Why Climb Everest With Alpine Ascents?
Our Reputation & History on Everest
We have been guiding the world's highest mountain since 1992. In 2013, our twelfth straight summit year, 39 climbers in two teams reached the summit of Everest (228 climbers in the past 12 years). All seven of our Lhotse traverse team members also summited.
Our reputation for leading successful climbs on Mt. Everest is unsurpassed. Of the few thousand people to stand atop Everest, well over 250 of them have been with an Alpine Ascents expedition. With a 20-plus year history of summit success, we've grown with the mountain, honing our logistics, technologies and adapting to maintain our mantra of providing quality, safe and successful expeditions. (Learn more about Everest: 2012 Outside Magazine Article on Everest Guiding)
We look to provide high quality at every leg of the journey, and work hard to improve every season. Be it experienced guides, veteran Sherpa, cook staff and menu plans, dining tent, oxygen amounts, Base Camp facilities or climber-to-guide ratios, we review every detail with great care. We encourage you to compare us (and our 2013 statistics) to other guide services.
Team Philosophy and Safety
Our history tells the story, as we always try to err on the conservative side when making decisions, The foundation of our goal - to be as safe as possible - is based on our team philosophy. Groups of climbers, guides and Sherpa working together to make decisions and assist when minimize risk for climbers. Whether adjusting oxygen tanks, looking for a lost glove or fixing broken sunglasses, the support of those groups can turn these potential nightmares on a mountain into manageable difficulties. We never felt that the idea of one person being solely linked to another for support gave a climber the best chances of a safe and successful expedition. In fact, we see many groups who strayed from this idea and returned to the concept of more supported expeditions.
The numbers speak for themselves, with over twenty years of success, even in years when other groups were unable to summit. For more about success on Everest see: "Why Climb With a Professional Mountain Guide".
"I want to thank you for an adventure of a lifetime. As always the staff and logistics of Alpine Ascents exceeded my expectations and I couldn't be more satisfied. A while back you mentioned win-win relationships. My win was a rewarding trip to Mt. Everest. AAI's win (and mine too) is my decision to climb Mt. Elbrus and Carstensz Pyramid to complete the seven summits and trek to Machu Picchu and probably Everest base camp with my wife. As if that wasn't enough, Joe has sold us on a yak tour in Alaska with another couple. Thanks again for everything."- Louis M.
Logistics That Make A Difference
Professional mountain guides: With Alpine Ascents, you will be led by professional guides. Our guides are experienced Everest and Himalayan veterans. Combined with our Sherpa support, this provides you with your best chance of reaching the top.
Sherpa staff: The most experienced climbing Sherpa on the mountain (most with between 10 and 17 summits), these climbing Sherpa are able to move our gear and supplies up and down the mountain so you don't have to. They are also great friends and comrades.
Group size: Alpine Ascents is committed to smaller team sizes. Expeditions with 30 to 50 people are hard to manage and offer little assistance to climbers.
Oxygen: Alpine Ascents provides more oxygen than any other guide service. Our systems are the lightest systems available. They weigh only 7 lbs. compared to the 16-plus pounds used by some companies.
One-to-one Sherpa/climber ratio on summit day: For a group size of 10, we usually have 16 Sherpa carrying loads on the mountain. On summit day, a Sherpa will be assigned to carry extra oxygen for you the entire day.
You are the climbing team: Alpine Ascents keeps our Base Camp manageable and well supported, and does not use it to support or house self-guided or partially guided teams. Dining tents, communication tents and showers have been a hallmark of our legendary Base Camp.
Rest day at High Camp: Alpine Ascents takes a rest day at high camp on the South Col, breathing supplemental oxygen and rebuilding our strength before summit day. Other companies climb from Camp III to the South Col (an exhausting day), reaching High Camp late in the afternoon, and a few hours later leave for the summit. We believe our extra day greatly increases summit success as well as reduces the likelihood of extreme exhaustion and the potential for accidents. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal states that 80% of the deaths on Everest happen on summit day or shortly thereafter. Marked fatigue, late summit times, and the tendency to fall behind companions are common among non-survivors.
