Makalu Rapid Ascent™

35 Days in Nepal / (Skill level: Advanced)

Price per person

  • Next Available: Apr 22, 2022 - May 26, 2022
    Sell out risk: High

About this trip

Alpenglow Expeditions is excited to offer this expedition to Makalu (27,766’ / 8463m), the fifth tallest mountain in the world. By utilizing Hypoxico tents for 6 weeks prior to departure and air support from Kathmandu to Advanced Base Camp, we are able to complete this typically 6-7 week expedition in just 35 days.


  • skill level


  • Duration

    35 Days

Makalu, a stunning 4-sided pyramid, stands isolated on the Nepali-Tibetan border, close to and easily visible from Mt. Everest and the Khumbu Valley, but far away from the common tourist treks and climbs.

For years, Makalu has seen few ascents and only non-commercial teams. The difficult and long trek into base camp was one reason for this. With the aid of pre-acclimatization and helicopters, we now avoid this trek and immediately access the stellar climbing on Makalu itself. From an Advanced Base Camp at the foot of Makalu’s glaciers, we progressively place camps and ascend on Makalu’s slopes. The other exciting aspect of climbing Makalu is the lack of crowds. While we expect to share the mountain with other teams, they will generally be small and strong. This gives us support on the mountain in establishing the route and ropes, but avoids any overcrowding common on other 8000-meter peaks. 

Rapid Ascent Approach

Alpenglow Expeditions’ Rapid Ascent™ climbs are an entirely new way to approach big-mountain expeditions. After 15 years of guiding expeditions all over the world, including more than a dozen 8,000-meter peak expeditions, we have refined and distilled the acclimatization and climbing process to maximize safety, health, success, and enjoyment. Please contact us to discuss exactly what these shorter climbs entail.

Expedition Leader  – Esteban “Topo” Mena

The Makalu Rapid Ascent Expedition is organized and led by IFMGA Guide, Esteban “Topo” Mena. Topo is an extremely talented high-altitude mountain guide, having made ten 8,000m summits. He has summited Everest four times, once without supplemental oxygen, and in 2019 he summited K2 alongside Alpenglow Expeditions Founder Adrian Ballinger and fellow Alpenglow guide Carla Perez. Topo has extensive experience organizing complicated logistics for high altitude teams, and has spent countless hours on the mountain rope-fixing with Sherpa, guiding members, and assisting and organizing rescues.

Alpenglow Expeditions offers a small team, low ratio, high-end approach to 8,000 meter peak guiding. We are also the leader in offering Rapid Ascent™ trips to 8,000 meter peaks, utilizing pre-acclimatization and more Sherpa and guide support than anyone else in the industry. This allows you to climb and summit Makalu quickly and safely.


The Alpenglow Difference

Rapid Ascent™ Strategy

First developed by Adrian Ballinger, Rapid Ascent™ is a unique approach to climbing big mountains across the world. This innovative program combines hypoxic training at home with precise logistics and small team sizes to reduce the overall time spent away from home, all while greatly increasing the chance of success on your international climbing expedition. By pre-acclimatizing for 6 weeks at home, we’re able to reduce the overall expedition time to 35 days.

1:4 maximum guide to climber ratio

All guides are IFMGA qualified or aspirants working towards finishing their certification. We guarantee our guides are the best in the business, drawing upon years spent guiding in the mountains to give you the best and safest experience possible.

3:2 Sherpa to climber ratio 

Having three Sherpa per every two climbers ensures we have the strength necessary to carry loads, set camps, and assist climbers. All of our Sherpa on Gasherbrum II have worked with us on many expeditions.

Expedition doctor on call 

Dr. Monica Piris, has been on fourteen 8,000-meter peak expeditions. She is in daily communication with our teams during the entirety of the expedition and is available for client consultation at any time.

Swiss weather forecasts

Having a quality forecast for Makalu maximizes both our safety and our summit success. These weather forecasts were originally developed for aircraft traveling at the altitudes that we climb at.

