Media & The Industry
"Of all the great guide services on Kilimanjaro, Alpine Ascents might be the best. Its success rate is close to 90 percent, and though its treks are longer and pricier, they avoid the jam-packed Marangu Route." - Outside Magazine, 2013
Alpine Ascents has been named one of "The Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure Magazine. We are extremely proud to be named the highest rated Mountain Guide Service. February 2009
Alpine Ascents has been named one of "The Best Outfitters On The Planet" by National Geographic Adventure Magazine. We are the only Mountaineering Company to receive a 100% Client Experience Rating. November 2007
"Meet the Best Teachers in the business." Outside Magazine.
Our Kilimanjaro Climb was named one of "The 25 Greatest Adventure Trips in the World. "And Chosen as One of the World's Best Hikes in May 2005 by National Geographic Adventure Magazine
Our Kilimanjaro climb was highlighted in The Houston Chronicle, September, 2014.
In addition to the recent recognition in Travel & Leisure and National Geographic Adventure, our Kilimanjaro expedition was selected as "The Millennium Climb" by Mens Journal and has been highlighted in the New York Times, MSNBC.com, Business Week and Blue Magazine.
Alpine Ascents is
"the premier way to
experience Mt. McKinley
with a guide service."
Outside Magazine June 2003.
"I'd been to Nepal before, but traveling with Alpine Ascents was a different trip altogether. The trek logistics were flawlessly organized, from Kathmandu to Base Camp (even the layovers in Bangkok) so I could concentrate on enjoying the countryside. Traveling with experienced guides like Todd and Vern opens doors that are closed to most visitors. Not only do those guys know the way, they know most of the people along the way, and the result is a cultural experience unmatched by anything I've experienced before. It's the way Himalayan travel should be." - Peter Potterfield, Author of High Himalaya and Classic Hikes Of The World.
"Climbing Mt. McKinley with Alpine Ascents transformed a cold, logistically complicated climb into a rewarding, simple, and even socially rewarding experience. The food was plentiful and nourishing and the climbing schedule was demanding but sensible. These guys have been up the mountain long enough to dial in what works. Overall, if you want a good shot at climbing a tough mountain, go with Alpine Ascents." -Joe Glickman, New York Times.
The Alpine Ascents Everest Climb & Everest Base Camp Trek were selected in 2004 by The Travel Channel for its List of "99 Things to Do Before You Die"
Alpine Ascents was selected by National Geographic for the film "Life and Death on Denali" featured on National Geographic Ultimate Explorer.
Our Elbrus Climb is Featured in In the Lonely Planet book, "Year of Adventures"
Our Aconcagua Expedition was featured in Men's Journal, August, 2005.
Our India Tour was featured in National Geographic Adventure, Oct 2005.
"Finally, there are the much-quoted $65,000 slots, with a couple of high-profile outfitters. I've gotten to know one of them, Alpine Ascents, quite well here at base camp, and have to admit, if I could afford it, I'd probably go for it. Cynics would argue that I'm saying this because I've gobbled up so much of Alpine Ascent's tea cake up here, but for a climber, to be able to climb with mountaineering legends like Vern Tejas or Willi Prittie is an experience akin to painting with Picasso or golfing with Palmer. In some cases, if you can afford it, 65 grand is not an overwhelming price to climb with the best. Now if you'll excuse me, I think Alpine Ascents is serving tea." Finn Olaf Jones - Discover.com
Our Mexico Volcanoes Expedition was featured in Men's Journal, Spring 2005.
In addition to being a primary media resource, Alpine Ascents and our Climbers and Guides have been featured in most major publications and media outlets including: CNN, MSNBC, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, Nightline, 20/20, The Travel Channel, Fox News, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today, Time, Newsweek, Forbes, Blue Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Outside Magazine, Climbing Magazine, Rock & Ice, Men's Journal, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and hundreds of local news organizations and affiliates around the world.
From Around The Internet
Billy B. 5/5
I have had the pleasure to climb and trek with Alpine Ascents on severals occassions ,including Kilimanjaro, Peru, the Cascades and Alaska . Every trip has been first class- including guides, accomodations, food and general logistics. They set the gold standard for any climbing experience whether domestic or international. I would not consider using any other company for any climb or trek. The guides and office support staff go out of their way to make your trip a success and safe experience. Billy B.
