An expedition to the summit of Mount Everest is both a literal walk in Sagarmartha National Park – one of the world’s most beautiful protected areas – and a rigorous adventure that will challenge your body and mind. The expedition consists of three distinct segments: First, the trek to Everest Base Camp. Second, our time in base camp as we complete acclimatization rotations on the mountain. Third, our summit ascent.
Journey to Base Camp: Our team assembles at the famous, 5-star Yak and Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu for an orientation and gear check. We then hop a twin-engine flight into Lukla (9,000 feet) with fantastic views of Mount Everest and surrounding peaks.
We spend the next 12 days hiking up the Khumbu Valley to Everest Base Camp at 17,600 feet. Along the way, we stay in some of the finest lodges available so that we can focus all of our energy on the approaching climb. We stroll through local bazaars and farming villages where yaks graze in terraced pastures. We cross a suspension bridge strung high above the Milk River and visit monasteries and a memorial to lost climbers. We make a critical acclimatization ascent of Lobuche East, a striking 20,075-foot pyramid of ice and rock. The following day we walk into base camp at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall.
Everest Base Camp and Acclimatization: We settle into base camp where each climber enjoys an individual, spacious sleeping tent, as well as the team’s communal dining, hangout and communication tents. All of the communal tents are heated. Team members will have Internet access.
We use a careful, methodical acclimatization process to minimize our susceptibility to altitude illness and maximize our strength on our summit ascent. We make three forays to successively higher altitudes on the mountain with plenty of rest at base camp in between. We establish Camp 1 at 19,500 feet just above the Khumbu Icefall. We situate Camp 2 on a moraine at 21,000 feet below Everest’s spectacular Southwest Face. Camp 3 is at 23,500 feet near the South Face of Lhotse.
In between acclimatization rotations, we practice mountaineering skills in base camp to ensure that you are prepared for the summit ascent. Topics will include fixed line and ladder techniques, oxygen systems and other skills.
Everest Summit: We start our summit ascent from Camp 2. From Camp 3, we begin sleeping and climbing with oxygen to ensure we are climbing as strongly and safely as possible as we make our way into the “Death Zone” above 8,000 feet. The route from Camp 4 leads up the Southeast Ridge across the Balcony at 27,500 and to the South Summit at 28,500 feet. A few hundred feet more and we reach the Hillary Step and then the main summit. We celebrate, take photos to document our achievement, and descend safely and efficiently to Camp 4, then back to base camp. We have just completed one of the most challenging climbs on earth and stood atop the greatest of the Seven Summits.