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Mount Everest: The Routes

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everest guides, everest routes, everest guided trip, mount everest map, mount everest peak, where is mt everest?
Mount Everest Map

At 29,035’/8,848m above sea level, Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain the world and sits directly on the border between Tibet and Nepal. To Tibetans, the mountain is known as Chomolungma, meaning “Mother Goddess of the World”; to the Nepalese, it is Sagarmartha, meaning “The Head in the Great Blue Sky”. The mountain exudes a spiritual magnetism and, as such, has a storied climbing history. Through hundreds of expeditions over the last 100-odd years, two primary routes have been established from Everest base to summit: the South Col Route and the Northeast Ridge.

If you’re curious about what it takes to climb Mount Everest, check out The Road to Everest, where we lay out a natural progression of increasingly challenging expeditions that will adequately prepare you to climb to the Roof of the World.

The two main climbing routes on Mt. Everest.

The South Col Route of Everest

Teams start in Kathmandu and fly into Nepal’s Khumbu Valley, where they trek to South Side Base Camp of Everest (17,300’/5,273m) over a number of days to acclimatize. The Khumbu is incredibly beautiful and provides the opportunity to really immerse oneself in Sherpa culture, and the trek to base camp travels through several remote mountain locales along the way. South Side of Everest teams start the climb by moving through the Khumbu Icefall, up the Western Cwm, onto the Lhotse Face, then the South Col, the South Summit, up the Hillary Step, and finally to the summit. Typically, teams establish three camps on this route. These are Camp 2 at 21,500’/6,553m, Camp 3 at 23,500’/7,163m and High Camp at 26,300’/8,016m.

The Northeast Ridge Route of Everest

As the name implies, this route is on the north side of the mountain in Tibet. Alpenglow Expeditions has chosen to exclusively climb the Northeast ridge route on Everest because we feel it has less objective hazard (hazards beyond our control) and is less risky for our climbers, guides, and Sherpa. We begin our trip in Lhasa, Tibet and drive across the Tibetan Plateau to the North Side Everest Base Camp at 17,200’/5,243m. The drive spans three days, stopping in Shigatse and New Tingri (Shegar). From Shegar, we are able to drive directly into Base Camp. This approach allows us to better supply our base camp without needing to rely on transport by planes, porters, and yaks.

On Everest’s Northeast Ridge Route, teams typically establish an Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 21,000’/6,401m, followed by 3 primitive, high-altitude camps above that. The terrain between EBC (Everest Base Camp) and ABC (Advanced Base Camp) is flat and glaciated, covered in scree and gravel. It’s uniquely beautiful, walled in by large waves of glacial ice on the fringes of the dirt. The mellow grade of the terrain makes it easy to transport gear back and forth between EBC and ABC, so we’re able to stock ABC with a full cook tent, dining tent, sleeping tents, and a lounge. We also have solar power and satellite wifi to stay connected.

Above ABC is where the real climbing and fixed lines begin. We establish our first primitive camp at the North Col (the col between Everest and Changtse) at 23,000’/7,000m. Camp 2 is established at 25,590’/7,800m on the rocky ridge between the North Col and the NE Ridge. It’s a barren camp, with tiny platforms of piled rocks just big enough for our tents. Above, Camp 3 is our final high camp sitting at 27,231’/8,300m. It is on a broad, steep, rocky face just below the NE ridge and mostly devoid of snow. The slope is steep, making it is difficult to pile rocks high enough to create a level platform the full size of a tent. As a result, the platforms end up only being wide enough for about two thirds of a tent- the rest just hangs down the slope.

Interested in climbing Mount Everest?

For more information on our Mount Everest expedition and other international expeditions check out our website, and feel free to connect with Griffin Mims, our International Coordinator.

You can reach him at, or schedule a call with him by accessing his calendar Book a call with Griffin.

Alpenglow Expeditions offers guided climbing expeditions on 7 Continents, 15 Countries, 30+ Mountains, 1 Mission: To Inspire Adventurers Through Powerful Mountain Experiences.