Cho Oyu - A Dream Come True
Skiing from the summit of Cho Oyu, the sixth-highest peak in the world, was a lifelong dream come true. I am so grateful I was able to go to the Himalayas for the first time with Alpenglow. Getting above 8000m is not easy and I was glad to have the support and resources of a US-based operator to make my dream a reality.
Untracked knee-deep powder days after a storm
The Alpenglow program gave me access to a whole mountain worth of incredible terrain right off the backside of Squaw. They have exclusive access to gorgeous north-facing slopes where we found untracked knee-deep powder days after a storm.
Kilimanjaro exceeded my expectations!
The Kilimanjaro trip with safari extension was amazing and exceeded my expectations. Having never hiked above 10k feet before, I was anxious about what to expect but from the moment our guide, Will Sperry, picked us up from the airport it was clear that extreme care had been taken by Alpenglow to ensure it was going to be a fantastic experience—and it was. With the knowledge and support of Will and team of African guides and staff, I was able to tackle the physical and mental challenge of successfully summiting the highest mountain in Africa. It was my first trip with Alpenglow and certainly won’t be my last. Bucket list checked!
New Rock Climbing Skills
I had a great day learning new rock climbing skills at Donner Summit with Alpenglow Expeditions guide Nolan! He was very knowledgeable, professional and patient with everyone in the group, while also making sure we were all having a great time! Looking forward to another trip with Alpenglow!
Ecuador Climbing School - Successful Summit
I joined a group on the June 2017 Ecuador climbing school trip that ended up successfully summiting Cayambe through rain and poor visibility. The weather was no match for our guides decades of experience keeping us safe on the mountain. He was knowledgeable, caring, and an all around great guy. Alpenglow clearly did their due diligence when planning the trip when it came to acclimatization and logistics. From meeting my guide at the airport to being dropped off at the airport everything went on without a hitch. While some guides rush clients up the mountain in a couple days, we climbed 2 previous smaller peaks earlier in the week to prepare our bodies. I can't stress enough how much of a difference that made, we by far had the best experience on the mountain that day. Many thanks to the Alpenglow team!
Women's Backcountry Ski ClinicThank you for an amazing weekend adventure backcountry skiing! We loved it. Orientation was excellent and helpful. We loved our guides who made the trip. Sydney was a natural leader - patient, competent, and kind. She put us all at ease and read the conditions of the terrain and of our group energy along the way. Her mountain experience and competence and natural leadership skills were real assets to our experience. She and Tailer worked well together - bookending our group and making sure we were in good shape. They both instructed us, teaching their tips and offering experienced advice and humor. We all felt so accomplished and happy at the end of our two day clinic. We are excited to book another trip with Alpenglow.Thank you!Anne
AIARE 1 – 2 Day Hybrid Avalanche Course
Mount Everest North Side Rapid Ascent™ Expedition
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Adrian Ballinger is one of the USA’s premier high-altitude mountain guides, and the only American guide to have both AMGA/IFMGA guide’s certification (one of roughly 150 in the USA) and more than a fifteen summits of 8,000 meter peaks (17 total, including 8 summits of Mt. Everest, 1 without supplemental oxygen, as well as an ascent of K2 without supplemental oxygen). As founder of Alpenglow Expeditions, Adrian has been guiding full-time for over twenty years and has led over 130 international climbing expeditions on 6 continents.
In 2011 he, along with 2 Sherpa partners, became the first people to summit three 8,000 meter peaks in only 3 weeks (Everest twice and Lhotse once). He is also the first person to ski Manaslu (the 8th tallest mountain in the world) from its summit, and the first American to successfully ski two 8,000-meter peaks. These personal successes are combined with Adrian’s passion for guiding and teaching others. Adrian has successfully led more than 100 clients to the summits of Everest, Lhotse (the 4th tallest mountain in world), Cho Oyu (6th tallest) and Manaslu (8th tallest).
Whether on skis, in rock shoes, or mountain boots, Adrian thrives on sharing the big mountains with friends and clients, and helping them to build their skills and experience to be successful on the world’s most beautiful mountains. In the coming seasons, Adrian plans on continuing to enjoy big-mountain skiing, climbing, and guiding in the Himalaya, South America, Europe, and of course closer to home in Olympic Valley, CA. Adrian is a sponsored athlete for Eddie Bauer, La Sportiva, Fischer, Hiball Energy, and Favre Leuba.
Learn more about Adrian at adrianballinger.com
Carla has been on the pursuit of her climbing dreams for most of her life, she started climbing as a teenager and her love to the mountains took her to the french Alps, where she studied geology and got a masters degree on geochemistry. In 2007 she decided to become a full time climber, which also put her the path of becoming a mountain guide. Carla has trained with and is pursuing UIAGM/IFMGA certification with the ASEGUIM (the Ecuadorian mountain guides association).
