Nearly everything you need to know about climbing the world’s tallest peak.


EVEREST – the name itself conjures up feats of strength and stories of both human triumph and tribulation. It is the glimmering goal of mountaineers around the world, standing as a beacon for both challenge and self-discovery. Many climbers begin the seemingly simple task of climbing mountains when, somewhere along the line, we read a book or watched a movie about the timeless adventure coming from the highest peak on this rocky planet.

The 5 stages outlined in The Road to Everest represent key building blocks an aspiring or even experienced climber should strongly consider if the ultimate goal is attempting to climb the tallest peak in the world. Everest may not be every climber’s dream summit, and for that person, these stages are a thorough outline for any high altitude summit etching the skyline in the mountain ranges of the world. It is important to keep in mind that these are only suggestions along a climbers path, and many other options for gaining experience and training exist out there.


A team of climbers on a crisp morning near the summit of Mt Everest

A group of Alpenglow Expedition’s climbers near the summit of the North Ridge on Mt Everest


Two sherpa back lit with the morning sun on Mt Everest

Two Sherpa move along fixed lines high up on Mt Everest

Timeline Along The Road to Everest

For the extremely focused individual with unlimited funds, time and energy, this road can be done in a year. More commonly, however, a project like this is done in 3-4 years on the fast end, and typically more than 5+ years. It’s not unusual for a climber to spend a decade or two methodically moving through skills practice while gaining invaluable experience at high altitude. It’s a fact of life that with more time spent perfecting a craft like climbing high altitude glaciated peaks, the better craftsman you become along the way. Apply some diligence, discipline, and passion and you’ll be rewarded with a shot at standing on top of the world alongside the world’s best team.


STAGE 1: The Basics

Enroll in a basic mountaineering course to learn the basics of snow travel, glacier travel, and start to scratch the surface of moving in the vertical realm. Learning the basics about mountain travel will build a strong foundation from which your mountaineering career will grow. 

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A climber on an acclimatization cycle during a bluebird day on Mt Everest


Descending from the summit of Kilimanjaro

Climbers descending above the fog on Kilimanjaro

STAGE 2: Introductory and Intermediate High Altitude Peaks

Take your fundamental skills learned in stage 1 and begin to apply them to high altitude peaks across the world. We recommend climbing 3 peaks in the introductory to intermediate realm before moving on in The Road to Everest. 

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STAGE 3: Expedition Style High Altitude Peaks

This step is all about altitude experience above 6000m while improving efficiency in building camps, and generally finding comfort existing at altitude.

Complete this stage and you’ll be one step closer to testing your mettle on an 8000m peak.

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An expedition team at high camp observing the fluted face of Alpamayo in Peru


Climbing fixed lines on Cho Oyu

A team of Alpenglow climbers moving up fixed lines on Cho Oyu

STAGE 4: Gain Technical Ice & Rock Climbing Experience

If you haven’t done so already on any of the previous stages, now is the time to work on the upper end of technical skills. Rock climbing, ice climbing, and low altitude alpine routes are all perfect candidates for this stage. 

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STAGE 5: Climb an 8000-meter Peak

Climb 1 of the following: Cho Oyu Rapid Ascent or Makalu. Alpenglow Expeditions strongly recommends at least one prior attempt on an 8000m peak OR extensive experience on many high altitude expedition style peaks to qualify for our group expeditions to Everest.

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A team celebrating on the summit of Cho Oyu

Summit celebrations after a hard-won summit push on Cho Oyu


Alpenglow guide Topo Mena can’t contain his enthusiasm above the North Col on Mt Everest

The Big Show: Mount Everest

Rising above all other mountain peaks and standing at 29,029’/8848m, Mt Everest, or Chomolongma in Tibetan, is the culmination of a dream. You’ve spent years acquiring the experience needed to be a critical player on an Everest climbing team by honing your craft on peaks across the world. You’re confident you have what it takes to take on the Big E. Time to head out and put all that hard earned experience to use.

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