Expedition Team Update From Kathmandu

Text and photos: Chad Peele

Day 1:

” Even though we are on the “Ama Dablam” expedition there is way more to experience than just the mountain!

Today our team rallied the chaotic bustling roads of Kathmandu and visited several historical temples seeing numerous amazing, odd and beautiful aspects of this culture rich city. Monkeys, holy men, cremation pyres and a kazillion residents stuffed inside tuk tuks and weaving thru on motor bikes. As much as I love the beauty of the Khumbu valley, Kathmandu is a city of wonder and excitement unmatched in my other travels.

Tomorrow (weather allowing!) Alpenglow’s team will head to the airport pre dawn and fly into the world famous Lukla airport where we will start our trek thru the Khumbu, making our way to Ama’s base camp. Wish us safe journeys! “


Day 2:   ” Safely in Lukla! After a pre dawn start this morning, we had an uneventful flight into Lukla (that’s a good thing btw!).

The trekking was casual, beautiful and so far the valley feels quiet and serene. After crossing numerous suspension bridges and villages, we arrived in Monjo where we are getting an early night sleep in preparation for our uphill hike into Namche Bazaar where we will rest and continue to enjoy the good life. #adventuredoneright ”


Interested in learning more? Click here for Ama Dablam or here for Everest Base Camp Trek. Click here to check out our website and for …

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2016 Ama Dablam and Everest Base Camp Expedition Has Commenced

Text and photos: Chad Peele

” It’s official! Alpenglow Expedition’s 2016 Ama Dablam program is now under way. My jetlag is slowly subsiding and all team members including our Everest Base Camp Trekkers have safely arrived in Kathmandu. Today I finalized our last trip logistics by online chatting with our Sirdir Dorji who is currently in his home village of Phortse (gotta love technology right?!). We talked weather, conditions and confirmed that the proper gear and teammates are in position for a smooth transition for our arrival into Lukla and Ama base camp. 

Personally, I’m super stoked to get back into the beautiful Khumbu and once again climb with Alpenglow’s amazing and talented Sherpa staff on one of the world’s most iconic peaks. Tomorrow our team will tour Kathmandu visiting several famous holy sites all the while dodging crazy drivers and wild monkeys! Stay tuned for more! Loving this place! ”









These are our only expeditions for these destinations scheduled in 2016, click here to learn more about upcoming Ama Dablam expeditions and here for upcoming Everest Base Camp Treks!


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Successful Summit for Cho Oyu Rapid Ascent and Lightning Ascent Teams

They did it! On October 1, 2016 in sunny and warm conditions both our Rapid Ascent and lightning ascent expedition teams summited Cho Oyu (26,906′ / 8200m). (Lightning ascent is Adrian Ballinger’s vision of summiting an 8,000m peak in two weeks door to door from the United States)

The Rapid Ascent team of Brooks Entwistle, Panuru Sherpa and Palden Sherpa was led by Zeb Blais and reached the top before our lightning ascent team did. They left Camp 3 (24,250′ / 7400m) in the dark with Adrian reporting that they summited Cho “super fast” and in good style. Zeb skied the upper slopes in marginal snow conditions while Brooks chose to down climb the upper steeps through the Yellow Band. Zeb continued to ski through the yellow band, and below at Camp 3 Brooks clicked in and skied with Zeb with a brief stop to rappel through an ice cliff.

After the technical crux of the yellow band and ice cliff, Zeb and Brooks continued down on skis and returned to Camp 1 (20,600’ / 6280m) where Adrian and Emily were waiting for them. Tonight they will rest in C1 and tomorrow will continue down to advanced base camp.

The lightning ascent team of Adrian Ballinger, Emily Harrington and Pasang Rinji Sherpa left from Camp 2 (23,290′ / 7100m) and summited Cho Oyu following our Rapid Ascent team in very warm and sunny conditions. Adrian reported that it was “the warmest day I’ve ever seen on an 8,000m peak” and that there were only 12 people on route. At the …

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Quick Update for Cho Oyu Rapid and Lightning Ascents

Photo: Emily Harrington


The Rapid Ascent Cho Oyu expedition team, with lead guide Zeb Blais, is moving to C3 (24,250′ / 7400m) today, while the “lightning ascent” expedition team, Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington, is moving to C2 (23,290′ / 7100m) today. Given the time difference it is currently Friday the 30th in Tibet (15 hours ahead of PST). The teams will get whatever rest they can Friday afternoon/evening and then do a summit push together Friday night. Which means by this time “tomorrow” in California (PST time zone) both teams will be at the summit, with their skis and ready for the descent.

The plan was to sleep at Camp 3 (C3) on Friday the 30th and go for their summit push on Saturday the 1st, but as with most plans they must remain flexible. Keep in mind Cho Oyu is the 6th tallest mountain in the world (26,906′ / 8200m) and weather is always a strong determining factor for climbers. Weather predictions can be helpful but they are never perfect. The teams have a weather window and they are planning to take advantage of this opportunity.


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Cho Oyu Rapid Ascent and “Lightning Ascent” Updates

Our Rapid Ascent Cho Oyu expedition team, led by Zeb Blais, is currently sleeping at C2 (23,290′ / 7100m) and our “lightning ascent” expedition team, Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington, is currently sleeping at C1 (20,600’ / 6280m). Adrian Ballinger, Alpenglow Expedition’s founder, reported this morning that the current focus is on overall weather but also on a weather window for September 30 – October 1. The weather has kept many teams at Camp 2 (C2), many of which were anticipating to summit on September 28 or 29. This is causing the teams to stack up up high as they are waiting for the best conditions for their summit push. There is currently strong wind at the summit of Cho Oyu.