5 bottles of oxygen per climber

This allows us to use high-flow oxygen moving from C2 to C3 , sleeping at Camp 3, and our summit bid day. The use of supplemental oxygen maximizing safety and success. Our Sherpa also climb and sleep on oxygen, which means they have more strength to focus on you and your ascent.

High-quality food 

Imported and local foods of the highest quality, combined with a Western-trained cook staff; Alpenglow has the best food on the mountain, ensuring your strength and health throughout the expedition.

Unlimited WiFi internet in Base Camp 

We understand the modern need for technology, and this allows you to stay in touch with home and office via email, text message, and phone at no additional expense.

Route Description

Our climb of Makalu begins with a helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Chukkung Valley, where we will spend a few days acclimatizing before flying into Advanced Base Camp. The views and mountain scenery from the flight are incredible. Our use of helicopters avoids a difficult and wet low-altitude trek and allows us to immediately begin acclimatization and work on the mountain itself.

ABC is where we spend most of our time on Makalu, and our comfortable and sunny camp, perched on a rocky dome at 18,370’ / 5600m, is home to our full Alpenglow infrastructure – heated dining tents, fully stocked kitchen, heated communications and hangout tent, internet access, and much more. After a few days at ABC, we’ll start making our acclimatization rotations up the peak.

After some necessary rest and training days around ABC we begin to move on the mountain itself. From ABC we climb a rocky moraine and then continue onto low-angle glacier. Just before reaching Camp 1 (20,650’ / 6,300m) we ascend a steeper ice and snow wall with fixed lines. On this first rotation we spend at least a night in Camp 1, and make an acclimatization trip across easy glacier to Camp 2 (21,650’ / 6,600m). 

Our second acclimatization climb takes us for another night at Camp 1, and then across broad glaciated slopes to Camp 2. We spend a few nights Camp 2, and during that time climb to at least 23,000’ / 7000m on the steep slopes that lead to the Makalu La and Camp 3.

After sufficient acclimatization time, we descend to ABC for rest and to prepare for our summit push.

Our summit push begins with a climb directly to Camp 2. After a possible rest day, we put on oxygen and climb to the Makalu La and Camp 3 (24,600’ / 7500m). This is a long and steep climb, and utilizing supplemental oxygen makes it significantly easier and more comfortable. 

After a night utilizing oxygen at Camp 3 we make an easy traverse to Camp 4 (25,600’ / 7800m) on oxygen. We’ll pass through Camp 4 as we climb moderate glacial slopes to the French Couloir. The couloir is steep and entails crossing small rock bands interspersed with snow climbing. From the top of the couloir we follow the exposed ridge on rock past the false summit and to the top of the world’s fifth tallest mountain. The views from the summit are unparalleled, and range from Kanchenjunga in the east to Shishapangma in the west, with countless smaller peaks in between. 

From the summit we descend to Camp 2 where we spend the night, and then continue down to ABC to celebrate our summit, rest, and prepare for our return by helicopter and fixed-wing plane to Kathmandu and home. 



  • Technical Experience

    Must be able to climb moderate rock, ice, and snow terrain, often with an alpine pack on your back. You should be comfortable with camp craft in high-altitude camps, and able to perform at a high level for multiple days in a row at altitude. Prior ascents of multiple 6000 - 7000 meter peaks is required.

  • Altitude Experience

    Climbers must have substantial climbing experience to join our Makalu Expedition. Prior ascents of multiple 6000 - 7000 meter peaks is required. Climbers must be able to climb technical terrain with an alpine pack on their back. Climbers should also be comfortable with camp craft in high- altitude camps and be able to perform at a high level for multiple days in a row at altitude.

  • Fitness

    Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude climbing, and cannot be stressed enough. Regular, challenging exercise for many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed on big peaks. We highly recommend a structured training regime with a gym or personal trainer to assist you in preparing for climbing at altitude. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

    • Day 1 — Arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal

      Today you’ll arrive into Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel, and begin the process of getting over jet lag.

