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20th Anniversary

A photographer stands on a ridge with a large Himalayan mountain behind him.

Celebrating 20 years of facilitating transformative experiences in the mountains both domestically and internationally.

The Beginning

Adrian Ballinger and Ian Boyer name Alpenglow Expeditions during a cold bivy on the side of Ranrapalca in Peru. Alpenglow gets founded in June and runs international expeditions while based out of Aspen, CO.

Tents sitting on a snowy slope during an expedition with Alpenglow Expeditions.
Client sitting on a ridge on Quitaraju in Peru with Alpenglow Expeditions

Alpenglow expands international operations

Alpenglow announces new expeditions in Peru, Ecuador, Tanzania, and Nepal.

Mountain Guide Jaime Avila becomes Alpenglow’s first co-guide.

New Expeditions Added

Alpenglow expands international operations, adding expeditions to Argentina, Bolivia, Russia, and throughout Europe.

Client kneels next to the summit marker on Peak Lenin during an Alpenglow Expeditions trip.
Alpenglow Expeditions team sits outside of a Mountain Experience tent in the Himalaya

Begin offering 8000m peaks in partnership with Himalayan Experience (Russell Brice)

Alpenglow clients on an 8000m peak, Cho Oyu, for the first time

Alpenglow expands offerings into Tibet, and additional expeditions in Nepal

Begin guiding Everest in partnership with Himalayan Experience

Adrian receives his IFMGA certification

Guides that have passed AMGA exams in all three disciplines: rock, alpine, and ski mountaineering obtain the title of American Mountain Guide and IFMGA mountain guide. This achievement is the highest level of credential attainable by a mountain guide and takes many years of full-time guiding and climbing to attain. There are currently only approximately 170 IFMGA certified guides in the USA and they represent the pinnacle of American mountain guiding.

Alpenglow moves office and base from Aspen, CO to North Lake Tahoe, CA

Our Guides
A client stands in from of Everest at North Col Camp during an Alpenglow Expeditions trip.
Adrian Ballinger on the summit of Mount Everest

Adrian summits Everest for first time

Adrian guides Aaron Ollivier on Manaslu in Nepal. Aaron quickly becomes a friend and trusted advisor.

Alpenglow hires its first office employee, Emily Turner.

The office wasn’t an office, it was being run out of AB’s condo.

Adrian offers to buy out Himalayan Experience

Aaron becomes partner of Alpenglow

Climber on Everest at dawn during an Alpenglow Expeditions guided climb.
Adrian Ballinger during the first ski descent of Manaslu

Adrian makes first complete ski descent of Manaslu

Ballinger Claims First Complete Ski Descent of Manaslu

“With cold but manageable conditions, I made the decision to try to get my skis on on the top and ski from there. Sergey descended to the plateau below (the false summit) where all past skis of the mountain have begun from. With the help of Namgil Sherpa, I made a platform just below the summit cornice, removed my overboots, and stepped into my Sportiva GT skis. It was a wild place to be perched on skis—a knife edge corniced ridge with 8,000 feet of air below me, leading back to basecamp in one direction and to Annapurna in the other. Conditions off the top were steep 55-degree terrain and almost ice, so I made the decision to be backed up with a rope. After a short sideslip and a few turns, I rejoined Sergey at the plateau, totally stoked and ready to ski. The turns off the plateau were hard work, with breakable crust mixed with sastrugi, and firm windswept steeps. I’ve never breathed so hard while making jump turns through these conditions.” –Adrian Ballinger for Powder Magazine

 

Three Weeks, Three Climbers, Three 8000-Meter Summits

“In the spring of 2011, local mountain guide Adrian Ballinger became the first person to summit three 8000-meter peaks within a three-week period. Adrian summited Mt. Everest (29,029 ft.) twice in two weeks, first while fixing ropes to the summit with an elite group of the world’s strongest Sherpa, and then again while guiding a group of climbers to the top of the world’s largest peak.With one week left in the season, Adrian, Phurba and Tashi again left basecamp to guide and summit Lhotse (27,940 ft.), Mt. Everest’s neighbor and the fourth highest mountain in the world. From deep within the Himalaya, this story is one for the climbing history books.” – Unofficial Networks

