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2014 Everest Expedition - Tibet
April-May-June -- Tibet -- standard NE ridge route
"It is not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves" - Hillary
Above, Makalu from near the First Step
We provide full guide-assisted support including all tents, all meals at BC and on the mountain, all oxygen, good walkie talkies, better than 1:1 sherpa ratio, connectivity to keep your sponsors and family happy and up to date, all managed by Jamie McGuinness who has summitted Everest four times previously, and ten other 8000m summits.
Most importantly we have a very good safety record, no deaths and only one case of frostbite in someone who refused to turn around, see our 8000m history. We also have a good summit record, everyone who was capable of summiting did (except 2011 due to weather); logistics were never the problem. We really understand all the altitude issues, and work as a team on the climb, have great meals and a clean kitchen. Jamie is a weather forecasting "guru" according to a dozen teams in the last 2 years. We are not the most expensive, or the most publicized, instead we just try to run good, low key expeditions.
The 2012 South side Everest season had real problems, "the mountain has been dangerously alive," said Freddie Wilkinson. The north side is not nearly as dangerous from a rock fall and avalanche point of view.
Current forecast by MeteoExploration - thanks!
The summit ridge; the Third Step is centre-right, the Second Step is only partially visible, centre-left - photo by Namgyal
Here is a 10 minute video made by Philippe Gatta on our 2007 Everest expedition.
Why go with us?
We have been safe and successful multiple times, providing the best possible summit success chance (no compromises) at a value price. Everything we have works, and works well. We have great radios with extra batteries and they even take AA batteries, so never run out. Our laptops work, we have power for charging cameras etc sorted out, and the best weather forecasts. We have consistent leadership and our sherpas are loyal, organized and honest, and have worked with Jamie many times on 8000m peaks, including Everest half a dozen times. We have good relations with all the administrative staff, and especially the liaison officers, and have a proven record of successful expeditions.
Summitting Everest later in May always safer. First, it is warmer, it is scary to think how many people get frostbite by summitting early, including in the big commercial expeditions. Second, if the weather has already been good then the zoo is over. Third, if the jet stream winds do not stop until very late in the season, we can still climb, we still have time and strength and have not been waiting forever. Occasionally expeditions have had to leave the mountain before they ever had a chance to mount a summit push.
The other big debate is about how long to spend on the expedition. This is a balance of taking enough time to get strong, but not deteriorate significantly, and has many tricks to it, we will discuss as part of the expedition.
1:1 climbing sherpa
In our normal expedition you carry your personal equipment between camps: sleeping bag, mattress/s, down suit, snacks, clothing while the sherpas carry the meals, gas, stoves, tents and oxygen. This split suits fit mountaineers. The team members and guide climb together between camps while the climbing sherpas stock the camps mostly separately. For the summit push the climbing sherpas, guide and team members climb together, with one sherpa assigned to each member for the summit climb, critical for safety. This is a good level of service, and suits most climbers.
Additional climbing sherpa and high flow oxygen
For extra security an additional climbing sherpa can be useful, along with extra oxygen. They can assist in carrying some of your personal gear between camps (generally carrying your sleeping bag and snacks) and climb with you all the time. Note that they don't necessarily trek with you when we head back to base camp as then they assist with getting your extra oxygen in place.
The extra oxygen allows you 8x 4 litre bottles, so you are able to start climbing from North Col (7000m) on oxygen. One climbing sherpa will climb with you to the summit for sure.
We are happy to handle film teams and certain other projects. We have separate western leaders available.
Want to see our Everest expedition on film?
Jamie was the climbing director for the Everest Peace Project's Everest expedition in 2006 and the resulting documentary, "Everest - a Climb for Peace" is definitely worth watching. See the Everest Peace Project website. We had rather more drama on that expedition than on any other to date.
What is included
We pick you up at the airport and provide a single hotel room so you can spread gear out. Because we provide all tents, oxygen, dehy meals on the mountain etc, you should be able to get to Kathmandu without extra freight charges.
