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International FAQ

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE COST OF MY INTERNATIONAL TRIP?

We try to minimize your in-country expenses on international trips. The following are general guidelines of services included in your land costs:*

 All scheduled restaurant meals

  • Camping expenses
  • Scheduled hotel accommodations
  • Staff and guide services
  • All group gear
  • In-country airport transfers
  • All scheduled activities (museum visits, city tours, etc.)
  • Porter support (with the exception of Aconcagua)  

 

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE COST OF MY INTERNATIONAL TRIP?

  • International airfare
  • Unscheduled restaurant meals
  • Unscheduled hotel nights
  • Items of personal nature (phone calls, laundry, room service, etc.)
  • Guide/staff gratuities

* All prices subject to change and some inclusions and exclusions may vary from one trip to another.

 

ARE MY SERVICES DIFFERENT ON A PRIVATE CLIMB THAN ON A REGULAR CLIMB?

In some cases, yes. The costs for a private climb may include professional guiding services only. In that case, all food, equipment, transportation and personal items are not included in the trip cost. 

 

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in a pre-departure packet. Every year, after assessing feedback from our clients and guides, we review and update our lists so they are as complete and up-to-date as possible. Every list has a description of each item, however feel free to call us if you have questions or need help locating any of the items on the list. It is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list. 

 

WILL MY INTERNATIONAL TRIP HAVE AN EQUIPMENT CHECK?

Typically, we don’t have equipment checks for international trips, and you can’t count on finding an outdoor supplier in-country during the days just before a trip begins. Therefore, it’s extremely important you follow the equipment list guidelines and bring every item on the list. If you have any questions concerning any of the items mentioned in the equipment list, please contact us. 

 

CAN I RENT MY GEAR THROUGH MOUNTAIN MADNESS?

Currently we do not rent equipment for our international trips. We may be able to procure some items in the country of destination. Call us for specific information regarding your trip. 

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FULLY SUPPORTED TREK OR CLIMB AND A PORTER SUPPORTED TREK OR CLIMB?

On a fully supported trek or climb, you are responsible for carrying only a daypack. All group gear and equipment, including food, fuel and tents, will be transported for you. Clothing and personal equipment are the responsibility of each participant. On certain trips additional porters may be available at an additional cost. 

 

HOW HEAVY WILL MY PACK BE?

A typical daypack on a fully supported trek or climb contains snacks, camera, water and extra clothing and weighs between 15-25 lbs. On porter-supported mountaineering trips, additional cold weather clothes and miscellaneous climbing equipment may increase your load to 20-35 lbs. For unsupported mountaineering trips, climbers will be expected to carry between 40-65 lbs. 

 

IS IT POSSIBLE TO HIRE A PERSONAL PORTER?

Yes, we can arrange to hire a personal porter for your pack. The cost of this service is not included in your land costs. 

 

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO STORE EXTRA GEAR AND CLOTHING THAT I WILL NOT NEED?

In most cases, yes. Usually you can store extra gear and clothing at your hotel. There may be a small charge, but typically it is free. Call Mountain Madness for details regarding your trip. 

 

WHAT KIND OF LODGING CAN I EXPECT?

Hotels

Most of our international trips feature first class accommodations in larger cities and towns. Generally, these hotels offer amenities like room service, laundry, etc. We try to find accommodations close to local points of interest, unique shops and colorful markets.

 

Camping

On our treks and climbs we camp "Mountain Madness style. " Our mountaineering courses and smaller scale expeditions are set up to allow for maximum group participation, which allows for additional learning opportunities. On some of our Asia and Africa treks, however, hospitality sometimes trumps participation, and we may deliver hot tea to the foot of your tent. On many of our fully supported treks and climbs, tents will generally be set up for you before you arrive at camp.

 

Huts

Huts are yet another form of accommodation utilized on many of our trips, including Ecuador, Elbrus, and the Alps. Most of the huts are bunk style and have a common eating area. Some of the more deluxe huts have heat, electricity and separate rooms. 

 

CAN I REQUEST SINGLE ACCOMMODATIONS?

All accommodations are based on double or triple occupancy. If you are traveling solo and wish to share accommodations, we will pair you with another traveler. If you prefer single accommodations, we will do our best to arrange it, however, there are some situations where it may not be possible. If you request single accommodations or a roommate cannot be assigned, you will be responsible for paying the single supplement fee listed on the application. 

 

HOW PHYSICALLY FIT DO I HAVE TO BE TO PARTICIPATE IN A MOUNTAIN MADNESS TRIP?

Most of our trips are physically demanding, and your ability to enjoy the adventure depends on your health and fitness. Your trip will be more rewarding if you prepare for it by conditioning properly well in advance. We believe that the best form of training is simulating the activity you are training for, and then increasing the level of exertion as the routine becomes easier.