Meals on the mountain: We prepare your meals in every camp and throughout the entire trip. Many companies require you to cook at different camps on the mountain. This is a laborious task that often requires several hours of work to melt snow and cook meals. (See Base Camp for more details.)
Medical facilities: We work with the Everest Base Camp Medical Center. For the last several years, we have contracted to provide you free visits to their doctors. In addition, our guides are Certified Wilderness First Responders and carry extensive medical kits on the mountain.
Weather forecasts: We contract with a private company that transmits the latest forecasts designed specifically for Everest. These forecasts allow us to choose the best summit days with much better accuracy, which increases summit success and safety.
Communications: We have the latest in satellite communications. Our dedicated communication center allows you to send emails and make phone calls to family, friends and for your business. 3G cell phones can now be used at Base Camp for cell phone and smart phone communication. We also have an extensive recharging facility for your personal electronic devices. In 2013, we provided wi-fi service at Base Camp.
Base Camp: Alpine Ascents has the best-equipped Base Camp on Everest. Heated dining tents, hot shower, personal sleeping tents and clean bathrooms help make your life comfortable. Food and drinks are always available between the three great meals our cooks will provide you. We have a diverse menu designed by an American chef, and much of our food is brought from the U.S., including specialty items such as smoked salmon and imported cheeses. This helps you to consume the large amount of calories needed to climb Everest. Our attention to food and its preparation on Everest and mountains around the world have led to very few gastrointestinal issues for our team members.
Base Camp manager: We also have a Full-Time Base camp manager to assist you with any needs that you may have.
Experience required for expedition members: We are looking for experienced climbers, for whom Everest is the next logical step in their climbing careers. Our team will be in top physical condition and ready to meet the extreme challenges Everest presents. It is important that your resumé includes previous high-altitude climbs and strong mountaineering skills. Climbs like Denali, Cho-Oyu, Aconcagua and Vinson are good prerequisites to an attempt on Everest. It is important that a team member be able to work well with others and be willing to commit to a group effort over several weeks. This team effort has increased summit success and it makes for a more enjoyable climb. You will be exposed to a completely different culture during the expedition, and as a member it is your responsibility to treat the people and their environment with respect. This ability is as important as your climbing skills.
Base Camp Support Trek
We also offer a support trek to Everest Base Camp for family and friends of team members
Alpine Ascents remains on the cutting edge of multimedia cybercast technology. For over the past fifteen years, we have webcast many of our expeditions from remote mountains around the world. Our Mt. Everest expeditions have been the highlight of these webcasts every year. Family, friends, and the general public can follow the team on its trek from Kathmandu to Base Camp. Once there, we establish a complete communications tent from which we track the team's progress up the mountain and on to the summit. We also provide access to email and communications for team members.
Alpine Ascents has a full gear department ready to assist with your climbing questions and preparations.
We have a full-time gear staff and a retail store. All Alpine Ascents climbers receive a discount on each purchase in our gear store.
There are many reasons to choose a particular guide service, but there are five main areas of concern that you should look at carefully:
- Safety Record
- Guides (Professional International Mountain Guides and Sherpa Staff)
- Logistics in-country
- Pre-Trip Planning
- Success Rate
In all five categories, Alpine Ascents ranks highest in the climbing industry. No other guide service has the safety record, quality of guides, finely honed programs, and customer service that we offer.
The Early Years
During our 1992 expedition, twelve people summitted and in 1993 eight people stood with us on top of the world. Our 1994 expedition was marked by ten successful summiters, with Peter Athans attaining the summit for his fourth time, a record for Western climbers at the time.
The 1996 season was marred by storms, and our team was at the forefront of numerous rescues, assisting endangered climbers from other expeditions. Lead guides Todd Burleson and Peter Athans climbed to 26,000 feet to rescue climbers, for which they were awarded the American Alpine Club's prestigious Sowles Award. Our team made a valiant second attempt at the summit, but harsh winds turned us back.
From 1997 to 1999, our guides were involved in high-altitude research; our team worked in conjunction with the Boston Museum of Science in the installation of GPS equipment designed to measure the increasing height of Everest. Our 2000 Everest expedition was certainly one of our finest teams, led by Vern Tejas and Willi Prittie, who extended our unsurpassed safety record.