The “lightning ascent” team, and most likely the Rapid Ascent team, will plan for their summit push to be on October 1. It is currently 11:00am PST on September 29 as we write this post, their timezone is 15 hours ahead, which makes it currently 2:00am on September 30 in Tibet. This means that when they wake up on the 30th both teams are planning to continue on up to C3 (24,250′ / 7400m). The plan is to sleep at C3 on September 30 and go for their summit push on October 1.

Adrian reported for Zeb’s team that on their first night at C2 they had a good night sleep, using only half a liter of oxygen, while most people would have used more oxygen to feel that good. We are hoping they have a second night of good sleep and continue …

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Cho Oyu Rapid Ascent Expedition Leaving ABC for C1


Photos: Zeb Blais

Our Rapid Ascent Cho Oyu expedition team is leaving advanced base camp (ABC) at 18,530’ / 5650m for Camp 1 (C1) at 20,600’ / 6280m. Lead guide, Zeb Blais, reported this morning that they’ve been discussing weather, snowpack and other climbing teams over the last couple days. There are a few other teams that are looking to push up in front of them, which should be good to have the route to themselves on their summit day and through technical sections that can be slow, such as the ice cliff above C1 around 22,500′ / 6850m. All of these elements add to the puzzle and also require ongoing monitoring and flexibility.


Zeb said they have confidence in the snowpack from tests he did to the lower pack during their rotation and also from what they heard yesterday from the rope fixing teams. The ropes have been fixed through the yellow band which is a major hurdle in getting to the summit. The fact these teams were able to get the ropes fixed without signs of instability in the snow pack is generally a good sign. Alpenglow’s industry leading forecasting looks good for their weather window. Stoke level is high!!


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Cho Oyu Rapid Ascent Update

Photo: Zeb Blais

Our Rapid Ascent Cho Oyu expedition team is back in advanced base camp (ABC) at 18,530’ / 5650m. Lead guide, Zeb Blais, reported this morning that they are feeling good after a few rotations but they are ready for some rest days before the final push. Zeb said they got in some more skiing yesterday before arriving in ABC. The skiing and snow conditions are variable with a little bit of everything. He said there has also been a variety of weather as well, including some wind, new snow, and more precipitation coming in the next couple days.

Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington have been in contact with Zeb and they are currently en route to Cho Oyu where they will meet up at ABC. They are all quite happy that there is a weather window in the forecast! Make sure to follow along on their expeditions via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat for even more updates and photos!


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Cho Oyu Expedition Updates

Our Rapid Ascent Cho Oyu expedition team is still feeling strong and currently enjoying a good night sleep at C1 (20,600’ / 6280m). Tomorrow they will continue on to C2 (23,290′ / 7100m) and cache skis, sleep one more night at C1, and then back down to advanced base camp (18,530’ / 5650m) the next day. We look forward to further updates and more photos when they reach ABC again.

On this morning’s check-in, Zeb reported that he and Brooks are feeling strong, have good appetites with no headaches or nausea. He said the weather has been a bit challenging but it looks like a weather window is coming. The snowpack is a little interesting with multiple crust/ facet combos, but Zeb feels pretty good about it after some digging. They avoided the steeper rollovers on yesterday’s ski and enjoyed some great turns coming down from the ice cliff.


In other news, we have another team headed to Cho Oyu… tomorrow! Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington are packed up and ready to depart for their two week climbing expedition on Cho Oyu. In case you haven’t heard these two are attempting to climb the sixth tallest mountain in the world in just two weeks, doorstep to doorstep, which is obviously both very exciting and challenging. They have have been preparing extensively for this endeavor at home. Check out their story here. Adrian and Emily depart for the mountain this Wednesday!


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Cho Oyu Expedition update from Advanced Base Camp

Photos: Zeb Blais

Our Rapid Ascent Cho Oyu expedition team is currently well situated and comfortable in advanced base camp (18,530’ / 5650m). Lead guide Zeb Blais has been reporting on a daily basis, relaying that everyone is feeling great. There has been some weather coming through and the forecast looks to be a bit challenging in the coming days showing more precipitation before dry but windy conditions will return.

Resting, organizing and heading up:

After getting to ABC they rested and spent the time sorting gear, setting up tents and getting comfortable. Yesterday they went for an acclimatization cycle and climbed up to c1 (20,600’ / 6280m), taxing their bodies so that they can recover lower and build the ever crucial red blood cells.

The team woke to 1 centimeter of new snow on the ground before heading out and the weather was overcast and snowing. They walked through miles of moraine and dirt covered glacier until they reached lake camp. There they were greeted with a 1000’ high scree slope that would deliver them to c1.

The trail proved to be difficult and steep and was challenging given the fact that this was the highest they have been so far. Camp 1 was completely obscured by cloud cover. During the descent the clouds parted a bit and they got some views of Pasang Llama Chuli peak and the glacier leading back to ABC, bringing some beauty to a difficult day.

Our amazing Sherpa team has been cranking …

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Cho Oyu Team Arrives in Tibet

Text and photos: Zeb Blais



Since the vast majority of my expedition shopping was completed in Kathmandu, I spent the day exploring Lhasa. I’m meeting Brooks, my ski client, at the Lhasa airport tomorrow. We’ll head straight to Shigatse from there, then Cho Oyu Base Camp on the 13th if all goes as planned.

The highlight of the day was dropping in on a random restaurant from one of the tiny side streets in old part of town. My Chinese is horrible (I can usually get a hello and thank you across) and I was lucky to stumble upon a restaurant with an English speaking owner. He informed me that his buildings were erected over three hundred years ago (old by most standards, but only mid range in Lhasa!).

The spicy chicken chili with naan bread was delicious and it was fun to enjoy a taste of the local spice a little off the beaten path.

But enough of this city stuff already- Let’s get to the mountains!

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