Carla has made multiple successful summits of Everest, including an ascent without the use of supplemental oxygen in 2016. She was the sixth women in history to accomplish this feat and the first Latin American woman to do so. She was also the first woman from the Americas to summit K2 without supplemental oxygen in 2019, and was the first woman to summit Everest and K2 in the same year..
In 2008 she did a biking trip from Ecuador to Argentina and had the opportunity to understand and learn more about her home: the Andes.
Today she splits her time between speaking about her climbing experiences all around the world, chasing new missions with her parter “Topo” and guiding big mountains.
Esteban “Topo” Mena
Topo’s formal name is Esteban Mena, but he goes by his nickname. Esteban Topo Mena is 28 years old and began his guiding career at 19, when he climbed Aconcagua’s South Face and became the youngest person to accomplish this difficult climb. Topo began guiding in Ecuador and Peru. In 2012, Topo summited Manaslu and in 2013, he summited Everest – both without using supplementary oxygen. Topo again summited Everest in 2016 while supporting his wonderful partner Carla as she successfully summited without supplemental oxygen. In 2018 Topo summited both Cho Oyu and Everest with clients in under 30 days. An incredible achievement that only the best guides in the word could attempt. He also has climbed challenging new routes in Kyrgyzstan and China and one of his climbs (Kyzyl Asker) has been nominated for the Piolet d’Or (as part of an Ecuadorian team).
Chad Peele has been guiding for over 15 years and works full time as a mountain guide. Based out of Ridgway Colorado, Chad spends his winters instructing and guiding on some of the best ice terrain the U.S. has to offer. Outside of Colorado he has traveled and guided extensively throughout North and South America with several trips to the Himalayas including multiple summits of both Everest and Ama Dablam. When not in the Mountains Chad does clothing and equipment design for Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent outdoor line.
Chad is an AMGA Rock & Alpine guide.
Jaime is Alpenglow Expeditions’ senior lead guide. A native Ecuadorian, Jaime has been guiding and climbing throughout South America and the world for twenty years. He has successfully led groups on challenging routes like the Southwest Ridge of Ama Dablam (Nepal), the Shield Route of Huascaran (Peru), the Polish Direct on Aconcagua (Argentina), and El Altar (Ecuador). We have been guiding, climbing, and traveling with Jaime since 1998 and the feedback from members is always the same: there is no better teammate. Whether climbing a tough ice route, humping a huge pack, or stuck in a storm, Jaime will keep you laughing, learning, and glad to be in the mountains. He is an ASEGUIM / IFMGA certified mountain guide.
co-owner / chief guide
Logan has been guiding professionally for over a decade in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan spends time in the office helping the team with the day-to-day operations of the business. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and daughter Maggie.
Ben has been in love with the mountains from a young age. He began hiking and skiing with his family and quickly decided he never wanted to stop. After finishing university in Portland, OR Ben moved back to Washington State and began guiding on Mt. Rainier and around the Cascades. For the next many years he followed the seasons, skiing, climbing and pursuing the art of human flight through out the world. He has made expeditions into both polar circles, skied first descents in Afghanistan and climbed throughout the Americas and Europe. When not looking forward to the next adventure he thoroughly enjoys roasting coffee, reading and taking his dog out for walks.
Ben is an IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide, Certified Level III Avalanche Professional, and Wilderness First Responder.
Starting at a very young age, Sean realized that solo adventures in mother nature are fun, but sharing the thrill of an adventure with friends and family was far more special and memorable. Beginning in the mid 2000’s Sean had a short but fun-filled guiding career based in San Francisco, California where he led clients on single pitch rock climbing days in Castle Rock State Park, or backpackers up to the high alpine areas of Tuolumne Meadows for multi-day excursions, and was even lucky enough to guide a day of surfing in Bolinas. If you ever get the chance, ask him about the time he was hired to search for pirate treasure on Bunny Wailer’s property in Jamaica. True story.
From 2007 to 2015 he spent 7.5 years working at Squaw Valley Ski Resort, getting a first hand glimpse at the inner workings of a large organization operating in the outdoor space. Sean’s first years in Tahoe were spent as a ticket sales employee skiing every day, before moving up the ranks and working in the marketing department for 5 years building premier music and sporting events while managing the resort’s corporate partnerships. Fun story – Sean brought Squaw Valley into the 21st century when he started their official Instagram channel back in 2011.
In November of 2017 he was able to join an Alpenglow Rapid Ascent team that climbed Cotopaxi in Ecuador. This was his first summit above 14,000′ and even his first time in crampons!
In May of 2021, Sean simultaneously took his AMGA single pitch instructor course while receiving a promotion to General Manager from his prior position of Director of Marketing and Sales.