Cleve M. 5/5
I have been a client of Alpine Ascents for years and finished the Seven Summits with them. I have the highest regard for their safety record and the competence of their well trained guides. The success record for Alpine Ascents stands unrivaled. I have witnessed some tense situations with some of their guides and have never been surprised or disappointed by the resolution of the problem. True professionals. For the best gear, the best food and best chance at making a safe summit I recommend Alpine Ascents every time!
Lisa C. 5/5
Alpine Ascents is the best there is in mountaineering. The guides are excellent teachers, caring leaders and strong motivators. I've climbed with Alpine Ascents over and over, and even during the rare times a summit isn't possible due to weather or conditions, I've always walked away a better climber for the next time. I've climbed domestic and international peaks and their professionalism is top notch. On Mt. Rainier they serve up the best meals on the mountain! I've been affiliated with a mountain climbing charity for 10 years (fhcrc.org/climb) and Alpine Ascents has donated thousands of dollars and hours benefitting cancer research. I can truly say I've never had a complaint. If you want to climb a mountain - you don't need to look any further
Have done many trips with AAI and have had a wonderful experience on all of them, started with Kilimanjaro five years ago and followed by their North Cascades 6 day training course, then Rainier…with more than 10 different guides and all were top notch! We did the Emmons route on Rainier and it was challenging weather, but all eight clients made it to the summit. We ate much better than the other groups and with a guide ratio of 1 to 2, it was never uncomfortable for anyone. These climbs were followed by the other Seven Summits with AAI, all successful…on the first try. This would never have happened with any other guide company! I have always found them to have the highest professional standards, without exception, on all these climbs. Things fall through the cracks with all the guiding companies from time to time, after all, these are not walks in a park, but their cracks are minimal compared to other companies that I have personally witnessed. I feel very privileged to have hooked up with them and achieved things I never thought possible. If you want to climb, these are the guys!!!
I have been climbing with AAI since 2006. On my first ever climb, we all reached the summit of Mt. Baker thanks to great guiding by AAI. Since then, I've had safe, successful climbs of the Mexican Volcanoes, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and Mt. Olympus. The guides are first rate and really made sure that we had a great experience. I would (and do) recommend them to my friends and anyone looking for a great climbing experience
AAI took me from a novice climber to someone who can confidently climb anywhere. The summits are great, but the best part of the climbs is the experience of working with their guides who are knowledgeable, experienced and a great deal of fun. As with many outdoor adventures, especially ones involving diverse groups, there are many challenges. AAI does a great job of addressing these and making it all work. Looking forward to many more climbs with AAI!
I've climbed Rainier and Kilimanjaro with AAI and had a fabulous experience both times. The guides were professional, experienced, attentive and well prepared to handle all of the details of our climb. My experience on Kili was exceptional and the guides and porters made it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our group. Special shout out to John Hauf for being an amazing guide on our 1 week Kili climb, as well as Gordon and the AAI staff for their exceptional guide support for the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer!
I have climbed with AAI five times over the past four years-Rainier, Baker, Volcanoes of Mexico, Kilimanjaro, and Aconcagua. (Previously, I had climbed Rainier twice with another guide service.) AAI's guides are extremely professional and experienced. Safety always comes first, but the guides also know how to have fun. Had many laughs on Kili! I've reached the summit on every trip except the one to Aconcagua, where the weather simply didn't cooperate. I would never travel with anyone else! Now I'm off to Everest Base Camp/Island Peak with them this spring.
I have been on 6 trips with Alpine Ascents, including mountaineering school, domestic, and international climbs. I have used other guide services in the US, and I wouldn't climb again with anyone other than AAI. Mountain climbing is a dangerous and difficult activity, and the guides and staff are by far the most experienced and safety conscious I have seen anywhere in the world. I have always had a positive experience with the company, even when things don't go perfectly according to plan (and when you're traveling to remote mountain areas, things will not go perfectly and according to plan). What makes AAI an industry leader is their ability to professionally and responsibly handle difficult situations. I have always had good relationships with the office staff, but for me, what really makes them the superior guide service is how they treat their clients when they are in very challenging situations like being violently ill at 15,000ft., days away from civilization, a doctor, or pharmacy. Some guides will abandon clients in favor of progressing those who are strong enough to move forward or will leave them with someone who can't speak their language or assist them in any way, but when this happened to me and others I know, the Alpine Ascents crew went out of their way to get me healthy, cared for, and to a safe location. I can not recommend them highly enough. Mountaineering is about more than summiting, and no company embraces that philosophy better than Alpine Ascents.
