General FAQ’s

Even the most experienced climbers have questions and if this is your first time on an International Expedition, Trek, or Northwest Climb you are sure to have them. We provide information about travel dates, itineraries, and required equipment throughout our website. Each individual trip includes a travel information section with a list of specific trip FAQ’s for your reference. However, if you cannot find the answers you seek anywhere else, we try to provide them here!

When do I need to arrive and depart?

International Departures

International itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in the countries destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.

Domestic Departures

Most climbers will fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) the evening before the program and rent a car for the hour and forty-five minute drive to Sedro Woolley, Washington.

Northwest programs our itineraries reflect the date and time the program begins at a start location (Mount Baker, North Cascades National Park). When flying to Washington State you will need to arrive the day before the climb begins to meet the group at the program start location. With regards to your departure flight, our return time to the program start location is often unpredictable. We suggest a hotel reservation for the night of the last day and plan to return home the day after the end of the program. If departing on the last day of the program, we recommend booking a flight later than 10pm.

International Programs

How can I find out about necessary visas or entry requirements for the country I am visiting?

Mountain Gurus will send you all necessary visa information contained within our pre-departure package. It is your responsibility to send in all pre-required visa applications and associated fees. In addition, most countries maintain websites that provide all necessary information and application forms.

How can I find about necessary immunizations for the area where I am traveling?

As part of your pre-departure information, we will provide you with current recommended/required immunizations for the country where you are traveling. We also suggest consulting your local travel clinic or the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov

Do you provide single accommodations?

Many of our International trips rates are quoted based on double sharing hotel accommodations. A single room supplement is available for an additional fee. For single travelers who do not wish to pay an additional fee, we will make every effort to pair you with another suitable team member. If we’re unable to pair you, the single room supplement fee may apply depending on the destination.

Can additional gear or clothing be stored during the program duration?

In most cases additional items can be stored at the hotel or with our ground operator.

Can I hire an additional porter?

On International programs, Mountain Gurus can arrange (hire) a personal porter if desired for an additional cost. Please notify us in advance if you are considering a personal porter.

What type of accommodations can I expect?

Hotels: During our stay in international destination cities you can expect to stay in high quality hotels. When available we opt to stay in smaller boutique style hotels that provide a friendly atmosphere and quality experience.

Camping or Lodges: When camping we provide high quality mountaineering tents. Depending on the expedition or climb clients may participate in setting up tents and help in establishing camp, as well as participate in cooking. On treks and adventures, Mountain Gurus provides a fully supported experience, your tent will be set up and waiting when you arrive in camp and you will be greeted with hot water and a cup of tea.

Destinations like Nepal we often opt to stay in high quality lodges (also known as Tea Houses) as an alternative to camping. Due to our local knowledge we choose from the finest lodges available which provide great food and a friendly environment.

How heavy a pack do I need to carry?

For International programs pack weight varies greatly depending on the type of program. On our fully supported Treks and Adventures you will only be expected to carry a small to medium sized day pack with each trekking day’s necessary clothing and essentials, 15-30 lbs. Expeditions will be required to carry a portion of the group gear and food in addition to your personal gear, 40-65 lbs. On fully supported Expeditions we utilize high altitude climbing porters which greatly minimizes the need to carry group gear, 35-50 lbs.

Domestic Programs

What type of tent accommodations can I expect?

We provide high quality mountaineering tents on Northwest climbs and courses. Clients maybe asked to participate in setting up tents and help in establishing camp, as well as participate in cooking.

Do you provide single tent accommodations?

During Northwest climbs and courses, single tent accommodations are typically not available.

How heavy a pack do I need to carry?

On Northwest programs you will be required to carry a portion of the group gear and food, in addition to your personal gear. This should be taken into consideration when deciding what you should bring. Be prepared to carry between 40-55+ lbs. depending on the length of the program and group size. An adequate size backpack is required.

Can I hire a porter?

During Northwest climbs and courses, hiring a porter is not feasible. You are responsible to carry all your personal gear and food, as well as a portion of group gear (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, etc.). An adequate size backpack is required.

Travel & Insurance

Will a Mountain Gurus agent greet me at the airport?

For International programs depending on your arrival time, we coordinate ground transportation. We either greet you at the airport or arrange transportation to your hotel. In most cases the program formally begins the morning after arrival day. In some cases we only provide one group airport transfer, or meet in at the hotel in country. Please contact our office or refer to the pre-departure information for specific details.

