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Tukuche 8000m Preparation Expedition

**This page is a historic page frozen in time - see Our treks for the current website**

The comprehensive fast track to 8000m peaks
We ran this expedition in 2009 but are not likely to run it again.

So you want to climb an 8000m mountain? Sound preparation is the key so while climbing Tukuche, a 6920m mountain, we discuss everything, practice with oxygen sets, work on high altitude issues and brush up any mountaineering weaknesses you may have. As a bonus you get to meet your potential guide and some of the sherpas for Everest and other 8000m mountains.


If you are not an experienced climber then we recommend a progressive build up to Everest with:

a 7-12 day mountaineering course

more mountaineering experience soon after the course

a high altitude trek or better a 6000m/20,000ft mountain in the Himalaya

Aconcagua, Denali (or similar) or a 6400m+/21,000ft mountain in the Himalaya

an 8000m peak such as Shishapangma or Cho Oyu (or possibly Gasherbrum II or Manaslu)

then you should be ready for Everest. This progression really is the most thorough way to prepare, and we do recommend this.

Our fast track way

BUT a lot of people simply won't commit to this progression so if you are confident in your abilities we run this 8000m prep program for competent people who have plenty of common sense and can listen.

First you MUST:

complete a basic/technical mountaineering course or have real mountaineering skills

have trekking/mountaineering altitude experience to at least 4300m/14,000ft

be reasonably fit, especially good cardio fitness

Note this is NOT a climbing instruction course for complete novices, rather it is a fast track expedition to get onto the 8000m mountains quickly.

See the dispatches and conclusion from the 2008 Kangguru expedition and see the dispatches from the 2007 Shishapangma Expeditions, where we (sort of) ran an Everest Skills sub-expedition.

Normal itinerary

We start with the trek around Dhaulagiri to get us up to Hidden Valley. This is a classic but it it tough and should not be underestimated. We trek in an ultra-light style, staying in local houses and lodges and you carry your own trek clothing for this section as we don't take porters. In the higher sections we camp and the sherpas will carry the shared tents and meals. Climbing gear etc will go in via a different route. Expeditions take time and for this peak it is sensible to allow the full length of the expedition. There are some other options following.

Day 1 - arrive Kathmandu 1350m

2 - in Kathmandu

3 - fly Pokhara, drive Darbang, trek Bima Khara

4 - trek Bogahara

5 - trek Doban 2450m

6 - trek Italian Base Camp 3620m

7 - rest Italian Base Camp 3620m

8 - trek Japanese Base Camp 4220m

9 - trek Dhaulagiri Base Camp 4650m

10 - rest Dhaulagiri Base Camp 4650m

11 - trek French Col to Hidden Valley 5100m

12 - Hidden Valley Base Camp 5100m

13 - Hidden Valley Base Camp 5100m

14-29 climbing

30 - trek Yak Kharka/Marpha

31 - trek Jomsom

32 - fly Jomsom-Pokhara-Kathmandu

33 - Kathmandu

Day 34 - depart


Shorter itinerary

IF AND ONLY IF you really can't get the time off then consider the shorter itinerary option, which is the quick way in and goes to altitude BRUTALLY quickly, and skips the Dhaulagiri trek section. Be warned that you MUST take Diamox, a drug that aids acclimatization for this option. You arrive at BC a day or two later than the rest of the team, who might look up another smaller mountain first. Whatever, the leader and sherpas will handle, no problem.

The green-colored days match.

Day 1 - arrive Kathmandu 1350m

2 - fly Pokhara

3 - fly Jomsom, trek Marpha 2670m

4 - trek to ridge shelters 3720m

5 - trek Yak Kharka 4200m

6 - rest Yak Kharka 4200m

7 - trek Hidden Valley BC (or Kalopani)

8 - rest Hidden Valley BC 5100m

9 - rest Hidden Valley BC 5100m

10-24 - climbing

25 - trek Yak Kharka/Marpha

26 - trek Jomsom

27 - fly Jomsom-Pokhara-Kathmandu

28 - Kathmandu

Day 29 - depart


Additional preparation option

Some of you need an introduction to rope work so should arrive a couple of days earlier for some private instruction from a Nepal Mountaineering Instructors Association (NMIA) qualified guide.

Day -1 - arrive Kathmandu

Day 0 - morning training

Day 1 morning training

(The rest of the team arrive)

Day 2 - morning training

Day 3 - fly Pokhara, drive Darbang, trek Bima Khara


Almost 7000m peak

Classic trekking region

Small team

Your guide/s have:

 + summitted Everest from both sides (!)

