Acknowledgement of Risk, Waiver and Release for Expeditions
Want to book an expedition? It is quite simple. We run trips to the best of our abilities but without ANY liability, except the cost price of the trip, and participants can't sue the operator (us), our contractors or sue each other. However due to increasing legal absurdities we ask that you read (have a laugh?) over this. And sign it!
Acknowledgement of risk
You must acknowledge that expeditions are inherently dangerous. The same elements that contribute to the rewards of climbing can also cause loss or damage to gear, injury, illness, or in extreme cases, death.
While travelling, trekking and climbing, there are risks to be encountered which you should be aware of:
We travel in local transport that will not be up to developed country standards. Buses are not professionally maintained, the roads are rough and sometimes non-existent. Driving standards are very different - much worse - than western standards, but vehicles travel at much lower speeds. The risk of accidents is low in Nepal but higher in India and Pakistan. Where possible we minimize these risks by taking domestic flights. Domestic flights are mostly in small 16-19 seater twin-engined propeller aircraft with local pilots. The planes are well-maintained but conditions are difficult. The rural airstrips are rough, rarely flat and have no radar facilities. All flying is visual. There is an extremely low risk of snapped undercarriages and flying into a mountain in the clouds, however the safety record with tourists is surprisingly good.
While trekking, climbing and camping you should carry adequate water, sun protection and clothing appropriate to the conditions. We provide equipment lists and will answer any questions about gear that you may have prior to the expedition and on the trail. We also inspect your equipment prior to leaving for the expedition. While trekking you will be traversing rugged terrain: high mountain passes, snow and ice, exposed and rough trails, routes threatened by avalanches and landslides and crossing streams and rivers by rough bridges or slippery rocks. There are risks of falling, rock fall, landslides, collapsing bridges and exposure.
Climbing mountains is inherently dangerous. There are unavoidable risks of avalanche, rock fall, serac and icefall collapses, climbing protection failing, falling in crevasses, falling, hypothermia and extreme weather conditions. You may be climbing on ropes that are old with strength degraded, ropes that have been fixed by amateurs, ropes and protection that may have been placed incorrectly according to best practice. You may be crossing hidden or open crevasses without protection.
There are also dangerous animals, dangerous plants, and dangerous insects. Any wild and domestic animal you encounter can be dangerous, including the yaks, dzopkio and horses that carry our bags on some treks. Nepal has dangerous bears, tigers, leopards and other animals however the risk of an incident is extremely low, for example bears are rarely encountered, unlike in the USA.
Water should be purified or treated before drinking. This includes ALL tap water in cities, towns and villages, and all stream water. On glaciers and with snow melt we will advise. Cleaning your hands before eating and after toilet functions is critical in maintaining good health.
You will travel, trek and/or climb to extreme altitudes. Altitude sickness (Acute Mountain Sickness: AMS) is a significant risk. Altitude sickness occurs when your body cannot properly adapt to the lower amounts of oxygen found in the air at high and extreme altitudes. acclimatization is the process by which the body adapts. Most people suffer some form of mild altitude sickness and most people can acclimatize to high altitudes, but not everyone. The key is to ascent slowly, over a period of days and to drink plenty of water. Altitude sickness can develop into High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), which can be fatal if not treated quickly. Treatment is rapid descent to a lower altitude.
Traveling, trekking and climbing at high (above 2400m) and extreme altitudes carries numerous risks not yet fully understood. It does thicken the blood increasing the risk of blood clots, even if you stay fully hydrated. The lower levels of oxygen in the bloodstream do affect the brain, heart and other organs in ways not yet fully understood.
Western-standard hospital care is often not available although there are some professional clinics in Kathmandu and Delhi. While trekking and travelling you may be several hours to several weeks from any medical facility. Helicopter rescue is available in Nepal if you are insured for this. The helicopter will not take off until payment for services is arranged. Helicopter rescue is unavailable in Tibet.
Decisions made by the leader and participants (team members/clients) in a mountain setting are based on a variety of factors, perceptions and evaluations which by their nature are imprecise and subject to errors in judgment. Throughout the expedition participants are responsible for their own safety and must show consideration for the safety of other members of their group.
This list is not an exhaustive list of possible injuries, or accidents that may occur while traveling, trekking or climbing. Most of these injuries are rare and you are not likely to encounter them, however they have occurred and you must be aware of the risks.
Waiver, Release and indemnification
In the following agreement 'The organizers' means your foreign agent (if any), Project Himalaya-James McGuinness, Explore Himalaya, their agents and employees.
I certify that I am fully capable of participating in an expedition program. I state that I have read the above statement on some of the possible risks. Therefore, I assume full responsibility for myself for bodily injury, death and loss of personal property and any expenses as a result of my negligence, or the negligence of The organizers. I also understand that The organizers reserve the right to refuse any person it judges to be incapable of meeting the rigors and requirements of participating in travel, trekking or trek-climbs. I are in good physical condition and able to undertake this expedition.
I certify that to my knowledge I do not have any medical condition that would prevent my participation in this expedition. I hereby give permission for transportation to any medical facility or hospital and I authorize any guide or medical personnel to render emergency medical care for myself.
I and my heirs agree to indemnify and hold harmless The organizers and other participants, from all claims, damages, losses, injuries and expenses arising out of or resulting from my participation in these activities. I further agree to release, acquit and covenant not to sue The organizers and/or other participants for all actions, causes of action, claims or damages, of whatever kind, including the negligence of The organizers and/or other participants, arising out of participation in this program. In short, I cannot prosecute or sue The organizers and/or other participants, and if I do, I cannot collect any money.
I agree to the site of any lawsuit and the law governing any such lawsuit shall be Nepal and governed by Nepalese law. The terms of this agreement shall continue and be in effect after the trip has ended.
I agree that if The organizers are forced to defend any action, lawsuit or litigation by myself, my executors, or my heirs, on my family's or my behalf, my heirs or executors and I agree to pay The organizers all costs and legal fees if they successfully defend such action, lawsuit or litigation.
This is a legal document. Please read and understand this document before signing.
last updated 23 September 2009