Check List

What to Carry /Dos and Don’ts
Most of the travel agents give a list of essentials to be carried. This is normally good, and you must demand this list. I have also made one list from my experience, which may be very useful for the first timers. After studying the list, demand all the facilities from your travel agent and get the confirmation in writing. Always go with a reputed company; pay a little extra, but demand the safety. Do not forget to focus on life-saving things first. Go through it very thoroughly and tick everything. One missing thing can be dangerous, especially medicines.
We cannot survive without oxygen, as we know, and at kailash, there isn’t enough oxygen for us. It is due to the height and to the fact that there is no vegetation. There are no trees or forests even at lower heights in the region though we saw now a lot of plantation by the Chinese government in Lhasa. It is a cold desert.
Sonal Kumar, who is only thirty years old, suddenly went blind due to lack of oxygen. She was going to pass out, had my sister Dr. Raj Mittal not administered her life-saving drug, Dexamethasone. This is not an expensive medicine but can save one’s life. So you must carry this in your pockets all the time. Carry plenty. If you are carrying it with yourself, train other members to give you the medicine in case you are affected by the high-altitude sickness.
Make sure that your vehicle has sufficient oxygen to last for at least twenty-four hours for two persons. Normally, the taxis carry a very small cylinder, which will last one or two hours and is only for one patient. CIPC is very cooperative, and so are guides. Saving a life is the responsibility of the guide; otherwise, they are dismissed and may be prosecuted but you must take care of yourself. Insist on big cylinders at the very start. My niece Sonal Kumar had to travel twelve hours by car while bleeding before she could reach a respectable hospital in Lhasa. She was able to survive since her host had put a big oxygen cylinder in the boot of her car.
The first night is the most critical night at Kailash if you have flown in. The oxygen level must be monitored by oximeter  every hour, and deep sleep is not recommended. Travel agents normally wake everybody up after some time, but if the agent is not well-managed, then take this as your responsibility for the whole group. My wife and our travel agent, Yash, took the responsibility of waking everyone up and checking their oxygen level. Surprisingly, many young members had a very low level.
Drink a lot of water, as it is the only additional source of oxygen available there. On one side, we were being administered with Diamox, which is a diuretic, and on the other hand, we were advised to take enough intake of water. You can understand the conditions as there were no toilets too. But both of the things are life-saving. We had to follow the guidelines without grumbling.
Our guide advised us to not to talk too much, as this saves oxygen as well. We were advised to separate the friends and couples and put them in different rooms. This didn’t happen as we assured him that we would not talk much and focus more on the prayers and meditation.
Much-Have-Gamow Bag
It is a live-saving equipment, as travel agent call it gamma bag, but most don’t carry this. The system is that if somebody suffer serious lake of oxygen, he/she is put into the Gamow bag. Normal air is pumped in this zipped-up bag with the help of a foot pump, and the pumping has to be carried on as long as the patient is in it. With the fresh air being pumped in, it reduces the altitude inside the bag somehow, thus reducing the symptoms of sickness and saving the life of one person. You can view it on YouTube, where it is well explained. It is just like a sleeping bag can be packed into a small suitcase. Must carry.
If going for Kailash Parikarma with untrained or elderly persons, one must take a stretcher and four Sherpas for any casualties. There is no medical aid available beyond Deraphuk to Darchen, which is the most difficult trek.
Charcoal Warmer
The temperature keeps changing fast at Kailash, and it is cold to very cold in the night and especially during the circumambulation when we are at a height and in the open. These warmers make our life easy. These are small pouches filled with treated charcoal powder, and one pouch works for eighteen hours. It is simple-just put one pouch on the area where you need heat, and it makes it warm. In 2015, during the Kora, the day temperature was minus fifteen degrees. Some of the members had numb fingers. We immediately used warmers, and the Kora was completed comfortably.
Power Backup
There is very good connectivity of mobile and Wi-Fi, international and local, both at Mansarovar and Mount Kailash. But there is no electricity available. So you must carry your power banks for your mobile to stay connected with the group and rest of the world. You must have backup for at least four to five days. We carried Nokia Phones, which cost about twenty dollars, but the battery life three to four days.
Avoid of a Very Big Group
We have seen people fighting for beds and sleeping in corridors in minus temperature. Usually, a big group of fifty or more is not well managed. A group of about twenty should be good and manageable.
What to Wear and How to Keep Yourself Warm
Maintaining your health is very important at Kailash as otherwise it could be fatal. The Kailash region is very windy, and due to wind chill, the temperature goes down very fast. Actually, it keeps changing so fast that it surprises the first-timers. On the way to Kailash Parikarma, as my nephew Manish Bhasin explained, they had full sunshine on their backs. It was so warm that their backs were burning with heat, and in the front, their breath would freeze due to low temperature. In this kind of climate, the only solution to save yourself is to stay warm.
One must wear layers of windcheaters lined with flees. The whole body should be covered, including one’s ears and nose. One can buy special Tibetan fur caps, like money caps, from Lhasa. One must carry a number of mouth masks. Since the wind is very high in the Kailash region, it carries small sand particles with it. If the mouth and nose are not covered, it hurts both, and if it is not very high quantity or regular, it should be considered normal.
You must carry down seven hundred jackets or above, waterproof snowshoes with good spikes for minus twenty-five degrees, insulated gloves, and a pair of cotton on thin woolen gloves to be worn inside. Insulated socks to keep your feet warm are a must.
Buying Warm Clothes and Travel Aids 
We bought our clothes the first time from North face and Sports Shale in the USA, which were good. These warmers are easily available in developed countries.
In India, many stores have come up recently that stock a good collection of high-altitude equipment. Three of them are as follows:

  1. Wild Craft
  2. Decathlon
  3. Columbia (which has recently opened a store in New Delhi)

The clothes that you are carrying must have flees inside. Once we bought waterproof trousers with warm flees, which were a copy of the original brands, from a Tibetan market in Shimla. When we told the Tibetan owner that we were going to Nanas, he requested us to return the trousers and gave us heavy ones. We had to buy the copies, as in summer temperature of forty-two degrees, people do not keep winter clothes. But to our surprise, these trousers were very warm, comfortable, and windproof.
If you forget something, do not panic. There are good stores to buy warm clothes and mountaineering accessories in Lhasa and also in Kathmandu.
Checklist for the Journey

Must-have Lifesavers

List no.

Item Details





Gamow Bag-by travel agent





Dexamethasone 4 mg, 20 tab. Each person





Oximeter- two per group





Diamox for the duration of the trip





Oxygen cylinder, professional size, with wrench and nasal cannula for at least two





Stretcher and four sherpas for Kailash Kora



Electronics and accesories

List no.

Item Details





Good quality camera and video camera with extra memory card





Speaker for mobile Phone










Power backup-stron, for 4-5 days





Spare cells and batteries





One small phone which has extra battery life





International adapters





Chinese translation app in the phone





Local sim card with internet for face time with your family



Medicines,skin care,and hygiene items

List no.

Item Details





Dexamethasone 4 mg, 20 tablets (life-saving)





Sunscreen, minimum 70 SPF





Toilet rolls (must-have), carry always in your purse





Diamox 250mg (1 tab BD), homeopathic Diamox is also available

Start 24 hours before flying to Kathmandu.





Personal medicine kit (2 week’s minimum supply of your regularly used medicines). See list of medicines below.





Lip Balm SPF 70 or you can apply sun cream on lips





Soap strips and hand sanitizers





Cold cream/Vaseline jelly





Odomos/mosquito repellent





Antibacterial wipes



Food supplies

List no.

Item Details





Vegetarian food





High-protein bars





Mixed dry fruits










Some tasteful snacks like penanuts, roasted chickpeas





Glucose D and similar items





Indian parantha, karela, matthi, Thepla, pickle,etc., which shall not rot for the duration of the tour and packed ready to eat-Poha, Upma, Cup Noodles, etc.





Tea bags, sugar cubes, milk sachets, cardamom





Big water bottles with open mouths like a pitcher for carrying Manasarovar water





Meal replacement sachets





Disposable crockery for hygienic eating-paper crockery only



Pooja & Prasad Items

List no.

Item Details





Havan Samagri and book of Havan





Camphor cubes (Karpur) for burning wood (sufficient quantity due to strong winds and low oxygen) (This can be even inhaled for supply of oxygen)





Incense sticks





Zip Lock Bags for Masarovar Stones and General Use