For Domestic programs, we meet the morning of the climb for equipment check before heading to the trailhead. Group transportation to the trailhead is not provided.

What if I want to arrive early or depart later than the program?

Mountain Gurus can assist in arranging accommodations before or after the scheduled trip itinerary. We do charge a service fee when booking additional hotel nights or other services outside the pre-planned itinerary. The fee covers, credit card fees, the cost of transferring funds internationally and well as our staff time in providing a professional service as a convenience to our customers. Our hotel rates are often not competitive with online booking sites, Mountain Gurus does not utilize internet booking rates, as hotels typically offer more flexible terms and cancellation policies to travel service providers.

Our Mountain Gurus staff will also be happy to recommend additional activities or tours while traveling.

Do you recommend trip cancellation insurance?

Mountain Gurus highly recommends purchasing of trip cancellation and travel insurance. This comprehensive travel insurance provides coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, travel delays, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delays, medical expenses and emergency assistance.

Mountain Gurus does not insure you against cancellation. For more info about current coverage plans and quotes please visit.

Do I need any other insurance?

Make sure you provide yourself adequate traveler’s medical and evacuation insurance for coverage should you have a problem during the trip.

Should I have concerns when traveling internationally?

We recommend registering with the United States Department of State when traveling anywhere internationally. Registration is voluntary and is your sole responsibility. Also, the United States Department of State maintains a travel Warning/Alerts list for most countries around the world. www.travel.state.gov

Experience and Fitness

What are climbing and trekking grades?

Mountain Gurus provides climbing and trekking grades to help choose which programs are best suited for experience level, knowledge of climbing, and overall physical conditioning. Mountain travel can be extremely challenging yet profoundly rewarding. We offer programs of various skill levels and difficulty. Regardless which program you choose we expect our clients to be physically and mentally prepared for the demands of the journey.

Can anyone participate on your MG programs?

We feel that anyone good physical fitness should be able to join us on many of our programs. Mountain Gurus guides will introduce basic trekking and climbing skills needed during the program. Remember your ability to participate in the program is largely dependent upon your overall health and fitness. An expedition, trek, or climb should not be taken lightly and we encourage you to prepare for it by physically conditioning yourself for the strenuous aspects of the program. We strongly advise anyone who is considering a climb with Mountain Gurus, who may have a medical condition or medical history that may affect their performance, first consult with their physician. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us and our office staff can discuss which program is best suited for you.

What are the minimum age requirements?

We would prefer to talk with you about the program you are interested in and see if it is an appropriate choice for someone under the age of 18.

Equipment

Does Mountain Gurus rent equipment?

We provide rental gear on our domestic Northwest climbs and courses. Please refer to the rental reservations form for details. All rental gear needs to be reserved and paid in advance. In some cases we’re able to provide rental gear on international climbs. Please contact our office for details.

Where should I buy equipment?

We can help you find a quality local climbing and outdoor shop where you can purchase the equipment you will need.

General

Is it customary to tip your support staff or mountain guide?

Tipping is considered a symbol of appreciation for a job well done. Tipping the Mountain Gurus or Northwest Alpine Guide guide staff is a personal choice. We encourage you to offer a separate gratuity to your lead guide and/or assistant guide based on their individual services. Usually 10-20% of the trip cost.

On a domestic Northwest climb or course $100-$300 is typically appropriate, divided among the staff.

On International programs where we utilize support staff (porters, cooks, kitchen staff); it is Mountain Gurus practice to take a group tip and divide it among the support staff. Tipping of guides for a job well done is always appreciated. The amount ranges between $200-$500 for the staff including guides. More for international expeditions like Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Everest where we utilize a large staff to assist in your comfort, safety and success.

Mountain Gurus provides tipping information within the pre-departure information for each individual trip. Please read the PreClimb pdf. for specific trip guidelines.

How can my family get in contact with me when I’m on a on a Mountain Gurus program?

After your application and deposit are accepted; you will be provided with a detailed itinerary which will include hotel and ground outfitter contact information for your program. Due to the nature of the wilderness areas we travel it is likely you will be out of contact during the duration of the program. Telephone and internet access is available in many destinations at your own expense.

I have a group of family/friends/colleagues and we have specific dates we would like to climb. Can you customize a program for us?

All our programs can be run on a private basis. The beauty of a private program is you climb what you want, with who you want, when you want. We’ll take care of the entire program. We are also able to provide you with a custom itinerary depending on your interests. We may require a $300 non-refundable deposit for custom program planning which will be applied towards your program cost at the time of reservation.