The New Millenium
Seventeen team members reached the summit in 2002, and 2003 saw 14 members step atop the world. In 2004, 17 climbers - 100% of the guided climbers who left Base Camp - summitted.
In 2005, during one of the most difficult poor-weather years to date, 15 climbers reached the summit. In 2006, 13 climbers reached the top on May 20 and our 2007 team saw 21 climbers reach the top. Our 2008 team saw our biggest success to date, with 24 team members reaching the summit. In 2009, 21 members of our expedition summited. And 2010 saw 17 members reach the summit!
The Everest/Lhotse Traverse
In 2011, our tenth straight summit year, 16 team members reached the summit of Everest and three went on to climb Lhotse less than 24 hours later for the first time in history: Expedition leader and guide Garrett Madison, along with climber Tom Halliday and guide Michael Horst, continued on to the summit of Lhotse after returning to the South Col. These three climbers are the first people ever to stand on top of two 8,000-meter peaks in a 24-hour period.
In 2012, our eleventh straight summit year, 14 team members reached the summit of Everest (189 climbers in the past 11 years) and two of our team members also summitted Lhotse. The events of 2012 reaffirm our commitment and belief in guiding Everest with small climber-to-guide ratios and highly supported expeditions
By the Numbers
2013 - 39 Climbers to the summit (including 20 Sherpa team members)
Guides: Lakpa Rita Sherpa, Vern Tejas, Garrett Madison, Michael Horst, Ben Jones, Brien Sheedy.
7 climbers complete Everest/Lhotse traverse in less than 24 hours.
2012 - 14 Climbers to the summit (including 6 Sherpa team members)
Guides: Lakpa Rita Sherpa, Garrett Madison, Jose Luis Peralvo
2011 - 16 Climbers to the summit (including 6 Sherpa team members)
Guides: Lakpa Rita Sherpa, Garrett Madison, Michael Horst, Ben Jones.
4 climbers complete Everest/Lhotse traverse in less than 24 hours.
2010 - 17 Climbers to the summit (including 7 Sherpa team members)
Guides: Vern Tejas, Lakpa Rita Sherpa, Garrett Madison, Michael Horst.
2009 - 21 Climbers to the summit (including 10 Sherpa team members)
Guides: Vern Tejas, Lakpa Rita Sherpa, Garrett Madison, Michael Horst.
2008 - 24 Climbers to the summit (including 10 Sherpa team members)
Guides: Dave Morton, Vern Tejas, Lakpa Rita Sherpa, Melissa Arnot.
2007 - 21 Climbers to the summit (including 10 Sherpa team members)
Guides: Dave Morton, Vern Tejas, Lakpa Rita Sherpa, Amy Bullard.
2006 - 13 Climbers to the summit (including 5 Sherpa team members)
Guides: Vern Tejas, Lakpa Rita Sherpa, Dave Morton.
2005 - 15 Climbers to the summit (including 7 Sherpa team members).
Guides: Willi Prittie, Vernon Tejas, Lakpa Rita Sherpa Dave Morton and Jose Luis Peralvo.
2004 - 17 Climbers to the summit (including 8 Sherpa team members).
Guides: Vernon Tejas, Jim Williams, Lakpa Rita Sherpa and Dave Morton.
2003 - 14 Climbers to the summit (including 5 Sherpa team members).
Guides: Willi Prittie, Vernon Tejas, Luis Benitez and Lakpa Rita Sherpa.
50th Anniversary of the first ascent.
2002 - 17 Climbers to the summit (including 8 Sherpa team members).
Guides: Willi Prittie, Vernon Tejas, Mike Roberts and Jose Luis Peralvo.
2000 - Vernon Tejas, Lakpa Rita Sherpa, and Willi Prittie to South Summit (28,700ft) with team.
1999 - Pete Athans summited for the 6th time (most by any Westerner at the time).
1990-1998 Helped 39 climbers to the summit of Everest. Todd Burleson and Pete Athans receive Sowles award for Selfless Rescue (1996). Worked with Bradford Washburn in setting up laser altitude measurement systems on summit.
1990 Alpine Ascents International was established as one of the first Everest Guide services.