    • Day 2 — Explore Kathmandu

      After settling in from our travels, we explore some of Kathmandu’s most famous sites. These include Swayambhu (the Monkey Temple), Pashupati (Nepal’s largest Hindu temple), Boudhanath (Kathmandu’s most important Buddhist temple) and the old city’s original central square, Durbar. We also have our first team meeting, and organize our equipment.

    • Day 3 — Fly to Pheriche

      Today we’ll make our way into the Khumbu, taking a heli flight from Kathmandu to the village of Pheriche. After settling in, we’ll make a quick trek in the afternoon for some fitness and added acclimatization.

    • Day 4 — Trek to Chukkung

      We’ll continue working our way deeper into the mountains, trekking up the Chukkung Valley to the small village of Chukkung. At 15,400’, Chukkung will serve as our last stop before we fly to the Advanced Base Camp on Makalu. After finishing our trek, we’ll rest and prepare hike up Chukkung Ri (18,238’) in the morning.

    • Day 5 — Climb Chukkung Ri

      An early morning will see us trek to the summit of Chukkung Ri, a 18,238’ peak above the village of Chukkung. The non-technical peak will give us a chance to touch 18k and recover by sleeping low before heading to Makalu tomorrow. After finishing up the trek, we’ll pack and prepare for our Heli flight to Advanced Base Camp in the morning.

    • Day 6 — Fly to Advanced Base Camp

      The time has come to reach our objective. A quick and stunning Heli flight from Chukkung will see us arrive to ABC at 18,600’. We’ll spend the day settling in to our new home for the next 29 days.

    • Days 7-8 — Rest/Acclimatize in ABC

      We’ll spend the next two days acclimatizing while we take in the magnitude and beauty of the mountain that we are about to attempt.

    • Day 9 — Climb to Camp 1

      After completing our Puja Ceremony asking the mountain for permission to climb its slopes, we’ll start our first acclimatization rotation by making our way up to Camp 1 at 20,300’, 6,300m. After departing ABC, we make our way up a rocky moraine before reaching the start of the glacier. The glacier here is low-angle and makes for easy climbing.

      Climbing Makalu, however, is no easy feat, as proven by the steeper ice and snow wall that we’ll climb via fixed lines just before reaching C1. We’ll reach camp shortly after climbing the steep ice and snow section. It will take us 4-6 hours to climb the +1,700' to C1 today

    • Day 10 — Acclimatize in C1

      We’ll spend the day resting and acclimatizing in C1.

    • Day 11 — Touch C2 & Descend to ABC

      After spending two nights acclimatizing in C1, we’ll cross a gentle sloping glacier and touch Camp 2 at 21,650’ before descending back down to ABC, marking the end of our first acclimatization rotation. The day will see us climb +1,350' and descend nearly 3,000'.

    • Days 12-13 — Rest in ABC

      We’ll spend the next two days resting and preparing to make our second acclimatization rotation

    • Day 14 — Climb to C1

      Today we’ll start our second and final acclimatization rotation as we make our way back up the low angle glacier before once again climbing the steep ice and snow section to C1. We’ll move quicker this time around having made the same climb only a few days prior.

    • Day 15 — Climb to C2

      We’ll spend the day retracing our steps towards Camp 2, as we cross the broad glaciated slopes before reaching camp for the night at 21,650’.

    • Day 16 — Touch 23,300' & Descend to C1

      Following the age old technique of “climbing high and sleeping low”, today we’ll make our the high point of our acclimatization rotations before our final summit push. After a nights rest at C2, we’ll climb towards Makalu La and C3, climbing to at least 23,300’. Having reached 23,300’, we’ll turn around and descend to C1. We'll climb for 6-8 hours climbing +1,650' and descending over 3,000'.

    • Day 17 — Descend to ABC

      Today we’ll make the descent to ABC, wrapping up our final acclimatization rotation.

