Mount Everest expedition
Our trip to climb Mount Everest provides a high level of support and guiding for this expedition to the highest peak in the world. Our teams generally only average five or six, and we work hard with clients to prepare them fully for this expedition. Our aim is to provide a safe and enjoyable mountain experience for those people who are ready to climb Mount Everest.
We have run expeditions to both the north and south sides of the mountain, and we have a solid team of experienced and qualified climbing Sherpas and base camp staff fully employed by Adventure Alternative Nepal. The Nepalese company is registered with the NMA and with TAAN and we have spent years investing in mountaineering training for the Sherpa mountain staff, plus we provide medical insurance and helicopter cover as standard for them (as per the latest recommendations from the Nepal Mountaineering Association). Gavin Bate and AA Nepal Director Pasang Tendi Sherpa have climbed together on Everest three times; their attitude towards high altitude expeditions is to ensure that the choices and preparation made before a trip like this will contribute to the success and safety during it. The Sherpa guides we employ all come from the solu Khumbu area, in particular the village of Khari Khola where Gavin has spent the large part of his adult life helping the community build schools, clinics and monasteries through the proceeds from his own Everest climbs. There is great friendship and loyalty between everyone, and this transposes to expedition life nicely.
Requirements to climb Everest
We offer a fully supported expedition for small climb teams with appropriate experience that must include either at least one 8000 metre peak or a good CV which includes 7000m peaks and a wide variety of multi-day mountain expeditions at high altitude. More information about requirements on our Fitness tab. We will accept people who can show a history of mountaineering and climbing which develops good mountaineering practice and skills, and will reflect an ability to act and judge well. We would look for people who don't create dependancy on the Sherpas but who have a high level of self-sufficiency and self-management. We also look for people who can take part in the running of the expedition, people who can do carries and help with the tents for example. We would aim for a level of equality between the Sherpa staff and the climbing members.
What we provide on our Everest climb
We can also provide expedition logistics and facilities for independent groups wishing to climb with or without supplementary oxygen or attempting other routes than the south east ridge. We have a big stock of equipment and a base camp team who all work together well and enjoy their job.
We can supply a western guide on our Everest trips. Gavin himself has previously always attended the Everest expeditions and the track record has been excellent. No accidents, no unpleasant incidents and a happy camp atmosphere. The cost clearly changes a lot when a western guide attends and therefore our base price is initially without. As the group forms and preferences are made then either Gavin or an IFMGA guide would be employed depending on numbers and ratios.
The ratio of Sherpa to climbing member is always 1:1, and the ratio of western guide to climbing member is 1:3. The acclimatisation plan is a tried and tested regime which has worked previously but has the flexibility to accommodate the expected bad weather periods and many variables that affect any summit attempt on an 8000 metre mountain. We offer Island Peak as an obvious warm up, plus Lobuche as a slightly harder option. The summit cycle of five or six days is preceded by several trips to sleep at Camp 2 but bottled oxygen is used first when sleeping at Camp 3. Clearly the objective danger of the Icefall and avalanche risk at Camp 1 cannot be avoided, but it can be mitigated by operating safe rules of travelling at night and using fixed lines correctly.
Preparation for an Everest climb
We provide a complete advisory service prior to the expedition for people with aspirations to attempt to climb Mount Everest. This includes a preliminary look at gaps in the CV, kit advice and managing a safe acclimatisation programme over a period of time in order to build up the necessary experience and test ability and metabolic response to being at high altitude. We do not want to meet our clients for the first time at Kathmandu airport, so we would anticipate meetings before the expedition and a chance to get out on the hill.
During preparation, we look at specific challenges facing the aspirant Everest climber, including using fixed lines, using supplementary oxygen, campcraft on ice and in exposed locations, maintaining good health at high altitude for long periods, mental preparation and teamwork. Despite being the highest, Everest is not the most difficult of the 8000 metre peaks, but it does present certain unique challenges which need to be addressed. Principal among these is the fact the final camp at just under 8000 metres puts a considerable strain on the body. Preparation and planning will be a big part of the journey for any member of our team.
Mount Everest itinerary
Mount Everest is a 10 week expedition in total, with 2 weeks trekking time and 8 weeks climbing period. Do not expect to go home after climbing Everest and step back into normal life though, it can take weeks and even months to recuperate fully, both physically and mentally.
