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Jan 082018
Everest 2018: Another Everest Guide Leaves Nepal for China: Altitude Junkies

Phil Crampton’s Altitude Junkies has run Everest climbs from both Nepal and Tibet for 10 years and for 2018 he is making a radical change, returning to his roots. Phil began climbing Everest in 2001 thus is in a unique position to comment on the changing business of Everest plus the impact of recent crowds, government policies, and strategies used by other outfits to attract a wide range of climbers. Phil’s switch is the third guide company to leave Nepal for Tibet over the last several years. Is this the beginning of a movement indicating problems in Nepal or just continue reading

Everest: 4 Weeks, Unlimited Oxygen, $117,000

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Oct 172017
Everest: 4 Weeks, Unlimited Oxygen, $117,000

For several years, I have been writing about the bifurcation of the Everest guiding business. In other words, the separation between the low-end operators and the high-end is growing larger each season. Now as we began to think about 2018, it is clear that Nepali operators like Seven Summits Treks are making huge inroads into the guiding business based primarily on catering to the Chinese and Indian middle classes with prices under $30K,  lower than their direct competition. At the other end are Western companies like Alpenglow and Furtenbach around $100K price tags and long time operators like Alpine Ascents, continue reading

May 062017
Everest 2017: Catching up with Russell Brice

Russell Brice has one of the most recognized names associated with Everest. As I mentioned in an interview I did with Russ just prior to the season he came to notoriety on the Discovery Channel’s “Everest Beyond the Limits” series about 10 years ago. But few people know that Russ is a world-class climber in his own right. Born in New Zealand in 1952, he now lives in London. He started climbing as a young boy in New Zealand and soon found his way to the Himalayas and Alps. He has numerous attempts and summits on Everest and other 8000m peaks. In spite of continue reading

Apr 052017
Everest 2017: Climbing the North Side with Jon Gupta, an Interview

A lot of attention is given to the Nepal side of Everest. It has more people, the risks are promoted heavily by those guiding from the north and of course, it was the side that saw the first summit back in 1953. And the north side has it’s share of fans, some perhaps even rabid these days. But one small team this year is just a guide, his member and two Sherpas. This was the usual profile for years as the north side was less expensive, had a wild feel to it and, by many testimonials, is a harder climb than the south. continue reading

Mar 312017
Everest 2017: Interview with Jim Davidson

Those who have followed me most likely already know Jim Davidson.  Jim is well known as a professional speaking and his own survival struggle experience on Mt Rainier in 1992 that he chronicled in the New York Times best-selling book, The Ledge. I did a review and a Q&A with Jim back in 2011 when the book came out. We live in the same town in Colorado, climb together often and he probably saved my life this past February when a strong wind gust blew me off my feet on a Colorado mountain breaking my leg in four places. Jim was continue reading

Everest 2017: Adventure Consultant’s Guy Cotter on ‘Fixing Everest’

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Mar 242017
Everest 2017: Adventure Consultant's Guy Cotter on 'Fixing Everest'

As the guiding universe explodes with seemingly anybody and everybody jumping in, there are a handful of global companies that simply take care of business year in, year out and Adventure Consultants is one of the best. For close to two decades, Guy Cotter has been running the company with a strong philosophy of keeping it small and safe. Guy is not a figurehead but a true mountaineer. He has summited Everest four times as well as many other 8000 meter peaks and is returning for another attempt on Dhaulagiri this year while another AC team climbs Everest. I climbed with Guy or continue reading

Mar 202017
Everest 2017: After 14 Everest Expeditions, Why Altitude Junkies is Leaving?

Guide companies tend to come and go, especially on Everest, but there are a handful that have made a significant contribution to the industry and when they “go”, there is a good reason. I’ve known Phil Crampton since 2008 when he was instrumental in helping me recover from botched logistics on a Everest North side climb. We went to the South side that year and was waylaid by the Chinese antics related to the Olympic games. Anyway, in 2013 I summited Manaslu with Phil and team plus was on his Everest team in 2016 for my Lhotse attempt. When he told me a couple continue reading

Mar 132017
Everest 2017: Russell Brice "Old School" Prepares for Another Season

Russell Brice is a legend on Everest. He came to notoriety on the Discovery Channel’s “Everest Beyond the Limits” series about 10 years ago. But few people know that Russ is a world-class climber in his own right. Born in New Zealand in 1952, he now lives in London. He started climbing as a young boy in New Zealand and soon found his way to the Himalayas and Alps. Back in 2011, I sat down with Russ for a long conversation. Since then we have had many such opportunities to talk about his climbing experiences, Everest, trends and dangers including last year during my Lhotse attempt. continue reading

Mar 092017
Bill Burke: A Study in Tenacity - Over

Update: March 21, 2107 Bill and team experienced deep snow and brutal cold, similar to what Alex Txikon experienced on Everest a couple of weeks earlier.  He has an excellent write upon his blog  of the decision and his helicopter “mountain tour” near the summit of his mountain on his way out. In Bill’s words: I finally reached Dawa with my inReach Explorer satellite device and received the weather report. Mike Fagin’s report applied to conditions at 18,000 feet, which was the elevation of our Base Camp. He reported a deterioration of the weather over the next 10-days as the jet continue reading

Mar 062017
Everest 2017: Mountain Madness, the Quiet Comeback

If you say “Mountain Madness”, what comes to mind? Many people will say Scott Fisher and others may bring up Everest 1996. And while not wrong, they might be missing one of the quietest comeback stories in expedition guiding. Now under the leadership of Mark Gunlogson, MM is preparing a return to Everest in 2017 in addition to gearing up for other big mountain expeditions. Scott Fisher led the ill-fated team on Everest in 1996. While all of his team summited and survived, Fisher died on the way back down from the summit. Christine and Keith Boskoff bought MM in continue reading