Ncell launches World’s Highest 3G station at Kala Patthar(5200m)

On 28th October, Ncell , a private telecommunication company operating in Nepal successfully launched the highest 3G station(at 5200 m) in the world at Kala Patthar, Everest Base Camp. According to English daily ‘The Kathmandu Post’ there are seven 3G base stations in the region and the one established at the base camp is the highest 3G station in the world.
Fishtail Air carried out corporate charters from Kathmandu to ShyangbocheGorakh Shep on 25th & 28th October 2010.The helicopters ferried equipments and high ranking staffs of Ncell including its CEO, Pasi Koistinen .
On Thursday(28th October) Mr. Pasi Koistinen, Ncell’s CEO, launched the 3G service by making a video call from Shyangboche to Kala Patthar. His call was received by Explore Himalaya’s climbing guide Namgyal Sherpa, who was stationed at Kala Patthar, at a height 5,500 meters.
Now mountaineers, trekkers as well as locals in the Everest region will be able to make use of Ncell’s 3G services.3G service allows subscribers to make video calls and surf high speed internet and also provide other services such as voice calls, SMS, CRBT and MMS.

Mobile SIM Card Rental

We would like to inform our clients that, for their convenience, Explore Himalaya is renting out mobile SIM cards. Along with the SIM card you get a recharge card worth NRs 500/-. You can make local as well as international calls by using this card. The rental charge is US$ 15 per trip.

The mobile SIM has network coverage up to Namche and Shyangboche. There will be no refund for balance calls. The client will have to get the account recharged on his/her own once he/she has used up the balance. Pre- paid recharge cards are available for purchase at most of the shops in Kathmandu and other major towns.

Explore Himalaya’s Choice -TopOut Oxygen Mask

Among Everest and high altitude climbers, the revolutionary TopOut oxygen delivery system is becoming very popular. Designed and built by Ted Atkins, a former RAF Aerosystems Engineering Officer and an experienced high altitude climber, Ted summitted Everest in 2004 while testing the prototype.
The expedition teams who have climbed mountains using TopOut (among them the noted Jagged Globe team), have found the design of the mask to be much better, offering a better line of vision unlike the cumbersome old version, with an improved oxygen delivery. TopOut has a working bag that allows you to inhale a higher concentration of oxygen for every breath. The mask ensures that every last molecule of oxygen that leaves the cylinder is processed through the lungs. There is no wastage of oxygen. A good supply of oxygen not only helps you move faster but enables you to think more clearly which is crucial in decision making. Instead of the usual 12 or 14 hours, climbers have summitted Everest in 8 hours using the TopOut masks. To read the testimonials by climbers you can browse TopOut’s website
Explore Himalaya shall be using TopOut masks for its expeditions to the Everest and other high altitude mountains.

The mask comes is a convenient carry bag ( Pics 1& 2).It consists of a mask, a silicon hose or pipe (Pic 3)that is fitted to the oxygen bottle ( with the regulator) and a plastic canister with a reservoir bag inside, that is fitted to the mask. See Pic 4 to see the whole system fitted together.

(i)The mask: The mask is made of silicon. It does not harden like ordinary rubber when the temperature drops. It remains soft and flexible always. The mask comes in two sizes small and medium. It has a snug fit, ensuring that no oxygen from the bottle goes out in the atmosphere and thus wasted. The seal around the mask (Pic 6) ensures that no oxygen is wasted. There are holes on the masks for the valves. When you are breathing out, the moisture from your breath makes the inside of the mask moist. If you take off the mask to radio or to talk, the cold air might make the valve freeze. The oxygen keeps coming in but you will notice a resistance while breathing out. If that happens you can do three things:
(a )Just blow hard for a few seconds and the valve will move, or
(b)Break the seal at the side of the mask with your finger or thumb so that you are now exhaling through the side of the mask. In a short while your warm breath will have freed the valve.
(c)If steps a & b do not work, you remove the cover off and move the valve (Pics 7 & 8 ) with your finger.
The holes meant for the valves are interchangeable. It means that if one is right handed, one can fit the valve meant for the oxygen hose on the left side keeping the right hand side free and ‘unhampered’ to work on (and vice versa for the left handed).
The mask is washable( just wash with warm soapy water and rinse it thoroughly with clean water and it is germ free!) and reusable.

