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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Mar 162016

LhotselongrouteSo many reasons to stop and only a few to keep going …

– The devastating earthquake in Nepal on April 25,  2015 took 9, 000 lives and destroyed millions of homes plus created havoc in Nepal’s tourism industry. It would be easy to stop going to Nepal …

– Only 1 of 244 compounds in 413 Alzheimer’s disease al trials was approved between 2002 and 2012. Researchers report that Alzheimer’s disease drug candidates have one of the highest failures rates of any disease area – 99.6%, compared with 81% for cancer. It would be easy to stop all research …

– Of my attempts on 8000 meter mountains, I’ve only summited 3 out 9 times, 33%. It would be easy to stop climbing …

So why keep trying with such dismal “results”?

A “failure” is when you try something very hard, don’t accomplish your goal
AND you don’t learn anything from it

   – Alan Arnette

Return to Nepal

Kami and Alan on K2At the end of March, I will return to Nepal, to meet up with my team from Phil Crampton’s Altitude Junkies. Then we’ll fly to Lukla to start the trek to Everest Base Camp where, once again, I will climb with Kami Sherpa. While everyone else attempts Everest, Kami and I will attempt the world’s fourth highest mountain, Lhotse at 27,940’/8516m. This will be my 12th trip to Nepal/Tibet since 1997.

There are three reasons I’m returning to Nepal:

  1. Show my personal support for Nepal Tourism and the Sherpa community
  2. Continue my life’s purpose of being an Alzheimer’s Advocate
  3. Support my passion of climbing the world’s highest peaks

A Personal Commitment

Alan holding a picture of Ida Arnette on the summit of Mt. ElbrusMy life was changed forever the day my mom, Ida her Alzheimer’s advancing, locked herself in her bedroom screaming in a voice I didn’t recognize and had never heard before for me to get out the house. She had no idea I was her 45 year son there to help.

I made a personal commitment that day to do everything I could to make a difference in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. I began to dedicate my mountain climbing to raising funds for research and awareness that AD has no cure, is always fatal, and is not a normal part of aging.

Thus far, thanks to many of you, we have reached 50 million people and raised $275,000 for Alzheimer’s research. But there is so much more we can do together.

Whether it’s research, caregiver support, al trials (80% of studies fail because too few people sign up) or education and awareness (60% of Americans believe Alzheimer’s is a normal part of aging and not a disease like cancer or diabetes); there much work to be done.

Project 8000

With my summits of Everest, K2 and Manaslu, I am on an ambitious program to summit all of the fourteen 8000 meter mountains over the next five years. Through my climbs, I hope to reach 100 million people, and raising $5 million for research and make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s

If I’m successful, I would become only the second American to summit all 14, following in the steps of Ed Viesturs (note: Ed did them all without supplemental oxygen and on private climbs, nothing like me at age 59). Also, I might be the oldest American to summit many of these peaks. Read more on Project 8000 including the schedule.


LhotselongrouteI feel like I have climbed Lhotse five times already, just not to the summit as it shares 80% of the same route used to summit Everest. I was there last year at Camp 2 when the earthquake hit Nepal halting most of the climbing across the Himalayas in 2015.

I will be climbing with Altitude Junkies and Phil Crampton whom I summited Manaslu and Alpamayo with over the past few years.  Also, I am thrilled beyond words to have Kami Sherpa (Ang Chhiring Sherpa – Pangboche) climb with me. I summited Everest in 2011 with Kami as well as K2 in 2014. Kami was injured while guiding on K2 in 2015 so he will not be carrying heavy loads but rather climb as a companion with me – my deep and since thanks to Phil for arranging this.

I will climb with supplemental oxygen supplied by Summit Oxygen which I used on Manaslu, and K2.

The Climb

Lhotse is known as a “technical” climb meaning you need to use protection, climbing gear and full on hands and feet to gain the summit.

The real crux of climbing Lhotse is the final 300 meters or last 1,000 feet. Once leaving the Camp 3 at 23,500 feet on the Lhotse Face, we will cross the Yellow Band and then turn right continuing straight up the Face instead of contouring across the Geneva Spur to the South Col as Kami and I did on my 2011 Everest summit climb. We will make camp at 25,750 feet or 7850 meters on the snow covered steep slopes of Lhotse. It is almost 2,200 feet to the summit on 50 to 60 degree slopes.
Leaving early the next morning, we will climb about 400 feet eventually reaching the bottom of the Lhotse Couloir, a narrow, rock filled gully that leads to the summit that is only 9 feet wide in some spots. This is the most challenging part of a Lhotse climb and will require every mountaineering skill I have obtained on my previous 37 expeditions. I will stem off the rocks, scramble and full on rock climb the final sections. Lhotse’s summit is a small rock block that is often covered in snow making it dangerous.

The return involves rappelling and arm rapping back to Camp 4 or Camp 2 where I will spend the night. The entire summit push will take 7 days. Thanks to Ellen Miller for the Lhotse photographs.

Everest 2016 Coverage

Many of you have gotten to know me through my annual coverage of the spring Everest season. Well, my plan is to report on all the Everest action but this time from Everest Base Camp and not from Colorado. The coverage will be slightly different in that I hope to do first hand interviews with interesting climbers and give first person reports on route conditions, and all the unexpected activity. I will do my to cover the north side climbing as well.

Follow and Join

OK, I’m pretty pumped about all this next climb in Project 8000 for Alzheimer’s. I hope to go to Dhaulagiri in the autumn of 2016 as my next climb thus climbing five of the eleven.

You can follow along at

I hope to hold that same picture of Ida Arnette on the summit of Lhotse as I have all the others. This is what is it all about …

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

P.S. I was interviewed by Chris Tomer on Denver’s KWGN Daybreak show at 8:45 am Mountain Time March 17, 2016.

Interview link

Comments on/from Facebook

  8 Responses to “Everest/Lhotse 2016: I’m Returning to Nepal and to Climb Lhotse … again”


    Silly Alan….YOU are the most interesting climber at base camp! Safe climbs, looking forward to following, as always.


    I cannot even imagine how beautiful the view is from any of those peaks. I have tears in my eyes when I see mountains at 8,000 feet. And then to climb there! It’s beyond my comprehension. Best of luck, Alan. I hope you have great weather and a great climb.


    Vaya con Dios buddy and say hi to Kami for me (you know how much I hate not going with you, particularly after last year’s events).


    You kept that quiet. Best of luck, both with the climb and Phil’s jokes.


    You’re an inspiration Alan!
    I hope that all goes well and I look forward to your updates. Thanks for a fantastic blog with information I have pored over on many occasions. Climb on! Anna.


    I’m glad that Kami has recovered enough to make another high-altitude climb.

    Best wishes to you both.


    Good Luck and Godspeed!


    I am so happy for you Alan. I will be following you and down Lhotse from the comfort of my armchair.

    Climb high but keep safe!

    ‘Mount Everest The British Story’