We handle all the paperwork for the Chinese visa and all the Tibet travel and climbing permits.
Base Camp and ABC
At base camp we have a permanent kitchen with cook and helpers, large dining tent and smaller ones as required, radio contact with ABC and camps on the mountain, and internet. We provide 1 BC tent per member (a two-three person tent), three good meals a day and afternoon tea, plus all hot drinks and boiled water for drinking. At ABC we provide the same.
We have good solar power systems providing 12v, 115v and 230v, so you can charge all smart phone, digital cameras, video cameras, battery packs, tablets and laptops.
At base camp we provide free internet thorugh the mobile phone network.
All mountain tents and meals, gas and stoves are included. Fixed rope charges are included. The sherpas are responsible for stocking all the camps; carrying the oxygen, tents, gas and meals. They normally climb separately from the team until the summit push. The sherpas don't carry your personal gear (but you can pay extra for a personal sherpa).
We climb on the mountain mostly as a team or two with the guide and assistant guide(/s). You can climb up to North Col alone as well though.
We use Poisk oxygen and will have up to 5x 4 litre bottles available for each climber. We include sherpa oxygen separately.
With good internet we have access to a variety of weather reports, and we subscribe to paid weather forecasts too. Judging the weather is one of the most important issues surrounding climbing Everest. When not on 8000m peaks, Jamie has forecast for friend's expeditions on K2, the Gasherbrums, Manaslu, Everest, Dhaulagiri, Makalu, Shishapangma and Kanchenjunga with uniform praise "the single most valuable forecast".
We provide updates using our own website so regardless of whether you have your own or not your family and friends will know what is happening. You will be amazed at the level of interest. See our previous dispatches.
We have a comprehensive medical kit at BC and ABC. You should be prepared with a small personal med kit for on the mountain. Jamie is used to dealing with altitude issues and intestinal problems and other minor medical issues.
We have emergency oxygen at ABC and BC, plus full medical kits. If you have to leave the mountain early alone or as two people then there will be a charge of approx $800-1000. If you are a group of three or four then there is unlikely to be a charge but it may be a while before your baggage arrives in Kathmandu.
We remove all garbage from ABC to BC, and this includes toilet waste. This is then disposed of by the Chinese. We plan to remove toilet waste from at least North Col too.
Although we all travel in together, you can leave separately provided you are 3-4 climbers travelling together. There is a $25 per person visa separation fee (as we are on a group visa).
This is your choice. It is sometimes possible to get insurance for 8000m peaks thru your national alpine club; the BMC in the UK and American Alpine Club offer particularly good packages, or thru companies such as IHI, linked from the Contact us page. There is no reliable helicopter rescue possible in Tibet so normally evacuation is by Landcruiser to Kathmandu. There is one particularly good clinic in Kathmandu otherwise the nearest high standard hospital is Singapore or Bangkok. All our Nepali staff are insured.
Langtang trek warm up
If your fitness isn't as good as you would like then going for a trek prior to Everest helps. This could be trekking the south side of Everest (14-17 days actual trekking) but the issue is the flight out, and there is a chance that you could be delayed for several days, and if that does happen, it is a major problem. It is safer to plan a trek to Langtang, where the access is by road.
You are welcome to teahouse trek Langtang by yourself but it also makes sense to trek with one of the climbing sherpas, to get to know them, and they will help with the arrangements too. You simply pay them a daily wage ( US$25 split between however many of you go) and pay your own way in the lodges, so it is a real budget trip. I would suggest a trip of 10 days actual travelling and trekking, and that gives a couple of days up at the 4000m lodge village of Kyangjin, so day trips to higher altitudes are possible.
Everest is the highest mountain on the planet and despite some of the publicity it is not "easy" or even "straightforward". It is a very serious peak and bad judgment or even bad luck can be fatal up there. Even with the best companies, including us, the risk of frostbite / death is real.