First Ski Descent Of Manaslu

Alpenglow runs industry’s first Rapid Ascent™ 8000m peak Expedition

Our Rapid Ascent™ Expedition of Makalu marked the first commercial use of pre-acclimatization with a hypoxic tent. Other companies have attempted to replicate it but with lesser results. Over the past decade, we’ve perfected our regimen, which combines cutting-edge hypoxic training techniques with precise logistics and small team sizes to reliably increase chances of summit success. Rapid Ascent™ teams spend 30 to 50% less time away from home and arrive at base camp well-rested, energized, and prepared to take full advantage of every weather window.

Rapid Ascent™

A big year of ‘firsts’ for the Alpenglow team on 8,000m peaks

Alpenglow runs the first Rapid Ascent™ Expedition to Everest

The Alpenglow team summits Everest in less than 30 days total in Nepal. It is the first time this has been done.

Esteban ‘Topo’ Mena becomes the youngest non-sherpa to summit Everest without supplemental O2 nor high-altitude porter support (age 23)

Alpenglow becomes the first American guide company to guide 8000m peak ski descents, with a successful summit and ski of Cho Oyu

Alpenglow celebrates 10 years in business

Logan Talbott joins Alpenglow as Director of Operations

Logan Talbott joins Alpenglow Expeditions as Director of Operations

Alpenglow moves Everest operations to North Side

Mount Everest North Side Expedition

Due to safety, sanitation, and overcrowding, Adrian chooses to move operations to the North Side of Everest for a cleaner and safer expedition for clients, guides, and sherpas alike.

California program founded

Alpenglow begins guiding rock climbing, backcountry skiing and teaching avalanche education in Lake Tahoe, CA.

Mount Everest Expedition

Alpenglow Guides Break records on Everest, K2, and Cho Oyu

Adrian and Emily Harrington summit and ski Cho Oyu on less than 2 weeks door-to-door from USA, the fastest an 8000-meter peak has ever been climbed.

“On May 20, Adrian Ballinger, owner and head guide of Alpenglow Expeditions, reached the summit of Mount Everest along with nine other members of his team—one other guide, five Sherpas, and three clients, including his wife and North Face athlete, Emily Harrington. What’s notable about Ballinger’s climb is that his team summited two 8,000-meter peaks, Everest and Cho Oyu, during a Himalayan trip that lasted only 23 days.” –Climbing.com

Alpenglow Guide Carla Perez Becomes the First Woman From the Americas to Climb Everest and K2 Without Supplemental Oxygen

“On July 24, 2019, when Ecuadorian climber Carla Perez stood on K2’s 28,251-foot summit, she became the first woman from the Americas to climb both K2 and Everest without supplemental oxygen. Perez has achieved what only three other women in the world have done—Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Italian Nives Meroi, and Brit Alison Hargreaves, who died on her way down from the summit of K2. A guide for Tahoe-based AlpenGlow Expeditions, Perez climbed Everest without supplemental oxygen in 2016 and summited on the same day as Melissa Arnot, from the United States, who also climbed without oxygen. Nearly 9,000 people have summited Everest, yet only seven have been women without supplemental oxygen.” –Men’s Journal

Alpenglow opens first public-facing office in Olympic Valley (no more working out of Adrian’s living room!)

Embark on the ultimate challenge and adventure with Alpenglow Expeditions on Mt. Everest, the world's tallest peak (29,032 feet/8,848 meters). Our exceptional approach and extensive expertise ensure the highest levels of safety and success. With operations on the North Side since 2015, we prioritize stability and security. Trust in our experienced Sherpa, guides, and support staff for an unparalleled climbing journey.
Adrian Ballinger, owner of Alpenglow Expeditions, stands on the summit of Everest after climbing without supplemental oxygen.