The Ambient Air Valve: This has a cover(Pic 5,right hand side) to stop it getting covered with the hood of your suit. The cover can be rotated so that the air can come in from any direction. The cover can also be easily removed, this will ease the flow of air into the mask.
The flow of inoming breath can be eased by first removing the small white washer in the centre of the valve(pic 7). This washer is there to stiffen the valve to ensure that the resevoir bag empties first. If you remove the washer ensure that you are still drawing oxygen properly.
We all breath differently so Topout is built so that it can suit you, tune it how you want it.

There are adjustable straps or harnesses and face seal (Pic 9) to attach the mask firmly to your face.
To detach the mask from the straps, simply clip the face seal off. The mask comes apart easily.

(ii)The reservoir Bottle or Canister: We breathe in a cycle of 3 parts: 2 of these are breathing out. While using supplementary oxygen, the gas is flowing constantly. With the old system there was no way to store the extra O2 that was flowing into the mask. It was flowing out into the atmosphere & thus wasted. Now TopOut has a working reservoir bag. When you breathe out the oxygen comes and collects in the reservoir bag. That allows you to inhale a higher concentration of oxygen during expiration, as the first part of your breath goes deep into the lungs for effective processeing by the avioli. When the resevoir bag empties the ambient air valve opens for the second stage of the breath. Thus lower oxygenated air fill the upper respiratory tract where no oxygen exchange takes place. As it is inside a clear plastic canister you can see the bag expand. The bag inside is very fine and has no resistance to the flow of oxygen. (Pic10)
There are vents at the botttom of the bottle (Pic11) to let out the air inside the bottle when the bag expands. If there were no vents, the air inside bottle would be compressing the bag thus trying to stop the bag from working. The canister should be clipped to your clothing or sack with the caribiner(Pic 12). It could be placed in a pocket or inside the suit if preferred but be aware that there are vents in the bottom which must be kept clear for the system to work effectively.

There is a danger that if the wet mask is removed and the oxygen turned off that the oxygen valve could freeze closed. When the oxygen is reconnected if the valve cannot move the bag will burst. This does not stop the system working. Now you cannot see the bag moving but oxygen is still being delivered.

(iii)The pipe or hose: The pipe (Pic 10, the pink hose) is made of silicon. It is very thick and very strong. It has laminated layers and it does not close. Even if the pipe is pressed or nipped it continues to deliver oxygen. In Pic14, you can see the valve that attaches the mask to the hose.
N.B: For those who can read and understand English, the instructions on how to use the mask are given on the plastic canister (Pic 13).

Q1. If the reservoir bag bursts will the oxygen supply be cut off?
Ans: No, even if the reservoir bag bursts, the oxygen will still be delivered to the mask. You will still be able to breathe in oxygen.

Q2.What stops the mask from working?
Ans: There is only one thing that can stop the mask from working and that is you have to turn the regulator off or cut off the oxygen pipe.

Q3.What happens if I take off the mask to radio?
Ans: In the high mountains, if you take off the mask the cold air could freeze the valves. Exhaled air is heavily laden with moisture. This air has to pass over the outlet valve and must make it wet. This is not a problem while wearing the mask, as your warm breathe will keep the valve working .If you remove the mask the valve could freeze onto its seat. If this happens you will notice a resistance while breathing out. Just break the side seal for about 20 seconds to a min and it will move. Or in the unlikely event of this not working, you can remove the front cover (it simply clips off) and physically free the valve with a finger. Simply break the face seal of the mask for a few moments to allow exhaled air out and your warm breath will soon free the valve.

Q4.If I lose one of the valves, will the mask work?
Ans: Yes, the mask will still be working. You will still be able to breathe in oxygen. But there has been no report of valves getting lost.

The system ‘fails safe’ apart from cutting the delivery tube the system will always deliver oxygen, if at a lesser level of efficiency.

