Nepal is the home of the Himalaya range in the world. Not only does the highest peak on earth, Everest, but so do Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Annapurna, eight of the fourteen 8,000 m peaks of the world fall within Nepal’s territory.
Apart from the majestic big eight there are 326 other mountains in Nepal open for mountaineering expeditions and 103 are still awaiting a first ascent. Nepal offers the mountaineer more opportunities than any other region and many of these opportunities can be found in the shadows of its Himalayan jewels.
Despite the fact that mountains such as Everest and Annapurna are household names and receive a lot of media attention there are other areas that are far less frequented. For expeditions looking for new challenges and opportunities on lower, but equally as challenging peaks and who want to have the mountain to themselves, the choice is wide and varied.
The mountains of Nepal are grouped into different categories depending on their height and under whose authority they lay. The Ministry of Tourism is responsible for the expedition peaks above 6500metres, while the Nepal Mountaineering Association is responsible for mountains that are termed Trekking Peaks. These peaks range in altitude from 5800metres to 6584metres, although one should not be mislead into thinking these mountains can be easily ascended. Expeditions to peaks below 5800metres do not require climbing permits although they will require other forms of permits to enter specific regions. All expeditions are required to pay refundable garbage deposits while expeditions to peaks above 6500metres will also be required to employ a Liaison Officer. The best time for mountaineering expeditions is pre monsoon when the weather better, especially at altitude, although the visibility might be restricted with the pending monsoon conditions. Autumn is good for the slightly lower peaks, while winter is cold with short days and early spring might be subjected to seasonal snow storms. However, in these times of global warming and climate change the seasons are no longer as predictable as they use to be.