 + summitted Cho Oyu 4+ times

 + summitted / lead Shishapangma expeditions

 + lead multiple Karakoram 8000m expeditions

2010 dates

no expedition

max team size 9 climbers

Cost - US$5,750

hotel single supplement included

deposit: $1500

Additional prep: $250 including hotel


Jamie McGuinness

Mobile: (+977) 98021 49789

Arrival hotel

? Hotel Shakti, Thamel

tel: 441 0121, 442 9508

Local office contact

Expedition Himalaya

Tel: +9771 400 1066

Nabin Trital: +977 98510 04278

Pasang Nuru: +977 98130 91051

Our service includes

Airport transfers

5 nights hotel in Kathmandu, single w breakfast, in Thamel

All group transportation by private vehicle

All expedition fees (climbing royalty, liaison officer costs, garbage deposit etc)

Other entrance fees and permits as needed

on expedition:

BC and mountain services

walkie talkies, all meals, all tents

solar charging for cameras etc

Our service excludes

Insurance, Nepal visa, meals in Kathmandu

in Kathmandu

Personal climbing equipment

Emergency evacuation

International flights to Kathmandu, equipment rental, alcohol and soft drinks, laundry, tipping and other items of a personal nature

Tukuche Peak 6920m

Tukuche Peak with Dhaulagiri behind, we climb the right ridge - Jamie

Dhaulagiri trail

A section of the trail to the last village; wide but check that exposure! - Jamie

adventurous bridge

A rustic, adventurous bridge - Jamie

Salla Ghadi cooks

Our cooks at Salla Ghadi, the dal bhaat was delicious - Jamie

Climbers say

Thank you for your good leadership for Kang Guru expedition.

Anne-Mari Hyryl´┐Żinen, 8000m Preparation Expedition to Kangguru, 2008

I enjoyed Phil's company and his way to share his big experience in climbing.
Hope I see you guys in the future in a new exp that you run! with the same sherpa crew, they were so good.

Peter Adolfson, Sweden, 8000m Preparation Expedition to Kangguru 2008

The expedition was good.  It would have been nice to summit if the weather and mountain would have been cooperative, but that's all part of mountaineering.  ...  The food, Sherpas, support staff and Phil were great.

Rusty S, USA, 8000m Preparation Expedition to Kangguru 2008

We cover

With sometimes tightly focused lectures, sometimes wide-ranging discussions, we want to answer all your questions about climbing 8000m mountains.

+ use of a PAC bag

+ oxygen discussion and practice

+ first aid kit assembly

+ basic cramponing and climbing techniques

+ using fixed ropes and abseiling

+ acclimatization

+ Nepal-Tibet health

+ camp management

+ climbing equipment and personal camping equipment

and more...

Note that we cover climbing on fixed ropes, and issues surrounding this. We do NOT necessarily cover in detail other alpine climbing-style techniques such as technical crevasse rescue or placing rock and alpine protection. Join a course run by a UIAGM guides for professional instruction on these techniques.

Comparing Aconcagua and Tukuche 8000m Preparation expeditions

There are real differences...

Aconcagua 8000m Preparation Expedition

We are running a very good Aconcagua expedition and also comprehensively discuss Everest and other Himalayan and Karakoram peaks. We don't actually do any real hands on training, it is only discussions, both structured and unstructured.

By the end of the expedition you will know which side of Everest or which other 8000m peak will suit, understand all the different operator choices (we are unbiased, honestly!), exactly what gear you need and what further steps are needed.

Aconcagua is much more of a trek up than real mountaineering; while we have crampons with us, we may not use them, and we don't use fixed ropes either. Additionally we are not in Nepal experiencing how Himalayan expeditions are run, and don't have sherpa assistance.

We do comprehensively cover acclimatization to altitude, and the time spent on the mountain, plus the altitude fitness is definitely beneficial to your next high altitude expedition.

This is a cheaper expedition, and good value compared with other international operators, especially considering we are on the most interesting route.

There is little change in time zones with North America, so easier travelling.

To go to Everest you will also need to have climbed Denali or a 6000m (or higher) peak in Nepal or Tibet.

Tukuche 8000m Preparation Expedition

We really focus on making sure you are ready for Everest after this expedition, which mountain we are climbing is almost incidental.

In addition to structured discussions we offer some hands-on training, especially using fixed ropes, and there is plenty of real mountaineering, using crampons and tools, camping in the same style as big peaks too. We also play with a Poisk oxygen system.

The expedition is a good chance to test your Everest gear, and some or all of it can be left in Nepal which saves carrying gear around the world.

Our sherpa team is the same as on Everest and other big mountains, so you really do get to meet them, climb with them and understand how Himalayan expeditions operate. Also you are in Nepal getting used to the hygiene here, getting to know your way around this Asian country.

Similar to Aconcagua, there is a real benefit to spending time at real altitude and we plan to camp - sleep - at around 6800m or more, so higher than Camp 2 on the south side of Everest.

The best preparation for Everest is an 8000m peak such as Cho Oyu, Shishapangma or Manaslu but they take 45 days and upwards. The Tukuche preparation expedition is 34 days and there is a 4 week option too, and by the end you really could be ready for Everest.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1 - arrive Kathmandu 1350m

We meet you at the airport, look for a Project Himalaya sign with your name on it.