Adrian summits Everest without supplemental oxygen

“On May 27, Adrian Ballinger stood on the summit of Mount Everest — 29,029 feet — for the first time with just the air in his own lungs. He used no supplemental oxygen to help get him there. It’s a feat that less than 200 people in the world have ever achieved. Though Ballinger is a seasoned climber who’s summited Everest six times already, this was the first time he hadn’t relied on cans of O2 to get him there. The moment has been years in the making, with a painful failure last May. The 41-year-old was tantalizingly close to the summit without relying on supplemental oxygen, but was forced to turn back at he last second. To ensure this year went well, he underwent a complete nutrition and training overhaul. Compare this year’s “no O” success to last season’s letdown, and you get something unique: an alpine science experiment. What did it take to turn a veteran alpinist into an even fitter climbing machine?” –Men’s Journal

Logan Talbott receives his IFMGA certification

Palisades Tahoe Backcountry program opens

“Legendary Squaw Valley, California is home to some of the most jaw-dropping terrain in the country. From any vista point at Squaw, it’s clear that the rugged beauty of the Sierras continues well past the ski resort. Many a skier has dreamt of dipping into the incredible terrain that lay just outside the Squaw boundary… As you ride up Squaw’s skyscraping lifts, it’s hard not to imagine what that untouched powder (that lasts long after a storm) and world-class – just out of reach – region would ski like… Thanks to Alpenglow Expeditions, an international mountain guiding company based in Lake Tahoe, these epic areas are now accessible by Squaw Valley lift-accessed ski touring. These Squaw tours are available to Alpenglow Expeditions clients and Alpenglow Expeditions clients only.” –Snow Brains

Alpenglow moves into the Village at Palisades Tahoe (then Squaw Valley)

Tahoe Via Ferrata opens

Becoming one of the first Via Ferratas in the United States.

“Alpenglow Expeditions, a North Lake Tahoe area-based guide service, will open Tahoe’s only Via Ferrata, located on Tram Face at Squaw Valley Resort. Beginning October 1, Alpenglow Expeditions’ experienced team of AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) trained guides will take participants up the iconic rock face on the first completed route.” –Snow Industry News

Logan becomes an Alpenglow partner

Alpenglow begins guiding throughout the Sierra Nevada

From Tahoe south to Bishop, CA, Alpenglow now offers rock climbing, mountaineering, backcountry ski guiding, and AIARE courses.

Tahoe Via Ferrata
Climbers on a suspension bridge on the Tahoe Via Ferrata during the summer
Roxanne Vogel during her Lightning Ascent of Everest with Alpenglow Expeditions.

Alpenglow guides the first Lightning Ascent of Everest

Roxanne Vogel Achieves Lightning Ascent of Mt. Everest, Guided by Alpenglow Expeditions

“A new kind of Everest record now belongs to Roxanne Vogel, a GU sports nutritionist. She departed her coastal California home on May 10, summited the world’s highest peak on May 22, and returned to California on May 24. Roxanne Vogel, a nutrition and performance research manager at GU Energy Labs, just set a new world record climbing Everest. The 33-year-old San Diego native departed California on May 10, climbed the world’s highest peak via the North route from Tibet, then returned to California on May 24. No other climber has reached the mountain’s 29,029-foot summit in such a short window of time. Lydia Bradey of Alpenglow Expeditions guided Vogel’s climb. Vogel chose Bradey — the first woman to summit Everest without oxygen and a five-time Everest summit veteran — because she wanted to climb with a female guide.” –Gear Junkie

Adrian and Carla Perez Summit K2 Without Supplemental Oxygen

“Mountaineers Adrian Ballinger and Carla Perez reached the top of the world’s second-highest peak without supplemental oxygen. Breathtaking, a film from Eddie Bauer, chronicles what it took to make that happen.” –Outside

Guide Esteban ‘Topo’ Mena attempts to set a new route up Everest with Corey Richards

“Next month, Corey Richards and Esteban ‘Topo’ Mena will attempt to summit Everest along a route that has ‘never been touched by humans before.’ The world has not seen a new route up Earth’s highest peak in a decade. That could change this year if National Geographic photographer Cory Richards, of Colorado, and climbing partner Esteban “Topo” Mena, of Ecuador, attempt to summit Mt. Everest from a path no one has set foot on before.” –Gear Junkie

Alpenglow begins operating expeditions in Pakistan

Watch Adrian & Carla’s K2 Summit

COVID causes us to create our Hybrid AIARE program

During the 20/21 season, it only made sense to alter our Lake Tahoe avalanche education program. The hybrid online + field days itinerary worked well, and we have decided to keep it as an option for our AIARE 1 courses moving forward.

