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Why Isn’t Alpenglow Guiding Everest in 2023?

It’s not because we don’t guide climbers on Mt. Everest. We do, and we’ve spent nearly two decades developing a unique approach to climbing the world’s tallest mountain. There are two main reasons you won’t see Alpenglow on Everest this season.

Objective Hazard

For the safety of our Sherpa, guides, and clients, we only guide Mt. Everest from the North Side in Tibet. After an avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall killed 16 Sherpa in 2014, Alpenglow leadership decided to no longer offer expeditions to the South Side of Everest. Alpenglow owner and founder, Adrian Ballinger, reflected after the accident: “Through this tragedy, the main question for me has been: Is it acceptable to expose our Sherpa to clear risk of death while working in the mountains? For that matter, is it okay to expose our Western guides and clients to the same risk?” Ultimately, Adrian decided that the risk is unacceptable. He was no longer willing to have his teams subject to the random, objective hazard that the icefall presents year after year. The Icefall, combined with overcrowding and poor regulations, made the South Side of Everest too dangerous. You can read more about the tragedy in 2014 and Adrian’s analysis of risk HERE. From 2015 onward, we’ve only climbed Everest from the North Side.

Tourist travel was allowed too late to run the 2023 season

Because we only climb from the North Side, we haven’t been able to return to Everest since the start of COVID, as China’s borders have been closed to tourist travel. Everest is one of our favorite peaks to climb and we’ve been keen to return, but we have stayed firm to our commitment to run quality Everest expeditions without exposing our teams to unacceptable risk.

When will Alpenglow return to the North Side?

China has now reopened to tourist travel, which has given us a green light on Cho Oyu (also climbed from Tibet) this Fall. On behalf of our entire staff, including our Sherpa team and logistics partners, we are beyond thrilled to be heading back to the objectively safer, better, flanks of Mount Everest in the Spring of 2024.

If you want to climb Everest from the North side, reach out to the Alpenglow team to reserve your spot on the team! You can email us at, or give our office a call at 877-873-5376.