2 - in Kathmandu

Meet the team! This is a last minute preparation and shopping day. You can leave any gear which you don't need during the expedition at the hotel.

3 - fly Pokhara, drive Darbang, trek Bima Khara

We take a morning flight to Pokhara, hop on a bus from the airport and drive to the end of the road, Darbang (which is past Beni), then in the late afternoon we see if we can trek to the first village, and there is a simple lodge here that has surprisingly good dal bhaat.

4 - trek Bogahara

This is classic middle hills trekking and will be hot today. We take the shortcut route to the village, a small and sometimes exposed trail. There may be one section where ropes are required. This is not the normal, longer trekking route via Takum.

5 - trek Doban 2450m

We leave the last village behind and trek to a grazing kharka with a couple of simple lodges.

6 - trek Italian Base Camp 3620m

We leave early as this is a relatively long day and we are getting to real altitude.

7 - rest Italian Base Camp 3620m

We have gained some altitude and tomorrow will gain more so we have a rest day here. We will inspect the route on to the glacier and fix a rope.

8 - trek Japanese Base Camp 4220m

We leave the simple teahouses behind and descend the rope to cross the glacier, then climb up the other side. It is a spectacular trail, but there are some dangerous sections, BEWARE of rock fall in a couple of sections. We camp, sharing tents, on the glacier. Or perhaps you want to sleep outside? Consider taking Diamox here, talk over with Phil.

9 - trek Dhaulagiri Base Camp 4650m

Route-finding is critical today, and beware of crevasses if off route. We camp at the base camp used to climb Dhaulagiri via the normal route.

10 - rest Dhaulagiri Base Camp 4650m

We acclimatize to lessen the pain for tomorrow. Enjoy the massive mountain scenes!

11 - trek French Col to Hidden Valley 5100m

Again ensure you are on the right route. We cross the 5370m French Col for new vistas, and trek down to our base camp in Hidden Valley. This will already be set up and Sarki and the crew will be waiting for us with some good food!

At BC you get your own tent.

12-13 - Base Camp 5100m

We acclimatize further and have a puja, a ceremony to show respect for the mountain. The puja is held on an auspicious day decided by the sherpas.

14-29 climbing

We will set up several camps on the mountain, and spend time acclimatizing, building up to a summit attempt. The summit attempt will be somewhat weather-dependent, as all big peaks are. It will be cold, probably down suit conditions for summit day...

Most days we will have a loosely structured discussion on an aspect of 8000m climbing, and some days we practice either on the mountain or near BC.

We hope to spend plenty of nights up on the mountain and make a very high camp, perhaps at around 6800m so that you get to sleep really high, but this is conditions dependent.

If we summit early there are a number of other peaks around worth looking at.

30 - trek Yak Kharka/Marpha

The beauty of Tukuche is we can get back to Kathmandu quickly, and today we trek to Yak Kharka, although it is possible to get to Marpha if you push it (hard on the knees, a 2585m/8500ft descent).

31 - trek Jomsom

We trek via Marpha and its good restaurants to Jomsom, the district headquarters here. Hot showers (do you have any clean clothes?)!

32 - fly Jomsom-Pokhara-Kathmandu

We take a morning flight out. The flights are reasonably reliable here but if it is postponed then we can bus to Pokhara in a long, tough day.

33 - Kathmandu

This is a free recovery day. (If we didn't fly yesterday then we fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu today).

Day 34 - depart


We are climbing a 7000m mountain later than normal and it will be COLD (but hopefully gloriously fine). Trekking and at BC, and even lower on the mountain should be pleasant enough but the high camps and summit will be savagely cold, perhaps like a reasonable summit day on Cho Oyu. So these are good conditions to use your 8000m gear. Do review our Cho Oyu-Shishapangma gear list and basically the only changes are

- one sleeping bag only

- down suit is optional but if you don't have then you need a thick down jacket and warm primaloft or similar pants

- one set of mattresses

- small summit pack not necessary

- trek with your expedition pack

Gear will be packed in kit bags rather than drums, crampons and ice axe separately (we will handle). Pack your climbing gear separately from trekking gear. The climbing gear will not necessarily be accessible during the trek in. Do consider how to pack and how to keep your gear to a reasonable quantity. Also consider whether you will trek in with a large day pack and a porter carrying a kitbag or carry most or all of your trekking gear yourself, either way is OK.


We have run many successful and safe expeditions however you must understand this is as real as it gets. We try our best with safety and gear within the limits of the expedition budget but this is 7000m and anything can happen. Even with good gear, good everything, the risk of death is small BUT REAL. As with most mountains there is UNAVOIDABLE avalanche danger, although the probability is low.

We try our best and we are very responsible, caring people however we are not liable for anything, full stop.

The trekking pole and longer ice axe combo is often more appropriate than fancy dual technical tools - Jamie

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