We invested in creating our very own AIARE 1 online format with videos, quizzes, and interactive classwork with the intention of maintaining the same learning outcomes while completely eliminating the need to spend extended periods of time in a confined classroom. Not only does our new hybrid AIARE course offer customized coursework with better, more in-depth content, but you’ll still get two full days in the field with your instructors. We’re excited to unveil this new format as we lead the way in innovative mountain guiding techniques.

Lake Tahoe Avalanche Education
aiare course in lake tahoe taught by professional mountain guides
Two clients follow Alpenglow Expeditions guide as they start their West Face climb of Mount Shasta

Alpenglow begins operating on Mount Shasta

One of the most common questions we get is this: how do I make the leap from the U.S. to an international expedition, like the Ecuador or Peru Climbing School? How do I prepare?

The answer: Mt. Shasta.

Located just over 4 hours north of Lake Tahoe, Mt. Shasta is a glaciated stratovolcano topping out at just over 14,000’. It looms high over the surrounding landscape, bursting over 7,000 vertical feet from base to summit. With plenty of vert, technical terrain, and moderate altitude, Mt. Shasta is the perfect stepping stone to go from local adventures to international expeditions.

 

Alpenglow also begins operating in South Lake Tahoe

with rock climbing, backcountry skiing, and avalanche education courses.

Mount Shasta As A Stepping Stone

Alpenglow Guides Conquer Makalu

Adrian Makes First Ski Descent of Makalu

“[A]lpinist Adrian Ballinger completed the first recorded ski descent from the true summit of 27,766-foot Makalu, the world’s fifth-highest mountain.

Ballinger, along with his climbing partners Dorji Sonam Sherpa and Pasang Sherpa, reached the peak’s summit on Monday at 9 A.M. amid whiteout conditions. They were the first team to reach Makalu’s summit this year, and they topped out after Dorji Sonam fixed ropes on the final exposed and technical ridge. Ballinger didn’t spend much time on top; after resting for ten minutes or so to snap a few photos, he climbed down the exposed ridge, past a handful of climbers making their way up, and then stepped into his skis and pointed them downhill.

In the steadily evolving game of high-altitude mountaineering, elite climbers are always looking for new ways to set records and push the limits of exploration. Ballinger believes that skiing the high peaks presents the ultimate challenge.” –Outside Magazine

 

Carla Perez & Topo Mena Summit Makalu Without Supplemental Oxygen

Alpenglow Guide “Carla Perez of Ecuador summited Makalu without supplementary O2. At her side were her partner Topo Mena, who also climbed no-O2, and Pemba Gelje Sherpa of Alpenglow.” –ExplorersWeb

Alpenglow begins guiding on Gasherbrum II

 

Watch Adrian’s Ski Descent of Makalu
Adrian Ballinger climbing up Makalu during his ski descent of Makalu
During our first expedition to Gasherbrum I, Alpenglow client, Evan Miller, became the youngest American to summit Gasherbrum I, and the youngest American to summit Gasherbrum I & Gasherbrum II within a week.

Alpenglow begins guiding on Gasherbrum I

During our first expedition to Gasherbrum I, Alpenglow client, Evan Miller, became the youngest American to summit Gasherbrum I, and the youngest American to summit Gasherbrum I & Gasherbrum II within a week.

Alpenglow guides 6000+ people climbing, skiing and trekking in 12 countries, on 6 continents

Evan’s double Gasherbrum summit

Celebrate 20 years with a 100% Success On Mount Everest

Alpenglow returns to Everest North Side after a 5-year hiatus.

“For the first time since the pandemic, China is allowing foreign climbers to access Mount Everest via Tibet.

Adrian Ballinger, who has summited Everest eight times, is one of the Western guides who prefers the Tibet route to the top of the world’s tallest mountain (from the north), as opposed to the more well-known Nepal route (from the south). This year, he will lead a group of climbers through his company, Alpenglow Expeditions.” –CNN

Mount Everest Expedition
Guide Carla Perez and client Matt Greving standing on the summit of Mount Everest in 2024