You really are part of a team, not a cosseted guest on a tour. We ask teammates to muck in and help out any aspect of the expedition, from fetching water and helping to prepare and cook food, to carrying some group kit and equipment if required. The working language of all teams is English.
There really is no typical expedition member, though everyone needs to be fit, healthy and ready to take on the expedition’s aim by the time of departure. Participants range from 21 to 65+ in age and come from all over the world. Backgrounds include contract workers and engineers, IT specialists and students, teachers and literature lovers, journalists and keen photographers and so many more. What bonds our pioneering teams is their shared spirit of adventure and their sense of humour and positive outlook. A good teammate looks on the bright side when the 4×4 breaks down, the rain comes early and when a meal is distinctly pedestrian. Our teammates help each other, look out for each, encourage each other and help each other when needed. Our teams have done us proud in working together to achieve their common goal: the aim of the expedition. If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right expedition company.
You need a robust, spirited and can-do attitude to cope with demanding days and rough camping in rugged and wild places. You’ll cover good daily distances (generally carrying your own kit and equipment), eating expedition foods or relying on local food sources. These elements combine to create the unique character of each expedition. On expedition, challenges, frictions and changes to plans are inevitable. Teammates should meet and relish these as an integral part of any arduous expedition and its ultimate success. Such things make the journey more interesting and are often most memorable parts when looking back.
Secret Compass is an expedition company not a tour company. Expeditions contain inherent risk. This is part of the appeal for teammates. We do not make expeditions safe as, by definition, that is impossible. We construct and implement a three-staged risk management approach to reduce risk to what we perceive as a tolerable level.
We conduct a thorough risk assessment of potential hazards and threats that may be encountered on the expedition and provide recommendations to reduce the likelihood of harm occurring/ severity if it does occur.
As part of our expedition plan, we detail actions to be taken to implement and resource the recommendations of the risk assessment. This includes a detailed medical and communications plan.
The expedition leader is responsible for dynamic risk management on the expedition itself.
Key risks encountered on this specific expedition include road traffic accidents, rockfall and accidents or medical emergencies whilst trekking in a remote region. If you would like to see the full Risk Assessment for this expedition, please email email@example.com
Incident management and medical
As part of the safety plan, Secret Compass has a full incident and emergency plan for medical and other emergencies. This will be discussed in full at the arrival brief, so everyone is aware what action will be taken. In summary, incidences are usually managed on the ground by the expedition leader in the first instance with remote support from Secret Compass’s 24 hour Operations Room before evacuation to the nearest appropriate medical centre.
It is your responsibility to understand the risks associated with adventure travel in remote areas. You also must understand that medical evacuation will take an extended period of time (potentially up to 5 days) and will require wilderness extraction techniques and long carries by stretcher. In-country search and rescue and emergency services are very basic or non-existent and the expedition will rely on internal resources for medical evacuation. By joining this expedition, you accept the risks associated with the venture. If you require any more information on specific risk management for this expedition, or would like to speak to us about our medical planning prior to the trip, please get in touch.
Read team Testimonials or watch this short video featuring expedition teammates (filmed on location in Ethiopia) for an insight into life on expedition.
Russia is relatively westernised in terms of culture. The main way to cause offence is to refuse a toast of vodka!
This expedition will take place over rough but also varied and spectacular terrain, including river crossings, tundra, bogs, scree slopes, steep sided volcanoes at altitudes up to 3600m. There may be snowfields at higher altitudes.
The weather in Kamchatka is very unpredictable. We will need to be equipped to be comfortable in a temperature ranging from -10 to +20. The average temperature is around 12 degrees Celsius but as the peninsular sits between two large bodies of water, the weather is extremely unpredictable! You should be prepared for everything from mild weather and mosquitos to whiteouts and torrential rain.
If you are arriving on the 18 Aug then your transport from the airport to the group accommodation is included. If you’re arriving earlier and are staying at the group accommodation then an airport pick-up may be available by arrangement with the accommodation.
Road. We will be travelling by road up to Kozyrevsk on the way out. We will be using local buses for this route as this is the easiest and most efficient way to travel. From Kozyrevsk to the start-point of the trek we will be using 6×6 trucks. The same transport will be used on the return journey once the trek has finished.
Foot. For the majority of the expedition we will be travelling by foot.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and other towns. While we are in the towns the accommodation facilities will include everything from dorm rooms, to sleeping on the floor to basic cabins. In Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky we will stay in a cosy cabin hosted by a family.
During the expedition. For the majority of the expedition we will be camping out on the treeless high volcanic plateau, occasionally we will come across basic huts used by volcanologists. If possible, we will make use of these huts, otherwise we will be camping nearby.