Before use, check that the valves are in place and free to move i.e. not iced up.

You will be asked to give a talk or talks when you get back. Your mask; the one used to summit Everest with, is a great ‘prop’ at your talk. It is something that people can touch, unlike your photos. Ask to take your mask home with you, you can buy it. It is too late to think of it when the invitations come in!


Training Workshop on ‘TopOut’ Oxygen Mask Conducted by Ted Atkins

Training Workshop on ‘TopOut’ Oxygen Mask Conducted by Ted Atkins

Ted Atkins who has designed and built ‘TopOut’, a new high altitude oxygen delivery system which is fast gaining popularity among high altitude climbers, conducted an orientation workshop and demonstration at the premises of Explore Himalaya’s store. The workshop was held on 25th March and was well attended by Explore’s climbing sherpas.

The workshop kick started at 9:30 a.m with a brief introduction by Ted Atkins.Without much ado he proceeded to elucidate on how TopOut oxygen delivery system works much better in high altitude climbs like Everest, then the old Russian Piosk mask.

Ted Atkins explains how TopOut works

According to him, the mask as well as the oxygen hose is made of silicon, a material which does not harden and remains flexible in high altitude conditions. The mask is fitted to a working resevoir bag(a plastic bag which is fited inside a transparent plastic bottle) that allows one to inhale a higher concentration of oxygen for every breath. .There is no wastage of oxygen during expiration (breathing out) as the flow is directed into the resevoir bag. So when one is climbing using Topout there is no wastage of oxygenYour lungs are taking in the optimum amount of oxygen without wasting any , thus enabling you to think clearly and travel faster, and reach the summit in less time.

Ted with the mask & the reservior bottle
Ted added that the mask, which comes in 2 sizes medium and small, has a snug fit. As the mask fits snugly, there is improved visibility. It does not push up to your goggles obstructing your vision while you are climbing. The mask has three valves.One is for the hose fitted to the oxygen bottle and the reservoir bag,one is for the exhalation valve to stop the cold air from getting inside the mask.

Another excellent feature of the Topout mask , which the sherpas agreed , is that the holes meant for the valves are interchangeable. It means that if one is right handed, one can fit the valve meant for the oxygen hose on the left side keeping the right hand side free and ‘unhampered’ to work on (and vice versa for the left handed).
The mask is washable( just wash with warm soapy water and rinse it thoroughly with clean water and it is germ, plus infection free!) and reusable.According to Ted, in order to assure the clients that the masks are servicable after it is being used, he test it and puts a stamp of approval on the reservoir bag( for the whole system: mask , valves , hose).
After explaining how Topout works,Ted let all the sherpas try out the masks,from the fitting in and to taking out the valves to the masks.

The Sherpas listening toTed in rapt attention

Satellite Phones

Satellite Phones
We, at Explore Himalaya aspire to make the Himalayan journey of our clients’ smooth, hassle free, enjoyable and memorable. We are always in the lookout for latest products and gadgets that would make your travel into remote pockets of the Himalayas easy and smooth. The satellite phone is one gadget which has proved to be indispensable in this regard. During emergency situations in the high mountains, when life hangs on a balance, satellite phones have been useful in reaching out for help. Satellite phones are also useful keeping in touch with friends and families while traveling in the remote mountains.

The Satellite Phone for Expeditions, Trekking and Tibet Tours : Thuraya SG2520
After searching for an ideal set, we have finally selected the Thuraya SG2520 satellite mobile hand sets, for our trips and expeditions this year. We have chosen this model, because: it has a built in browser (which does not require connection to a laptop or PC to browse the internet), camera of 1 mega pixel and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) phone. It is also quite light and sleek (170g). With the use of this set while traveling in the high mountains away from human habitation, you can stay connected with your family and friends, because the satellite service option in Thuraya SG-2520 allows you to connect with your family and friends (the satellite service option helps you to roam across nearly one third of the globe). Thuraya SG-2520 is GmPRS(Geo Mobile Packet Radio Service) enabled. The embedded micro browser facilitates Internet access. Which means you can enjoy reliable internet access and efficient data transmission at 60/15 kbps using Thuraya’s satellite network. Whether you are traveling in “the roof of the world” (Tibet) or climbing up a 8000+ meters Himalayan peak in Nepal, you can stay in touch with your office or your colleagues via the internet using the Thuraya network. You can make and receive calls, send SMS and e-mails .In addition, the GPS (Global Positioning System) feature in the handset allows users to navigate and find locations, and thus reach destinations quickly and safely. Moreover the phone’s integrated 1.3-megapixel camera allows you to capture special moments and grand sights on your journey to the wilderness of high Himalayan mountains. The Bluetooth technology allows you to recode sounds as well.