Armando was born in 1968 and began climbing at the age of 16. From then on, nature, adventure, and wall climbing have been his passions. His conquests range from the Alps to the Andes and the big walls of North America and the Karakorum. He was part of the Spanish Expedition to K2 led by Araceli Segarra. He has made two attempts on Trango Tower in Pakistan and has climbed El Capitan five times. Armando has been guiding the Mexican volcanoes since 1992. He completed his professional thesis in alpine equipment, obtaining a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is the Rock Climbing Advisor of Federacion Mexicana de Deportes de Montaña y Escalada. With all that adventure, he still drives his car slower than his grandmother….
Dorji Sherpa is one of the most accomplished and well-respected Sherpa in Nepal and Alpenglow is proud to have him as our sirdar (head Sherpa). With twenty 8000 meter peak summits, including 16 on Everest, and at least 6 summits of Ama Dablam, Dorji has the experience and strength to help our teams to climb safely and successfully. He hails from the beautiful town of Phortse, where he has helped instruct at the Khumbu Climbing Center. Dorji is married with two children, whom many of our climbers and trekkers meet, while passing through Phortse on their way to Everest, Lhotse, and Ama.
Monica has been working as the doctor on expeditions to extreme altitude since 2007. She has been on more than 15 expeditions to some of the world’s highest peaks including Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Manaslu where her work has ranged from monitoring team members’ health throughout the expedition, treating locals and visitors for common illnesses, to treating frostbite and potentially fatal altitude related illnesses and offering diagnostic and therapeutic advice over the radio for unwell climbers being rescued above 8000m.
Over the years Monica has gained a huge amount of experience in this highly specialized field of medicine and she has embraced the challenges of providing the best possible health care in a hostile environment with pragmatism and skill. Combining the reality of the practical limitations imposed by the mountains with the provision of gold standard medical care is demanding but undoubtedly where Monica has made her niche.
Monica trained and worked her early years as a hospital doctor in Edinburgh and New Zealand. When not on expedition, Monica now divides her time between the UK- where she works part time in Emergency Medicine, her home life in Spain and personal climbing and skiing in Europe and beyond.
With notable first descents in the Alps, Tim Dobbins represents Alpenglow’s cutting edge guiding philosophy providing only the best guides for every trip and expedition.
Growing up in Oregon, Tim started out skiing at the young age of 4 years old. Tim grew up ski racing for 9 years before he moved on to backcountry skiing in Aspen, Colorado. He spent 4 years working as ski patrol at Snowmass Ski Resort.
Tim moved to Chamonix in the mid-’90s where he spent 6 seasons skiing and climbing while studying French. Tim says that Chamonix is where he really started learning how to ski tour, rock climb, ice climb and eventually began skiing the steepest lines he could find.
Examples of those steep lines were the North-East face of Les Courtes, Couloir Barbey from Aiguille D’Argentiere, Couloir Couturier from L’Aiguille Verte, Couloir du Diable on Mont Blanc du Tacul, East face of the Matterhorn and many, many others.
Tim has spent the last 10 years guiding and instructing in rock, ice, alpine, and skiing. He is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, and lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife Gisele, sweet daughter Manue and son Matisse.
If you are looking for an AMGA Splitboard guide, Jules is your man. He has been guiding for 10 years and spends his winters in Tahoe and summers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
Whether it’s a ski day or time to board, Jules enjoys the rewards that the backcountry experience provides. He is an AIARE course leader and has logged many adventures in mountains up and down the west coast learning about the avalanche phenomena. Jules is also an Ambassador Guide for Jones Snowboards.
In addition to guiding, Jules has worked as a climbing ranger at Mt Rainer and a mountaineer for the US Antarctic Program and has many stories to tell from his time on Search and Rescue in those locales.
Ben comes to guiding after being a professional ski patroller for several years. Three of those seasons were spent working as part of the snow safety department at Mt. Hood Meadows. Ben is now in his fourth winter season with Alpenglow Expeditions here in Squaw Valley. He is a professional member of the AMGA, has his AIARE level 3 certification and is also an AIARE Course Leader. After successful completion of the Aspirant ski course/exam he is an AMGA Assistant ski guide and will be participating in the AMGA Alpine Guide Course later this spring. Ben has spent three spring climbing seasons in Alaska volunteering with the National Park Service climbing rangers on Denali. He is a Board Member of the Denali Rescue Volunteers organization and will be back on Denali this coming May. He has skied in the Western US, Alaska, Canada, and two seasons in Chamonix & La Grave. Ben has a Master’s Degree in Anesthesia and he works as a CRNA in the summer. Ben lives here in the Tahoe area with his lovely wife Katie and their two dogs, Roscoe & Murdock.
Ben is an AMGA Assistant Ski Guide.