    • Days 18-21 — Rest in ABC/Prepare for Summit Bid

      We’ll spend the next four days resting and watching the weather as we prepare to start our bid for the summit of the 5th tallest peak in the world.

    • Day 22 — Climb to C1

      After three weeks, the time to start our journey to the summit of Makalu. We’ll start by climbing the now familiar gentle slopes to the steep ice section that protects C1. We’ll climb this steep section for a third and final time, as we arrive at the first of three camps on our way to the summit.

    • Day 23 — Climb to C2

      A quick and easy day will see us cross the glacier to C2 for the third time. Tomorrow we’ll push up to C3 and our new high point on the mountain.

    • Day 24 — Climb to C3

      Utilizing oxygen from here on out to maximize success and safety, we’ll continue onward up the mountain. An early morning will see us start climbing the steep snow slopes as we make the long climb to the Makalu La and C3. The will be a long and hard day, but spectacular views of the summit and the rest of our route will give us the stoke to push on to C4 in the morning.

    • Day 25 — Summit Bid

      Today is the day, your years of preparation and hard work are about to pay off. An early alpine start will see us climbing well before the sun rises, as we charge towards the summit of Makalu. We’ll make a quick traverse to Camp 4, and continue on as we climb moderate glacial slopes to the French Couloir. The couloir is steep and entails crossing small rock bands interspersed with snow climbing. From the top of the couloir we follow the exposed ridge on rock past the false summit and to the top of the world’s fifth tallest mountain.Standing at 27,766’, 8,463m, the views from the summit are unparalleled. Kanchenjunga rises in the east, Shishapangma in the west, and the mighty Everest to the Northwest.

      From the summit, we’ll descend back to C2. The summit day on Makalu is a big push, taking 14-18 hours and seeing us gain +3,300’ and lose another 6,000’.

    • Day 26 — Descend to ABC

      From C2, we’ll descend the gradual slopes to C1 and past the steep snow and ice section for the final time on our way back down to ABC. Once in ABC we’ll celebrate our successful summit of the 5th tallest peak in the world.

    • Day 27-32 — Extra Days

      These are extra days to use for weather delays, acclimatization, etc.

    • Day 33 — Pack Up Camp

      After celebrating our summit and getting some much needed rest, we'll spend the day preparing to catch our Heli out of camp tomorrow morning.

    • Day 34 — Fly to Kathmandu

      Today we’ll say our goodbyes to the slopes on Makalu, as we catch a helicopter ride from ABC back to Kathmandu, marking the end of our adventure on the 5th tallest peak in the world.

    • Day 35 — Fly Home

      Today you’ll depart Kathmandu for home.

      • Headwear and Eyewear

      • Hat

        Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim - the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding. Recommended: Alpenglow 5-Panel

      • Beanie

        A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer First Slouch Beanie

      • Balaclava

        We recommend a tight-fitting balaclava that is worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible, but is comfortable enough to wear for hours. Recommended: Patagonia Balaclava

      • Neck Gaiter (Buff)

        A multi purpose neck gator that can also be worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible and yet is still comfy. Recommended: Alpenglow Expeditions Buff

      • Sunglasses

        Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies). Recommended: Julbo Shield

      • Goggles

        These will be worn on stormy or windy days. Make sure you are getting a snug fit with lenses for bright sun. Ventilation and anti-fog features are desired. Recommended: Smith I/O MAG

      • Hands and Feet

      • Liner Gloves

        These gloves keep the inside of your mitts or other gloves from accumulating sweat on the inside and turning inside out when you take them off, as well as provide additional insulation. Recommended: Black Diamond Lightweight WoolTech Gloves

      • Lightweight Gloves

        All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Mountain Glove

      • Midweight Gloves

        These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, and insulated. These will be your main glove for the trip until summit days, or when it gets especially cold. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Glove

      • Heavyweight Gloves

        These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, with a removable fleece liner (so you can take the liner out and dry it at night). These gloves are used at higher altitude and are need to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired. Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Glove

