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Everest Guiding and International Standards

Over the past 2 months, and really over the past 2 years, I have read numerous blogs about how to “fix” Everest. I’ve even written a couple of my own. I just read a great piece (unpublished) by accomplished mountaineer Brad Johnson (author of Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca – http://peaksandplaces.com/purchase_book.htm), who just summited Everest for the first time. He accurately wrote that this year, with perfect weather, many teams got away with what could be fatal mistakes up high. These mistakes were mostly caused by oversized teams and inexperienced guides, sherpa, and clients. Brad’s email reminded…

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Rope Fixing Team Summits Mt. Everest! 11:30 AM, May 10, 2013

We just got news from our phenom rope fixing sherpa team that they have reached the summit of Mt. Everest. It is a good day, with sun and moderate winds. This means the team has not only been able to summit and string ropes, but has also been improving anchors, and looking at ways to lessen traffic jams on the difficult sections of the route. It’s a great day! 

 

I remember rope-fixing to the summit with the rope-fixing Sherpa in 2010 and 2011, and it is incredible fun, as well as work. To be on the…

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Lhotse Face, Helis, and Progress

It’s 6:30 pm here in Camp 2, at 21,500 feet. Temperatures have been a bit cold for this time of season. That makes mornings and evenings a bit hard to leave the comforts of either a sleeping bag or our heated C2 hangout dome. And it means this will be a short blog post before we turn the heat and wifi off!

More importantly the cold temps are keeping icefall and Lhotse Face anchors and fixed ropes in excellent condition. Sherpa from many different teams keep remarking on the route’s great, and fast, condition. All the way from Base Camp…

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Everest, the Best and Worst

Everest, in all its intensity and boredom, to me often feels like a stimulant-enhanced version of “normal” life at home. This heightened intensity of emotional and physical existence is not necessarily a good thing, but I am sure this is why many of us return year after year. It is an addictive way to exist.

The last 24 hours here on Everest has been an example of this intensity, in its best and worst forms. It all began yesterday at 2:30 am. I woke to a perfect night for climbing – cold, clear weather, a big enough moon…

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Kathmandu: A Home Away From Home

After having led more than 30 expeditions and treks in Nepal over the past 15 years, I think I can finally claim Nepal as my second home. It’s not all the equipment I store here that makes it a home (although I do have 30 or so duffle bags and blue barrels of gear stashed in my friend’s houses here in Kathmandu and in the Khumbu). Nor is it my familiarity with the streets, markets, and alleyways that make up the maze of a city that is Kathmandu. Nepal is a home to me because of the friends and family…

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Full Interview with Alan Arnette

Alpenglow’s owner and lead guide, Adrian Ballinger, recently did an interview with Alan Arnette discussing Alpenglow’s spring plans on Everest and Lhotse, and our innovative rapid-ascent climbs. Here is the full interview:

Did you change your client experience requirements based on your 45 day program?

No. We hold to the same high standards (perhaps the highest in the industry) for both our traditional and express climbs. This includes a previous 8,000 meter peak expedition as well as at least 5 peaks over 19,000 feet, 30 days in crampons, a minimum of 3 days of steep ice climbing, 3 days…

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The Road to Everest, Part 2

Last week I wrote about what you should expect from your Mt. Everest guide service. Today’s blog is about you and what you can do to be ready to join an Everest expedition. Of course, there are many different ways to acquire the experience necessary, but when a climber has little or no experience and comes to me with a serious goal of summiting Mt. Everest, the following list would be my recommended path to success. It can be done over a couple of years, or for someone with the time and financial ability, in a little more than a…

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The Road to Everest, Part 1

December is the time of year when we finalize our Mt. Everest team for next spring. Many of my discussions with climbers at this time of year focus around whether they are “ready” for Mt. Everest. These conversations are really important. As well as the risks involved in climbing Everest, the cost and time commitment are huge considerations. Once you take into account all the common add-ons that most Everest guiding companies charge, along with equipment and travel, climbers are considering spending $70,000-$150,000 dollars, as well as taking up to 2 1/2 months away from their day-to-day lives. Climbers shouldn’t…

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Wrapping up the 2012 Himalayan Season

Sitting poolside at the Kathmandu Hyatt in November…. this is the time and place each year that the Alpenglow guides and staff wrap-up and debrief the Himalayan season. At least it is where we begin our defrosting! Then it’s off to Thailand for our “annual meeting”. This autumn season in Nepal has been one of my most memorable since I began climbing in Nepal in 1997. And, as often happens with memorable seasons, it has had both highs and lows. The dark side is well known already – on Manaslu, a mountain I have guided and summited four times, one…

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