Aaron “ACO” Ollivier
A lifelong adventurer in both the mountains and business, Aaron Ollivier is a critical member of the Alpenglow team, advising the office on a daily basis and helping navigate through the folding terrain of a growing business. Aaron also provides wisdom on important subjects like how to have the most fun in life. An accomplished climber himself, ACO, as the team affectionately calls him has climbed high altitude mountains in 5 continents. While outdoor adventure and creating human bonds are his main passions in life, ACO is also the CEO and founder of Precision Concrete Cutting based in Provo, Utah. PCC has been recognized in Forbes list of top 400 franchises since 2012 and only continues to grow with Aaron’s passion and leadership. Aaron is the loving father of two young boys and is often at Alpenglow’s Lake Tahoe headquarters looking for the next powder day in the backcountry or sunny day of climbing on Donner Summit. If you’re lucky enough to catch him in person, make sure to give him a high five and be ready to tell him your 5 year plan… because he’ll ask.
A member of Squaw Valley’s pioneering founding family, Glen first ventured into the side and backcountry terrain surrounding Squaw Valley at the age of ten and has never looked back. His forays into more remote parts of the Sierra Nevada led to numerous first descents and pioneering ski traverses throughout the range. After exploring mountains from Antarctica to the North Pole, Greenland and Spitsbergen, Africa, to the Andes, The Alps to Scandinavia, Russia and China, The Himalaya, Central Asia, and Oceania, Glen always returns with a greater appreciation for his home in the “Range of Light”. Whether its descents on skis or climbing alpine rock Glen has an intimate knowledge of the entire range. Whether It’s a local side country jaunt, a Sierra East side adventure, a hut tour in the alps or exploring new first descents in Greenland or Antarctica, Africa or the Andes, he can take you there. He has an AIARE Level 3 Avalanche and Wilderness First Responder certifications and has been an active Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team member.
Ray is an IFMGA / AMGA Licensed Mountain Guide. His passion for the mountains ignited while growing up in Northern California, exploring the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges, followed by years honing his mountain skills in Colorado and Switzerland. As one of our core guides, Ray brings the same excitement to guiding and instructing in Lake Tahoe as skiing and alpine guiding in Europe to expeditions anywhere in the world. Sharing experiences, culture, and beautiful places with others blurs the line between work and play.
He is an AIARE Avalanche Course Leader and an American Avalanche Association professional member. Ray also works as a snow safety consultant for professional winter sport athletes and photographers.
He was a 4 x All American in Track and Field and the 250th American to ever run the Mile under 4:00, but now enjoys being an average trail jogger.
Dave’s love for outdoor challenge, adventure and fun began early in his life with Boy Scout backpacking and mountaineering trips in the Pacific Northwest.
In 1972 he started his lifelong pursuit and joy of rock climbing with his first climbs deep in the Sierra Nevada backcountry, which remains his favorite mountain range to share and enjoy.
In 1975, at age 17 he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail solo from Mexico to Canada and the following year hiked the Continental Divide Trail from Canada to Mexico, sealing his passion for grand adventure and determination to accomplish what he sets out to do.
Dave’s underlying philosophy of living life fully and approaching the world of adventure travel and alpinism with “confident uncertainty” has led him to the mountain ranges of the world where his climbing accomplishments are just a part of what he values. At the heart and soul of it all is the experience of interacting with, and learning from, the people, places and cultures along the way and sharing the challenge and beauty of wilderness with friends.
In addition to five decades of rock and alpine climbing which have included new routes and significant ascents throughout North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia, Dave is an accomplished ski mountaineer who hangs up his climbing shoes each winter in favor of backcountry alpine ski touring and hut to hut ski tours in the European Alps.
Dave brings 15 years of technical Rope Access and Rescue Training experience to the team. He has helped pioneer the use of Rope Access methods to complement traditional mountaineering based techniques to improve the safety and efficiency of ski lift, gondola, high angle and crevasse rescue procedures. He has been a SPRAT certified Rope Access Level 3 Technician since 2002.
His blend of outdoor skills, professionalism and sense of humor make for memorable trips, not to mention epic slide show presentations which he loves to share with others. Dave is the founder of a free community slideshow series in the Tahoe area that has been ongoing since 1988 and continues to inform, entertain and inspire everyone to seek out and accomplish their dreams and goals. You can learn more about the Alpenglow Winter Film Series here.
Jarad is a Tahoe native. A love for wild places is instilled in his nature. He has worked as a Rock Climbing Guide on Donner Summit for 8 years. Recently, he has found a new home in Joshua Tree, California, teaching rock climbing during the winter months. Climbing in Yosemite Valley honed his craft and forged his bond with the Big Stone. Multiple accents of El Cap, Half Dome, The Leaning Tower, and Washington Column (in a day) have led the way to Jarad’s success in the mountains.
Jarad, his lovely wife Dana, and their adorable puppy, Ruca embody the California spirit by chasing long days in the sun and living comfortably in balance with nature.
Jarad is an AMGA Certified Rock Guide and Single Pitch Instructor.