Reality of living rough for days. Occasionally people on our expeditions are not prepared for camping for multiple days. Living in these conditions can degrade your health if you do not look after yourself and increase fatigue if you are not used to living rough. You need to be highly organised so that your night and morning routine is done efficiently and quickly. If you are inexperienced at camping, it is essential that you get as much practice as possible prior to the expedition.
The food will range from the sublime to gulag fare! In the towns it’s possible to eat very well; the local salmon and salmon caviar is plentiful, hearty beef stews and rice based pulofs make up the daily fare. On the trek we will be eating dehydrated trekking rations that will be provided by Secret Compass. These are lightweight and surprisingly tasty, packing in 800 calories per portion. Vegetarians, vegans and those with other dietary requirements will need to speak with Secret Compass about your food options.
Bring your own trail snacks and anything to supplement the meals. Be conscious of the weight as you will have to carry all of your supplies to be self-sufficient for this expedition.
Secret Compass staff will be carrying at least two methods of communication, usually a Satellite Phone and a DeLorme two-way communication device. These will be used for regular updates to head office and for emergencies.
Unfortunately, routine communication between team members and family/friends is not possible – please reassure them that no news is good news! If there is an emergency and someone needs to contact a team member, they can contact Secret Compass’s Operations Room on +44207 096 8428 who will endeavour to pass a message on within 24hours.
Cell Phone. Your mobile roaming will work in towns. Surprisingly due to the elevation there is also intermittent coverage in the wilderness sections.
UK. You will have an experienced Secret Compass guide who will be wilderness first aid trained and have extensive experience of trekking, working and operating in remote mountain areas. You will be in very safe hands.
Russian. We will have local Russian guide who has spent his life exploring the wilderness areas of Kamchatka. He has a great attitude towards life and is incredibly tough! You will learn a thing or two about outdoor survival off this guy.
Here are some frequently asked questions that are specific to this expedition. Read our general FAQ too for questions such as ‘how do I join an expedition’ and more. Can’t find your answer? Contact SCHQ.
Do you provide further advice?
You might find our Get Ready section useful, with further advice about fitness, flights, travel insurance, visas and our approach to risk management.
How can I apply?
Use the buttons below to contact Secret Compass with your questions or to complete our no-obligation Application Form to join this team. Someone will get back to you promptly.
Is this expedition supported?
While some of our expeditions are porter, vehicle or pack animal supported, this expedition to Kamchatka is completely unsupported. Combined with the terrain and remote nature of the region it is our most challenging venture, graded at 360˚ difficulty. You will carry all your own kit for the duration along with a share of team kit, accumulating to a pack weight of 25kg+, depending on the weight of your personal kit. You will be expected to share all of the day-to-day duties as a team, from cooking to washing-up!
Can I bring my own tent?
We don’t recommend bringing your own tent on the Kamchatka expedition. The rugged weather of wind, snow and rain have been known to ravage unsuitable tents, and from experience, the Operations team have selected the best tents available for the requirements of this expedition.
What are crampons?
Crampons attach to the bottom of walking boots to facilitate trekking on snow and ice. For this expedition it is imperative that everyone’s boots are crampon compatible, a B1 rating boot is advised. Consult the internet or your local outdoors shop for advice. Secret Compass will provide crampons for all teammates as well as helmets an ice axes, alongside instruction in how to wear/ use them.
Can I bring my own crampons?
Teammates are welcome to bring crampons, let Secret Compass know so they don’t bring crampons out for you.
Can I arrive a day late?
As The Plan outlines, there is a chain of transport to get teammates out to and back from the expedition staging zone and so start and end dates are not flexible.
Can I charge electricals?
This will be very challenging with limited access to power once the trekking section begins. Please ensure that you are self-sufficient in terms of charging your appliances by bringing things like spare batteries, lightweight solar panels or power packs to avoid frustration and remember to keep weight down.
Do you get my visa for me?
No, although SC will provide you with the Authorisation Letter you need to get your visa, and will also organise your in-country tourist permits. The visa itself is each individual’s responsibility. Teammates will receive advice in good time.
Will we see bears?
Previous expedition teams have all seen bears, some at quite close quarters. It is highly likely but we cannot guarantee sightings.
What do we eat on the expedition?
Your primary source of fuel on the expedition will be high-calorie expedition ration packs. This will be supplemented with fresh food bought in-country.
I’m a vegetarian. Can I join?
Teammates with dietary requirements are welcome to apply for this expedition and should state their specific requirements when applying. The food situation is outlined in the On Exped tab.
Will there be telephone signal?
Your mobile roaming will work in towns. Surprisingly due to the elevation there is intermittent coverage in the wilderness sections.