For example, walking up hills and stair climbing are excellent ways to condition your lower body, heart and lungs for climbing. Begin slowly, without the weight of a pack, and eventually add weight as you increase your training pace. Then begin taking longer hikes several times a week with a weighted pack. Use water containers for uphill hikes, then empty the contents for the descent to reduce knee stress. Supplement these workouts with running, swimming, bicycling, or other forms of aerobic activity. Additionally, we highly recommend that you incorporate a weight training regime into your training program to build upper-body strength.

Begin your daily training several months prior to your trip. If you have questions, contact Mountain Madness to discuss how best to help you prepare for your trek, course, or climb. 

 

ARE MOUNTAIN MADNESS TRIPS RATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEIR LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY?

Yes. Here’s how we rate our treks and climbs:

 

Expedition Rating System

Beginner: no previous mountaineering skills required

Advanced Beginner: basic mountaineering skills recommended including self-arrest, cramponing, ice axe use, rope and glacier travel experience

Intermediate: basic mountaineering skills recommended in addition to experience on technical terrain consisting of 40-50 degree snow/ice slopes.

Advanced Intermediate: intermediate mountaineering skills recommended and proven experience on technical terrain and high altitudes to 20,000 feet.

Advanced: intermediate/advanced mountaineering skills recommended in addition to experience on technical terrain, including rock and ice climbing and ascents over 20,000 feet.

 

Here's how we rate our porter supported treks:

Easy: flat terrain. 

Moderate: varied terrain with elevation gains up to 2,000 feet, 4-6 hours of hiking a day.

Moderate/Strenuous: steeper terrain with elevation gains up to 3,000 feet, 5-7 hours of hiking a day. 

Strenuous: steep terrain, occasional elevation gains of more than 3,000 feet at higher altitudes, 6-8 hours of hiking a day. 

 

DOES MOUNTAIN MADNESS CUSTOMIZE TRIPS?

Mountain Madness loves to customize personal trips -- for you, your friends, or organization. Our published land costs are typically based on 5-10 individuals, so the number in your party may affect your land costs. We require a $100 non-refundable deposit for custom trip planning, which will be applied towards your trip cost at the time of reservation. Just give us a call and let us know what you're interested in, and we'll do our best to Make It Happen. 

 

DOES MOUNTAIN MADNESS OFFER FAMILY TRIPS?  IS THERE A MINIMUM AGE REQUIREMENT?

Yes,  we do offer family trips! We'd love to talk with you about your interests and what might be a good fit for kids under 18. Please call our office for details. 1-800-328-5925.  

 

WHAT DAY DO I NEED TO ARRIVE?

If you are traveling from the U.S. and taking one of our international trips, you should plan to depart on the first day of the dates we’ve published for the trip and return on the last day we’ve published.

For example, if you were departing from the US and the published dates were October 28 to November 17, you should plan to depart the US on October 28th and schedule your return flight for November 17th. If your country of origin is not the U.S., call us and we’ll help you plan your travel days. 

 

WHAT IF I WANT TO ARRIVE EARLIER OR DEPART LATER THAN THE TRIP DATES?

Mountain Madness is happy to help you arrange accommodations before and after your trip. Our area directors can recommend side excursions and restaurants for the extra time. 

 

WHO WILL BE PICKING ME UP AND WHERE?

A Mountain Madness guide or representative will pick you up at the airport on the scheduled arrival date. We can help you arrange accommodations if you arrive earlier, and we are happy to make suggestions for transportation, restaurants and sightseeing. For easy identification, consider wearing your Mountain Madness T-shirt or hat. 

 

WHO WILL MY GUIDES BE?

All of our guides are highly skilled professionals who have been selected based on their technical proficiency, proven safety records, careful judgment, patient and supportive teaching styles and great personalities. At a minimum, all of our guides hold current Wilderness First Responder certification and are proficient in technical rescue and evacuation skills. Dedicated to the world of alpinism, many of our guides have logged first ascents and successful summits on major peaks from the Cascades to Everest. In addition to their broad scope of personal achievements out in the field, many Mountain Madness guides have educational backgrounds in natural history, cultural anthropology, and language studies that will enhance your overall experience. 

 

SHOULD I TIP MY GUIDES?

Tipping is always a personal choice, but is greatly appreciated by your guides. Check your departure packet for details. If you decide to tip your American guide (and avoid carrying extra cash), you might consider bringing a blank check that can be made out to Mountain Madness. 

 

WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS EATEN ON A TRIP? CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE A VEGETARIAN DIET?

All of the meals served on Mountain Madness trips are a combination of the best local and regional fares along with some specialty items brought from the US. Your guide or your personal cooks are happy to accommodate dietary restrictions. In major towns, our groups usually sample regional dishes in the local restaurants. 

 

WHAT IF SOMEONE ON MY ROPE TEAM GETS SICK, WILL I HAVE TO DESCEND/LOSE MY SUMMIT OPPORTUNITY?