      • Big Mountain Mittens

        These mittens should be warm and worn over either a liner glove or windstopper glove. Down mittens are not required. You should choose a pair that allows you to still operate locking carabiners. Recommended: Black Diamond Absolute Mitt

      • Liner Socks (optional)

        A super-thin wicking sock that repels moisture. Liner socks help to reduce the likelihood of blisters. The socks should be thin wool, nylon, or Capilene®. NO COTTON. Recommended: Ice Breaker Hike Liner Crew

      • Hiking Socks

        Your everyday sock, good for day hikes, trekking, and in- town. NO COTTON. Recommended: Patagonia Lightweight Merino Performance Crew Socks

      • Warm Socks

        A wool synthetic blend. Pure rag wool socks are not nearly as effective in wicking moisture or retaining their shape and reducing blisters. NO COTTON. Recommended: Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Crew Socks

      • Heated Socks

        These are optional, but highly recommended. Bring 2 sets of batteries. Hotronics boot heaters are another option instead of heated socks, but socks are preferred by our guides. Recommended: Sidas Sock Set V2 Uni S-1200

      • Hiking Shoes

        These light to mid-weight shoes are for every day use. The ideal shoe is comfortable to wear for multiple days and scrambles decently on rock. A Gore-tex lined shoe stays drier when hiking in rain or snow. Recommended: La Sportiva TX Guide

      • Base Camp Boots

        These snow boots are good for wearing around camp and should be comfortable when you slip into them after spending significant time in your mountain boots. Recommended: Sorel Caribou Boots

      • Mountaineering Boots (8,000m)

        Fully insulated, double boots with an integrated gaiter. These boots are essential for 8000 meter peaks. Recommended: La Sportiva Olympus Mons Cube

      • Mountaineering Boots (5,000m-6,000m)

        Should be warm single or double boots that have a stiff sole and accept a step-in crampon. The boots should be comfortable, have adequate wiggle room for your toes, and your heel should not lift more than 1/8th of an inch when walking. (If your feet run cold, we would recommend a double boot like the La Sportiva G2 Evo) Recommended: La Sportiva G5 Evo

      • Down Booties (optional)

        You’ll love having a warm, comfortable shoe to slip into when tent-bound. Recommended: Western Mountaineering Flash Down Booties

      • Upper Body Apparel

      • Lightweight Top

        Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days. The new wool blends are also an option. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution Short-Sleeve T-Shirt

      • Long Sleeve Base Layer

        A poly-pro mid-layer that you will never take off. Fitted, light- weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Midweight FreeDry® Merino Hybrid Baselayer 1/4-Zip

      • Warm Layer

        A polarguard or fleece jacket. This is your mid layer that will be worn over your baselayer most of the trip. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro 1/4 Zip or Patagonia R1 Jacket

      • Synthetic Top

        A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems and the Primaloft keeps you warm when wet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Stretch Reversible

      • Soft Shell Jacket

        While this item isn’t required, we know that those who don’t have one wish they did! More breathable than Gore-tex, these jackets block wind and light precipitation. A windshirt is an option for this layer. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Sandstone

      • Hard Shell Jacket

        A lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket WITH A HOOD that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have pit-zips and if you are using an old jacket, re-waterproof it. Recommended: Eddie Bauer BC Freshline Jacket

      • Down Parka (6-8,000 Meter Peaks)

        A puffy jacket with a hood that will keep you warm during the coldest of conditions. The higher the quality down, the better (800-fill is best). However, be sure the jacket is still lightweight. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Peak XV Down Jacket

      • Down Suit

        We HIGHLY recommend an 8000m insulated suit rather than separate top and bottom. Recommended:Eddie Bauer Peak XV Down Suit

      • Lower Body Apparel

      • Base Layer Bottoms

        Fitted and quick drying. This piece will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Recommended: SmartwoolMen's Intraknit™ Merino 250 Thermal Bottom