I've been climbing for 7 years now, tackled my very first mountain, Mt Baker, with AAI and have been on 2 other trips with them. It was miserable for hours on Mt Baker, with rain and cold and our guides were the best, making us stay warm and dry in our tents, while they delivered hot beverages and a hot breakfast! The weather lifted, they put us through snow school and we enjoyed a spectacular, sunrise summit the following morning! Then I went on Mt Rainier with AAI - did not get to summit on this trip, because of weather. We were all dressed and ready to go, but our AAI guides suggested we wait out the cold rain a bit - after 7 hours they said there was nothing to do but pack it in. Smart choice, since we learned later that another group choose to "brave" the weather, but didn't get very far at all, when they had to turn back with a hypothermic climber. Better to be safe than sorry! And then I went with AAI to Mexico, to climb Iztaccíhuatl and Pico de Orizaba! My guides again were fantastic and I still put this trip and these two summits as the most spectacular of the 7 summits I've personally made - thanks to the skill, expertise and fun-loving personalities of AAI guides!
I've been climbing for 7 years now, tackled my very first mountain, Mt Baker, with AAI and have been on 2 other trips with them. It was miserable for hours on Mt Baker, with rain and cold and our guides were the best, making us stay warm and dry in our tents, while they delivered hot beverages and a hot breakfast! The weather lifted, they put us through snow school and we enjoyed a spectacular, sunrise summit the following morning! Then I went on Mt Rainier with AAI - did not get to summit on this trip, because of weather. We were all dressed and ready to go, but our AAI guides suggested we wait out the cold rain a bit - after 7 hours they said there was nothing to do but pack it in. Smart choice, since we learned later that another group choose to "brave" the weather, but didn't get very far at all, when they had to turn back with a hypothermic climber. Better to be safe than sorry! And then I went with AAI to Mexico, to climb Iztaccíhuatl and Pico de Orizaba! My guides again were fantastic and I still put this trip and these two summits as the most spectacular of the 7 summits I've personally made - thanks to the skill, expertise and fun-loving personalities of AAI guides!
I have been on 7 trips (6-day, Baker 3 times, Rainier 2 times and Eldorado) with AAI and everyone there has been excellent to work with. The guides I have had on my trips are the best. I learned more in my 6 day course than I ever thought I would. I learn something new on every trip in fact. Twice on Baker our group was caught in bad rain storms and while we were in our tents, we watched the guides fix our meals and hot drinks in the rain. They work for hard doing what they love. Climbing should not only be about summitting a mountain. If that is your only goal with mountain climbing prepare to have the weather and conditions disappoint you. Be prepared and go with an open mind and you will enjoy the journey that AAI takes you on..
North Cascades Mountaineering School
"For rugged alpine peaks, big glaciers and lofty volcanoes, no mountain range in the Lower 48 comes even close to the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest. But it's the lonely beauty, the challenging approaches, and the wild variety of terrain that keeps climbers coming back for more." -Peter Potterfield, Selected Climbs in the Cascades
"There is no substitute for professional training when involved in recreation or work in the mountains, and based on first-hand experience, I have no hesitation in recommending Alpine Ascents' Mountaineering programs. Their professional approach to training, supported by their staff of highly qualified mountain guides, makes for a training experience that is as challenging and informative as it is safe and enjoyable." -Mark Lonsdale, Author, STTU Alpine Operations
6-Day Cascades Course
I thoroughly enjoyed the course! Its quality was excellent – it covered exactly what your website said it would. I am absolutely confident I can put these skills into practice, and I'm looking forward to doing exactly that through future trips with AAI! Looking back, the sequence of skills Peter and Kiran taught us all lead up to us being able to travel safely on a glacier with a group – we had plenty of opportunity to put the skills we learned into practice. Peter and Kiran were effective leaders. They were very thoughtful in planning out and executing each day's agenda and making adjustments when it made sense to. They were clearly in their element, and they were very good at letting us know what the plan was. It was obvious Peter and Kiran have vast experience using the skills they passed on to us, so it was very natural for them to be able to share their knowledge. I commend them both for their patience in dealing with us newbies – it had to be frustrating at times (even I was frustrated with other participants at times) – but their level of professionalism and attention to detail was impressive. Absolutely! They exhibited a healthy mix of mentor/guide aloofness vs. male camaraderie. At meal time in particular they tended to keep to themselves (not unexpected given that you tend to cook/eat with tent-mates) but they would also then make it a point to come over and join us and just chat about whatever. They are intelligent, have interesting backgrounds and experiences, and are overall great guys – I would not hesitate to make another trip with them, in fact I would even ask what trips are next for them to guide!