We work to an agreed principle of reaching specific heights and sleeping at certain camps in a structured fashion over an eight week period having reached base camp, allowing for both stocking the camps and an optimal time for acclimatisation. The programme for climbing members is determined in large part by the schedule of stocking camps, which in turn is determined by weather and allowing for enough rest breaks. Any experienced climber will understand this policy and be comfortable fitting in with the flexibility.
Trek in and acclimatisation period on a climb of Everest
The first 10 days are spent trekking to Base Camp. There is then a period of rest and settling in. Team leaders will meet and discuss joint operations on issues like putting in the fixed lines. Teams also have to wait for the Icefall to be 'fixed' by the Sherpa teams whose job it is to put in the ladders and fixed lines. This can again take days.
The next month will be spent making a number of exploratory climbs to Camp 1 through the Khumbu Icefall, and then to Camp 2, where it is important to spend several nights. Weather and adaptation to the altitude will determine the exact days when the team climbs and rests. Carries of personal gear can be made while the Sherpas are putting in all the main equipment up to the high camps. During this time we also acclimatise by climbing another peak in the locality, such as Lobuche East or Island Peak.
There is at least one visit to Camp 3 for an overnight. It will be a good chance to test the body's response to very high altitude. For most people Camp 3 is the highest point they will reach without the use of bottled oxygen although some people opt to buy extra bottles to help getting to this point. After visiting Camp 3, there is generally a rest at Base Camp or lower, in preparation for the summit bid. We often go down to Deboche to see some grass and eat good food.
Summit period on Mount Everest
Once the decision has been made to attempt a summit in a period sometime around the middle two weeks of May (statistically this is fairly normal, but people have summited before and after), then the total summit cycle from base to summit and back is normally seven days which allows for a few nights at Camp 2 and then one night at Camp 3. The ascent to Camp 4 on the south col of Everest becomes part of the summit ascent itself, since normally teams arrive mid-afternoon and rest until about 9pm when fresh oxygen bottles are used to go up to the Balcony and join the south east ridge.
The summit morning can be beset with problems of overcrowding, in particular on the rocky step below the South Summit. Generally group order is determined by mutual agreement amongst the company guides but this is not always workable. It is not uncommon to find yourself moving very slowly behind a large group or a slow individual with no possibility to overtake. This leads to cold and excessive use of resources like oxygen. At the Balcony there is generally a change of bottles which gives an opportunity for a change in group order.
From the Balcony to the South Summit there is not much opportunity to overtake, although some groups will set up their own fixed lines to one side of the main one. It can be confusing and frustrating. Experience and a steady hand here will be very important. By sunrise we would want to be at or below the South Summit, with another two hours in hand to reach the top.
The route to the Hillary Step is narrow and exhilarating, and inevitably on a good weather day there will be a queue at the bottom of the step, and here there is no choice but to wait. The Step could be rocky or covered in snow, and it normally takes only about twenty minutes to negotiate. From there the final two hundred metres to the summit are an easy walk. The aim is to arrive mid morning leaving the whole of the rest of the day to descend back to Camp 4 and rest. Some strong teams wish to get down to Camp 3 but this is not acceptable if it leaves the Sherpas left high with a huge amount of work to do.
Coming back from Everest
A few days spent back at base camp helping to clear the camp is followed by a trek back to Lukla and a flight to Kathmandu. Some people choose to charter a helicopter, which is fine but we do feel that it is important to help the Sherpas clear the mountain and not just leave. Common courtesy and respect would suggest that everyone chips in with the break up of camp, it is far more enjoyable and should be seen as part of the trip and the experience. It takes a long time to process and assimilate an experience like this, there's really no need to rush straight to Kathmandu.
Mount Everest expedition cost from USD$48,000.00
Note that the price for this expedition is in dollars and the sterling figure we apply will change according to exchange rates. We use an average rate of 1.5 to come up with the figure of £28,000 sterling for our UK clients.
- Permit fee for Everest
- Khumbu Icefall Fee
- SPCC garbage fee & Base Camp garbage management
- Fixed line collective fee above base camp
- Himalayan Rescue Assn Base Camp Fund for medical emergencies.