      • Expedition-weight Bottoms

        Fitted, light-weight and quick drying. The mid-weight will be a base- layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Bring multiple changes of layers. Recommended:Eddie Bauer Heavyweight Grid Fleece Baselayer Pants

      • Quick Dry Shorts

        Throw these on under other layers for when the sun begins to beat, or you have a sudden urge to jump in a glacial lake. Lightweight, durable and comfortable. NO COTTON. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Short

      • Soft Shell Pants

        You will spend most of your days in these pants. Choose Schoeller® or a soft-shell equivalent. Breathable + water-resistant. These pants should have an ankle zip so they will accommodate your mountain boot. Recommended:Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Alpine Pants

      • Hard Shell Pants

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended:Eddie Bauer BC Duraweave Alpine Pants

      • Insulated Pants

        Full-length side zippers are recommended, for throwing on top of all of your layers. This layer is required. Recommended: Black Diamond Stance Belay Pants

      • Expedition Equipment

      • Day Pack

        Mid-size pack for city days and trekking. Streamlined, neat and lightweight (10-20 liters). Recommended: Eddie Bauer Bacon 2.0 Pack

      • Climbing Pack: 50-60L

        Internal frame pack that is between 50 and 60 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Alpine Sisu 50L Pack or Black Diamond Mission 50 Pack

      • Hydration System (optional)

        Should carry 70-100 ounces. Must be durable and have a reliable closure system. Recommended: MSR Dromlite 2L with Hydration Tube

      • Duffle Bags

        2 Duffle Bags - At least one bag should be extremely durable, waterproof, and big - between 90L and 120L. You should feel comfortable leaving it in a puddle for several hours. Remember dry clothes are hot commodities in the mountains! Large enough to fit everything you own, plus what you anticipate buying. Two duffel bags are necessary to fit all your equipment for travel (we don't recommend checking your backpack, best is to put all gear and backpack into your duffle). Once in country, you can consolidate your gear into one duffel and your backpack. It's common to leave the second duffel with city clothes and other non-necessary items behind in a locked and secure location that your guide will arrange for you. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Maximus Duffel

      • Inflatable Sleeping Pad

        72 inch long inflatable pad required. Make sure you also purchase and bring a repair kit + bag for the sleeping pad. Recommended: NeoAir Xtherm

      • Sleeping Bag (-30°)

        Rated to -30º F to -40º F. Choose an 800+ Fill Premium Goose Down bag. Make certain that the sleeping bag is the right length. DON’T FORGET A COMPRESSION SACK FOR THE SLEEPING BAG. Many climbers also like a silk liner. Granite Gear Compression Sack is desired. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Kara Koram with Compression Sack

      • Headlamp

        L.E.D. headlamps are required. Make sure they have 3+ bulbs. Bring extra batteries. We highly recommend a tilting lamp. Recommended:Black Diamond Revolt 350

      • 1L Nalgene (2)

        Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles. Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth

      • Compressible 1-1.5L Bottle

        Wide mouth compressible 1-1.5 liter bottle. Recommended: Nalgene Flexible Cantene

      • Plastic Bowl, Mug and Spoon

        A lightweight and compact cookware setup. You'll want a plastic bowl, mug and spoon. Recommended Kit: MSR 2 Person Mess Kit

      • Lighters

        2 BIC Lighters

      • Coffee

        While Alpenglow provides hot drink options every morning, it can be nice to have your own on hand any time you need a boost. With hot water always readily available, having instant coffee packets can give you the energy you need after a long day in the mountains! Recommended: Alpine Start Original Blend Instant Coffee

      • Thermos

        A fully insulated thermos is recommended for warm drinks that help with comfort, hydration, and safety on cold days in the mountains.   Recommended: Thermos STAINLESS KING™ DRINK BOTTLE 24OZ

      • Technical Equipment

      • Helmet

        Easily adjustable lightweight helmet that fits with hat and Balaclava. Make sure this is a climbing-specific helmet. *Climbing helmets are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Petzl Meteor Helmet

      • Harness

        Must have belay loop, gear loops and adjustable leg loops so that you can layer up underneath it. Easy to pack, lightweight + comfortable. Recommended: Petzl Altitude *Harnesses are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first come, first serve basis.