Phone Accessories
The set comes with a heavy duty battery, solar battery charger and USB data cable.

Heavy Duty Battery
Heavy duty battery is used to power the set for longer periods of time.
The battery takes four hours to charge It gives you a talk time of up to 2.4 hrs and standby time of up to 40+ hrs.

Solar Charger
The Solar Charger kit is used for charging the satellite handset even in the most remote areas or locations with limited, erratic or no power service. It can charge the phone battery in around 3 hours. The Solar Charger comes with a built- in cigarette lighter outlet. It also can be used for charging Notebooks.

USB Data Cable
The data Cable is used for connecting your Thuraya handset to the serial port on your Windows PC where you can go online (Internet) or send data/fax.

The data cable comes with a Software CD. The software package is compatible with Windows 98/Me/NT 4.0/2000 & Windows XP Home & Professional editions. Once configuration is complete, users are ready to dial in and surf the Web, check e-mail, send and receive faxes, trade stocks, research an issue during a meeting etc.

How to upgrade the software on your PC
Step 1:

Download the Software CD on your desktop.

Go to the desktop and run the setup file.
Note: To double check successful download, click on Start programs and check if you have Thuraya SG-2520 on your programs list.

Step 2:
Download the Thuraya SG-2520 Firmware release 4.4 into your hard disk.

Step 3:

Go to Start> Programs > Thuraya SG-2520> Thuraya SG-2520 Software Upgrade Manual

The earset is a simple earphone and microphone arrangement designed to allow the user to utilise both hands while engaging in a telephone conversation.

Payment terms
You can hire the handset and charger (together with the software CD and data cable) against a rental fee of US$ 85 per week. You need to purchase a scratch card of 39 units (US$70) and 80 units (US$140). The talk time & charge varies from country to country.
Please do send in your booking queries to or contact us directly by phone: 977-1-4418-100.

Calling/data/fax rates from Nepal (in US$):


Charge per minute

Charge per minute

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Solar System

During long mountaineering expeditions, we use specialised Solar Panels for electricity consumption. We have a 6 Panel Solar System which has the solar capacity of 90 watts. Perfect for camping and trekking, these Solar Panels are incredibly durable, lightweight, portable, extremely powerful and designed to standup to the toughest weather conditions.

Solar energy is cheap and very easy to change into electric energy. You just need to have a good spot to mount the solar panel. To ensure that the panel receives the most possible sunlight, it should be mounted on a south-facing slope unshaded by any object or trees. The solar panels will convert the light energy obtained from the sun directly into electric energy. This electricity produced is in DC format or Direct Current. The solar panels are connected to a 12 volt battery, through which direct current is acquired and is used to light DC bulbs. One DC port can light around 4 DC bulbs. You can charge around 5 batteries at a time but the more batteries you charge, the more time is consumed for charging all the batteries. After the batteries are charged, the DC is stored directly in the storage batteries, the charge remaining stored when not in use. A Solar Controller can be used to check the charge rate (fully charged, etc.) in the battery.

Direct Current can only light DC bulbs but cannot be used for other applications. Hence, Alternating Current (AC) is needed to operate computers, heaters, to charge laptops, mobile phones, satellite phones, etc. In order to obtain AC, an inverter is used. An inverter is an electronic circuit that converts direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). This solar panel is multifunctional, as both DC and AC can be acquired at the same time, for multipurpose use. This is a very easy technique, known by every climbing Sherpa.