Staff at the office were personable and helpful, and from what I noticed it was a pretty efficient operation. I love the website with the descriptions about each trip or course – everything I want to know is right there! And the gear list and index is fantastic, it really helped me know the exact features I needed to look for and the purchases I needed to make. I felt I received adequate communication from your office once I booked the trip, and appreciated getting Peter's bio beforehand, as well as the names of the other participants. You delivered what you said you would by teaching us and allowing us the opportunity to use mountaineering skills. There were no surprises. Your guides are extremely competent and experienced, and good at passing on those skills. - 2015 Climber
The course met my expectations, I learned a ton of things, the guides were professional and knowledgeable and displayed good leadership, they explained things well, they were inclusive and worked well with the whole group, and I trusted them and their decisions. High marks for both Peter and Kieran. I wouldn't hesitate to sign up for another climb or course with them.
The office staff, yourself included, has been excellent. I especially appreciate the quick turnaround on emails: most if not all were returned within 24 hrs. Additionally, Adam in the gear shop was very helpful and courteous, and when I stopped back at AA the day after we got back he and I had a nice long chat about climbing and gear and his Antarctic experience. He also gave me some good gear recommendations too. I will certainly remember the course, the guides and all they taught me, and the overall excellent experience I had with AA. It was worth my money and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend AA to anyone looking to climb or get into climbing. - 2015 Climber
Loved the course very informative. I thought the course was well thought out, well planned and was exactly what I was looking for. Yes I feel pretty confident in the skills I learned. Both guides were very methodical and thorough in the way they explained the information. I am very happy with the experience. As a training camp it provided the different information that I have not been exposed to in a precise and thorough manner. No changes needed. - 2015 Climber
Hands down, the best investment I could ever make. Every aspect of the course was professionally and thoroughly explained and practiced, making what we learned "feel" second-natured. It was reassuring to be able to take our training and utilize as much of it as possible on the day of summit, making what we learned really sink in and really be put into effect.
Peter and Matt can't be replaced; they shared so much valuable knowledge and experience towards the sport, making the 6 days extremely worthwhile. As a team, they presented everything in depth and detail, and really pushed to the students what skills and knowledge are most vital. I loved learning the technical aspects of it all, from reasons for certain gear selection, or why a certain path of the glacier was chosen. It made the experience feel like more than just being on a large, glaciated volcano.
We had one day of rain/sleet/snow that bummed us out for half the day, but even still Peter and Matt came tent-to-tent to teach us new material. We practiced our knot and prusik tying, and learned an introduction to rappelling and belaying skills. Every other day of the trip was maximized to learn and practice as much information as possible. Techniques are easy to pickup, but also very difficult to master. I can't wait to continue my education with another trip with Alpine Ascents. - 2014 Climber
Yes, I very much enjoyed the course. I feel like it was very informative and I learned a lot. I definitely feel like I'm ready to use the skills learned on future climbs. The course was very well organized and seem to cover the essential information. Matt and Adam in the gear shop were extremely helpful. Both made themselves available for a number of calls and emails to discuss questions I had on gear. - 2014 Climber
I had a great time and I learned a lot on this trip. Both Guides were great guys and I had a great time and would definitely recommend to others. It was a great experience again from AA that I expect from you guys, 3rd trip with you guys was again good one. - 2014 Climber
"My guides both displayed a great level of expertise and confidence in their mountaineering skills. Just watching them work/guide was beneficial to the learning experience. I could not have been happier with the course. Despite challenging weather, we had lots of time to learn new skills. We were able to be flexible with when and what we did to best take advantage of the situations we were presented with. Jonathon showed great leadership skills both in his interactions with us, the climbers, and the other two guides. His passion for guiding and teaching was very apparent, as was the respect that everyone had for him. Peter was also a fantastic leader and I felt like we won the "guide lottery" having them both on our trip. Being proficient in something does not always mean you are also good at teaching these skills to someone else. Both Jonathon and Peter, were not only able to clearly and effectively teach us the how of new skills, but the when and why of putting them to use. This is my 2nd AA adventure, Rainier 3-day last year being the first and once again you guys were awesome. Everyone is super professional, organized and responsive creating a stress free environment leading up to the trip." Saveria T.