      • Mountaineering Crampons

        Steel crampons with anti-balling plates are required (so that snow does not build-up in the base of your foot). Make sure that crampons have a heel bail. Crampons are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Black Diamond Sabertooth Crampons

      • General Mountaineering Axe

        One non-technical climbing axe. The tool should be approx. 55cm- 65cm long and comfortable to hold. Recommended: Petzl Summit

      • Locking Carabiner (2)

        Lightweight small carabiners are best. Recommended: Petzl Attache

      • Non-Locking Carabiner (2)

        Lightweight small carabiners are best, wire-gates are fine. Recommended: Petzl Spirit

      • Belay Device

        Light, easy to use + simple. Should have teeth/grooves for skinny ropes. Recommended: Petzl Reverso

      • Accessory Cord

        25’ of 6mm nylon accessory cord. This will be used to make prusiks and cordalettes. Recommended: Sterling Ropes

      • Ascender

        Should have large opening for gloved hands, and an easy thumb trigger. Recommended: Petzl Ascension

      • Avalanche Transceiver

        A digital transceiver that is simple to use or that you are extremely comfortable using. Recommended: Black Diamond Recon BT Avalanche Beacon

      • Miscellaneous Items

      • Miscellaneous Items

        -Passport (with visa, if necessary) -2 luggage locks (TSA compliant) -Non-cotton underwear -Wag bags, 1 per night camping as to leave no trace -Heavy duty garbage bags (at least 4) -Stuffsacks: assorted sizes, for organizing your clothes and gear -Sunscreen: SPF 30 (or higher) -Lip balm with SPF 15 (or higher) -Personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, Ibuprofen, Cough Drops, Moleskin, Pepto-bismol, Imodium, Personal Medications) -Toiletries -3-4lbs of Snack food (a variety of snack food, some whole food, some bars, some gels) -Hand Warmers -Face Mask -Hand Sanitizer -Knife

      • In Town Items

        - External Battery Packs for phones, and other electronics. Recommended: Anker PowerCore Speed 10000.

        - Ear Plugs

        - Journal/Cards/Games for personal entertainment

        - Language Phrase Book

        - Camera - Full size DSLRs not recommended as your summit camera.  Sony RX100 is a guide’s favorite. Remember extra SD cards and batteries.

        - Compact Binoculars

        - Sandals (Flip-Flops, Chacos or Tevas)

      • Optional Items

        - External Battery Packs for phones, and other electronics. Recommended: Anker PowerCore Speed 10000.

        - Travel wallet pouch (waist or neck)

        - Leatherman/ Swiss Army Knife (Recommended: Leatherman Juice C2)

        - Zip lock bags (large size, for organizing small items and waterproofing)

        - Pee Funnel (optional for women) One popular model is the Freshette.

        - Ear Plugs

        - Journal/Cards/Games for personal entertainment

        - Language Phrase Book

        - Camera - Full size DSLRs not recommended as your summit camera.  Sony RX100 is a guide’s favorite. Remember extra SD cards and batteries.

        - Compact Binoculars

        - Sandals (Flip-Flops, Chacos or Tevas)

      • Packing Note

        For your international flights we recommend that you pack all of your equipment in your two duffle bags. Do not simply pack your backpack (since its straps can be damaged by baggage handling machines). It is important to lock these bags for their trip. Depending on airport, you may be able to put your travel locks on after they have been searched. If not, lock the bag with zip ties. If the TSA cuts off the zip tie to search your bag, they will replace it. You will still need travel locks to lock your bags in the hotel and in Basecamp. Generally, you will take one duffle to Basecamp, and leave one in the hotel with your belongings for town.

    • What is your cancellation policy?

    • What sort of experience is needed for Makalu?