- Liaison officer wages and allowance
- Climbing Sherpas (1:1) and Sherpa guide
- Cooks, kitchen boys and porters
- Staff helicopter rescue cover and medical insurance
- All meals on the trip
- Sleeping tents at base camp (1 per member)
- Toilet and shower tent
- Radio sets - base set and hand helds
- Generator and solar panels
- First aid kits
- Oxygen bottles (7 per person), plus TopOut mask and regulator per person
- Gas cylinders and gas stoves for cooking at high camps
- Fixed rope and snow bars (normally communally provided but we will also have our own)
- Mountain tents for the high camps (North Face VE25)
- BC and C2 mess tent and cooking equipment
- Cargo costs from KTM to Lukla
- Domestic Flights to Lukla for members and main staff
- Trek costs to Basecamp and equipment transport by yaks and porters
- Accommodation in our guesthouse in Kathmandu (if you prefer hotel accommodation as an upgrade click here)
- Weather reports
- Medical equipment, safety equipment, satellite phone
- International airfares to Kathmandu
- Personal Insurance
- Personal cargo costs to Nepal
- Personal equipment/climbing gear/vaccinations
- Nepal visa
- Satellite phone calls
- Additional oxygen bottles (USD$480 each)
- Costs associated with an expedition finishing early or you leaving an expedition early.
- Costs associated with extending a trip due to bad weather or other circumstances including the cost of extra nights accommodation
Insurance for Mount Everest
It is a requirement of the permit for all members to have adequate insurance to cover all eventualities up to the summit of Mount Everest. Few companies are willing to provide this but we can recommend some providers. It will be important to cover trip cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances, and rescue and repatriation from Base Camp which costs USD$10,000. Note that there are no official rescue operations above base camp.
Adventure Alternative Nepal is the company we have set up and invested in over the years, and there is a full complement of staff and equipment available for all major expeditions.
Mount Everest fitness
It is a requirement to be in a state of peak physical fitness for this expedition, and this normally requires a nine to six month lead-in time. An exercise regime which incorporates cardiac strength with training on all the major muscle groups, in particular the thighs and calfs, and the back. Regular hillwalking with a pack on is the best exercise, building up the miles over time and carrying larger packs to a maximum of 15 kilogrammes. The optimum schedule will be to use smaller weights with increased repetition, all the time checking recovery rates.
As important, if not more so, is the mental preparation for a trip like this. Climbing Mt Everest is a tough expedition on the mind, and also for the people you leave behind at home. Be prepared for a rollercoaster of emotions, long days of inactivity followed by short periods of extremely strenuous activity. Boredom, loneliness and missing home are common feelings, and it is impossible to maintain a continual feeling of elation and anticipation for so long. This is where maturity, patience and a love of just being in the mountains is so important. Every day is an experience and must be taken as just that, the summit will be a bonus and a process of cumulative good decision-making and luck.
We recommend that you slow down the intensive physical training about a month before the expedition, it would be a shame to have an accident like a strained muscle in the few weeks before the expedition. Then, when you arrive in Nepal, the trek in to base camp will establish a good level of mountain fitness, and then the first weeks climbing up to Camp 1 and Camp 2 will provide necessary acclimatisation and continued fitness.
Technical Difficulty to climb Everest
Snow and ice sections at angles over 45 degrees with steep steps with rock sections up to VD. Confident mountaineering skills including rock and ice climbing experience. Previous Alpine climbing or high altitude experience is required up to a minimum sustained level of Alpine AD / Scottish Grade 2/3 / Rock VD-S.
Training for altitude on a trip to Mount Everest
There is no better alternative to experience of being at altitude than to have done previous expeditions on high mountains and understand the very specific demands it makes on the body, and how your individual metabolism reacts and performs in a hypoxic atmosphere. Your ability to work at altitude will depend on having a good idea of how you yourself can deal with it, and this takes personal knowledge of other 8000 metre peaks or at least above 7000 metres. Clearly being physically fit enables the body to more easily convert oxygen to energy, which is important in the thin air at altitude. Mental acuity is greatly affected by being at altitude, so again personal experience is vital. Some people have reactions to foods at altitude, and some people suffer from mood swings and obviously lack of sleep which causes its own issues. All of this and more justifies the need to have adequate experience for a trip like this. We will help and advise on specific training routines, and many people do choose to go somewhere high before coming to Nepal so they are already acclimatised and mountain fit.
There are now commercial facilities available where it is now possible to engage in programmes of simulated altitude exposure. These can make some assessment of your own body's susceptibility and response to altitude effects and to provide a programme giving some degree of pre-acclimitisation and "altitude training".
Requirements for climbing Mount Everest with us
We will request a full climbing CV and evidence of key summits and a reference from a previous guide or co-climber from a previous expedition or two. We would prefer you to have at least one 8000 metre peak on the CV as part of a long and varied climbing history showing a sensible development through the sport. Experience of multi day trips at 7000 metres with a high degree of self-sufficiency is acceptable but not only the normal route on Mount Aconcagua which is not challenging enough in terms of personal skill sets.