For all of our climbs and courses, participants must remember that they are part of a team and that the well-being of everyone on the team is more important than any one individual reaching the summit. If the entire group is required to get a team member down, they will be called upon to assist the guides and staff. However, we have a high success rate, in part, because we often hire skilled local guides to assist on summit days, decreasing the client to guide ratio. This offers additional staff often increases everyone's chance for success.

 

WHAT IF SOMEONE ON MY TRIP FEELS SICK OR WANTS TO STOP?

During a trek, if someone becomes ill or feels that they do not wish to go any farther, the guides decide whether the person requires an escort for descent (by a local staff or assistant guide) or if he or she can stay put until the group returns. 

 

WILL I BE ABLE TO INTERACT WITH THE LOCALS ON A MOUNTAIN MADNESS TRIP?

Absolutely! Mountain Madness recognizes our trips as physical, scenic, and cultural odysseys into foreign lands, and so we encourage you to interact with the locals. Your Mountain Madness guides are experienced in the proper cultural courtesies and will be able to advise you along the way regarding these considerations. 

 

CAN I GIVE A MOUNTAIN MADNESS TRIP AS A GIFT?

Yes. We can provide you with a gift certificate in any amount. 

 

I WOULD LIKE TO BECOME A GUIDE, WHERE SHOULD I BEGIN?

At a minimum, all of our guides have extensive climbing resumes, hold current Wilderness First Responder certifications, have participated in our Guide Training Program, and hold related university degrees in areas such as cultural anthropology, language, or natural history. If you're interested in becoming a Mountain Madness guide, feel free to send us your resume. If you're interested in beefing up your resume, a great place to begin might be one of our mountaineering courses or summit climbs. 

 

CAN MOUNTAIN MADNESS HELP ME REACH THE HIGHEST PEAKS ON EACH CONTINENT?

Mountain Madness has designed a Seven Summits package that includes the highest peaks on each continent. Whether you have one or seven to go, Mountain Madness can customize a package to help you reach the top of each continent. Call for more details. 

 

I'M INTERESTED IN YOUR SEVEN SUMMITS PROGRAM.  IS THERE A NATURAL PROGRESSION TO ACCOMPLISH THIS ENDEAVOR?

With less than 75 people having reached the Seven Summits, it remains an elusive, though obtainable goal. From a technical standpoint each climb offers its own, unique challenges. Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus are great places to embark on this odyssey and represent the less technical climbs of the Seven Summits spectrum. Following Kilimanjaro and Elbrus, a mountaineer typically goes on to climb such greats as Vinson, Aconcagua, Carstensz and Denali. But for most Seven Summiters, Mount Everest is the ultimate achievement, and is obtained only after years of trials and tribulations on lesser mountains. For more information on our Seven Summits Program, please contact us. 

 

RESERVING A TRIP: HOW QUICKLY DO THE TRIPS FILL UP?

There is no way to know how quickly our trips are going to fill up. Many of our trips fill up months in advance. So send in your application and a deposit as soon as you have decided which trip date you want. 

 

HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR A TRIP?

You can sign up for the trip directly on our website. Click on "Sign Up"  to the left of any trip name. You may also find the application under the "Resources" tab in the main menu.

 

WHAT IS THE DEPOSIT AMOUNT TO HOLD MY SPACE?

$700 for scheduled international trips (unless otherwise noted), which includes a $75 non-refundable registration fee. An application alone won’t reserve your space. 

 

WHEN DO I NEED TO PAY THE BALANCE OF MY TRIP?

The balance is due 90 days prior to departure. 

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED TO CANCEL MY TRIP?

If you need to cancel your trip, Mountain Madness must be notified in writing. Your trip will be cancelled from the date we receive written notice. You will be assessed a cancellation fee according to the following schedule:

  • More than 120 days from trip departure: $75
  • 120 to 91 days from trip departure: $700
  • 90 days or fewer from trip departure: 100% of trip cost 

Non-refundable fees may apply for certain trips in order to secure permits and other services; notably Inca Trail and Himalayan peak permits, and Vinson airfare.

Alternate cancelation and payment schedules apply for Mt. Everest, Denali, and Logan expeditions.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF MOUNTAIN MADNESS HAS TO CANCEL MY TRIP?

If Mountain Madness cancels a trip due to insufficient registration, you will receive a full refund. 

 

DO I NEED TO PURCHASE TRIP INSURANCE OR EVACUATION INSURANCE?

Mountain Madness highly recommends the purchasing of trip cancellation, travel insurance and medical evacuation policies. Once we have received your application and have confirmed your spot on a trip, we will send you information about the various types of insurance and insurance companies we would recommend. 

 

ARE THE PHOTOS FROM YOUR PHOTO GALLERIES AND BROCHURES AVAILABLE FOR SALE?

Yes. If you are interested in purchasing any of the photos Mountain Madness displays in the photo gallery or the international brochure, please contact Mark Gunlogson at 800-328-5925 or via email at markg@mountainmadness.com