      Makalu is a long and difficult climb, and is thought of as more difficult than Cho Oyu and Gasherbrum II. In order to join our Makalu expedition, climbers must have experience on a 7,000 meter peak. Many climbers gain this experience by joining our expedition to Aconcagua or Ama Dablam.Climbers must have solid snow climbing experience, including the use of an ice axe, crampons, and fixed rope systems.

    • What is Rapid Ascent™?

      Rapid Ascent™ is a unique program developed by Alpenglow Expeditions that combines the relatively new application of hypoxic training with precise logistics and small team sizes to greatly increase the chances of success while reducing the overall time spent away from home on an international expedition.

    • What level of fitness is required?

      Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude climbing, and cannot be stressed enough. Regular, challenging exercise for many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed on big peaks. We highly recommend a structured training regime with a gym or personal trainer to assist you in preparing for climbing at altitude. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

    • Is it safe?

      While no outdoor adventure can be completely free of risk without losing the essence of the activity, hiring a professional guide is a fantastic way to manage and mitigate this risk. Activities like skiing and climbing have what we call “inherent risk”, which can be defined as a risk that cannot be completely mitigated by a professional. That is part of playing in the mountains, we encourage you to reach out to the office if you would like to discuss this in more detail.

    • Do I really need trip and rescue insurance?

      We require trip insurance and rescue insurance on all expeditions. Trip insurance covers issues that would cause you to cancel your trip in advance. Rescue insurance can help cover costs in the event that you decide to end your expedition early. We recommend Global Rescue for both types of insurance.

    • Are Covid vaccinations required?

      Yes. Our leadership has made the decision to require all participants to be vaccinated for international travel. This is a safety measure that we have made to not only protect our clients, but also to protect our guide team and the local people in which we interact with during our expeditions. We want to do our utmost to mitigate the risk of Covid disrupting our expeditions, and having our teams vaccinated has become an important part of our risk management system with international travel. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or issues regarding this decision, we’d be happy to hop on a call and discuss this further.

    • What all is included and excluded?

      The cost of your trip includes your land costs (excluding in-town meals). This includes:

      • Double occupancy lodging while in town, according to itinerary.
      • Meals on the mountain
      • Group camping and climbing equipment
      • Base camp and mountain infrastructure
      • Scheduled transportation while in the countries we are visiting
      • Certified guides
      • Covid testing arrangements for re-entry into home country (does not include cost of test)

      The cost of your trip does not include:

      • Flights to/from the city where the expedition begins
      • Additional nights in hotel outside of the itinerary, this includes but is not limited to extra hotel nights due to an early summit bid and early departure from the mountain.
      • Airport taxes
      • Visas
      • In-town meals
      • Immunizations
      • Tips for guides or local staff
      • Travel, rescue, or any other type of insurance
      • Hospitalization or evacuation costs
      • Single supplement room charges
      • Excess baggage charges
      • Alcohol
      • Antigen/PCR Covid test cost
      • Other personal expenses
      • Airport transportation for early arrival/late departures outside of scheduled itinerary
      • The costs of delays or changes to itinerary that are beyond the control of Alpenglow Expeditions or its agents are not included.

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).

Guide Certifications
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Carla Perez

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.

Guide Certifications

Adrian Ballinger

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 Squaw Valley, CA. Adrian is a sponsored athlete for Eddie Bauer, La Sportiva, Blizzard, Tecnica, Hiball Energy, and Favre Leuba.

Learn more about Adrian at adrianballinger.com

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Logan Talbott

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.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Chad Peele

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.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Alpine Guide
  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide

Jaime Avila

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.


Guide Certifications
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

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    Makalu Rapid Ascent™

Makalu Rapid Ascent™

Alpenglow Expeditions is excited to offer this expedition to Makalu (27,766’ / 8463m), the fifth tallest mountain in the world. By utilizing Hypoxico tents for 6 weeks prior to departure and air support from Kathmandu to Advanced Base Camp, we are able to complete this typically 6-7 week expedition in just 35 days.