People who are wanting to complete the Seven Summits cannot hope to be prepared for an expedition to Mount Everest with just the other six having been completed. We would look for a wider variety of peaks which are more challenging, although obviously Denali does provide a significantly more worth experience than the others. Multiple alpine seasons, Scottish winter routes for those in the UK (or elsewhere, well worth the journey..) and a build up through higher peaks, more technical routes and more committing expeditions. Everest should be a natural progression in any persons climbing history.
We'd like to make sure that our team are not using equipment for the very first time on their trip to climb Everest, although we acknowledge this is harder to achieve with bottled oxygen. Being highly competent on crampons is an obvious necessity, plus also being able to use an ice axe efficiently. Also putting in gear, making snow anchors, setting up belays, using a fixed line correctly and packing right are all essentials to being a responsible team member that everyone else can rely on.
We look for people who are used to the rigours of an expedition life at altitude. A lot of people get sick at base camp because of common ailments and knowing how to look after your health and general well being is key. Eating copious amounts of porridge at 4am in the morning is not to everyone's taste but on a trip like this keeping energy levels high is most important. Being efficient takes experience and we will look for this in the applicant, someone who can manage their personal climate effectively, move efficiently and not waste energy.
Plus of course we want a team of like-minded, open-minded generous individuals who know how to make a team work on a mountain and can contribute to the greater good of the expedition with personality and selflessness. Our job and the the job of the Sherpas will be easier and much more fun if there's a great atmosphere in camp and a group of motivated and experience people looking to achieve a great dream in life. We believe that climbing Mount Everest should be a great and wonderful challenge in life, one that deserves respect and demands humbleness. Our aim is to provide an expedition that will be something to be proud of, without compromising on safety or integrity.
Mount Everest personal kit list
A full detailed kit list will be issued to expedition members with suggestions on current manufacturers and models where required.
High altitude double boots for above Camp 2
Alpine boots for up to Camp 2
Base Camp boots
Crampons 12 point
Socks - thick woollen ones and hiking
Balaclava or buffs
White sunhat with neck cover
Goggles with 100% UV lens
Sunglasses with 100% UV lens
Windstopper gloves and fleece gloves
Down mitts - heavyweight and lightweight
Dermatone high altitude suncream
Thermals tops and bottoms, thin and thick
Gilet or light down jacket
Down jacket - heavy duty
Down trousers (or complete downsuit)
Windproof trousers and jacket, or salopettes
'Cows tail' with jumar and safety karabiner
Descender (figure of 8 easiest)
Selection screwgate karabiners
Selection long and short slings
90 litre rucksack
45 litre daysack
Large duffle bag
Many stuff sacks and dry bags
5 season down sleeping bag (above BC)
4 season down/synthetic sleeping bag (BC)
1 litre metal flasks
Nalgene water bottles with insulating cover
Headtorch with batteries, high quality (and spare headtorch)
Closed cell sleeping mat
Thermos food flask
Box of repair kits
Personal first aid kit - details provided
- All our expeditions are personally planned and led by Gavin Bate and the team of Sherpas in Nepal.
- Full time staff from our Nepali subsidiary company, Adventure Alternative Nepal, are experienced Everest climbers and logistics managers.
- Members of our own staff have climbed Everest many times and can give you direct advice and information from personal experience. Sherpa guides all have qualifications either from Nepalese climbing schools or at international standard (IFMGA).
- We have a long standing partnership with the local Nepali communities where we employ all our staff and also have been working with our charity Moving Mountains for several decades now.
- We provide personalised advice on training and preparation for an Everest expedition.
- We have a strict application procedure and a high level of entry requirement for members wishing to go on this trip (see Fitness tab)
- We use high quality Top Out breathing systems and oxygen bottles which have been bought from a reliable source and we do not skimp on safety equipment or communications equipment or the quality of our tents at high camps.
- We really work hard to create teams that will gel and work together well on a trip like this, taking into account experience, temperament and suitability.
- Our ethical approach to taking clients on Everest is to establish proper ground rules for recruitment and preparation and training, and not fall into the trap of taking anybody. We take our responsibilities to our clients, our staff and to the mountain community at base camp seriously and treat the mountain with respect.
Choose a date from the drop down box below and pay only £250 deposit to secure your place when you book now.
- Duration 10 weeks
- Numbers minimum 3
- Altitude 8848m
- Challenge Stenuous
- Comfort Tents
- Experience level High