"Excellent, I never knew I could learn so much in only 6 days!! The guides were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about teaching us." Gosia
"Alpine Ascents is an extraordinary expedition and training program. Our guides, shared a strong ability to transfer their knowledge of mountaineering to members of the expedition. I have worked with a number of instructors and trainers during my time as a Navy SEAL and Cecelia is one of the best hands-on teachers I have ever worked with." Erica
"Previously had done a 3 day Mt Washington course with XXX The instruction offered by the Alpine Ascents course was vastly superior." Jim
"A wonderful program packed full of skills that were well presented and taught." Kerr
"The program was everything I thought it was going to be. It was well planned and executed. Thanks for a great trip. I have never been outside the city and it was a blast. Guides were incredible" Pete
I really enjoyed the program a great deal. From the suggestions on physical preparation and gear list through the climber evaluation I received, I thought the program was well designed” Joe T.
This is the best program, on the planet” Davis W.
It is a great program; I learned a great deal everyday and have a whole new respect for mountaineering” Sean W.
"Simply EXCELLENT! Wonderful guides who never lost their patience with me or anyone in our group. Being great climbers is one thing, but being teachers who can clearly impart knowledge in a friendly and cordial manner is another. All three of our guides were both. Would recommend the course to others in a heartbeat! The program was fantastic, I am truly grateful for the experience." Tony S.
"Excellent! The quality of leadership was most respectable. The design incorporated in the progressing days was useful, cogent and amazing! I learned safety first! Was reminded of training that flight attendants must go through: You hopefully never have to use these skills, but you'd better be prepared! One of the things that continually amazed me was the way each one of these leaders was available and supportive, pleasant and instructive. I felt very cared for." Tom D.
"The program was excellent. It covered a variety of materials in 6 days time, all of which was useful. I participated to learn specific skills and came home with those skills and more. I will be a safer and more confident climber for having had the opportunity to take your course. I also felt it built on the general mountaineering skills I have acquired from just being in the mountains in the past. I was completely confident the entire week that our guide would keep us safe. I trusted him. He had the patience of a saint, by the end of 6 days time, he was relaxed, fun and he always maintained a good sense of humor. I really appreciated how easy-going he was throughout the week. He didn't press us on time or rush us along - which was really nice. This is probably the quality I most respected. There were times during the week that I laughed harder than I have in a very long time. On another note, your office service is the best, bar none. I also compliment your printed materials and your website. I'm always surprised at how quick you are to respond to questions and to provide material. Compared to other programs I've participated in, I just find you to be better organized. Many thanks!" Lisa C.
"I think the greatest strength of the company was reflected in this course and in every trip I've done with Alpine Ascents; and that is the guides. My guides were 100% fantastic. They were truly impressive in regards to both their skills and knowledge as well as their interpersonal skills. The main reason I continue to take trips with Alpine Ascents is that you have the best guides in the business. As far as I've seen in my experiences no one does it better than Alpine Ascents International. From education to organization from safety to the skill level of the guides Alpine Ascents is head and shoulders above the rest." -Tim A.
"It's a great program, great company! I would highly recommend Alpine Ascents to others (and have). The company surpassed my expectations in handling a weathered-out Alaska 6-day course by readily offering credit for another course. Everyone I've worked with from Alpine Ascents has been very knowledgeable, friendly and professional.***Note that Jon and Erik in Alaska were great during the few days that we waited to fly. They both shared a lot of knowledge and insights. Despite not getting on the mountain, it was worth the trip - which is saying a lot. Keep doing what you're doing." Christina T.
"This is a great program. Lots of material is covered and the days are long, but it was still relaxing and I was able to enjoy the mountains. I emerged from the program actually feeling rather...hmmm...I'm not sure of the right word. In a phrase I now know how much I don't know! But I've got the fundamentals I need to start doing some real mountaineering - starting at a basic level - to develop the skills I need to progress to harder stuff. That is of course, the only way to become competent, experienced and safe doing this sport - you have to DO it. I do fell I learned the basics in a fundamental way, and now I can go off and practice them on my own to raise my competence level to a point where I am comfortable climbing without an instructor there. I like the focus on hard skills, which is one reason I chose Alpine Ascents. I've worked for an outdoor education company, I'm familiar with all of the soft skills stuff, and that didn't play much of a role in this course, other than the essential teamwork things that are a fundamental part of mountaineering. So I liked the balance and focus on skills. I think the goals of the program were absolutely met. As I understand them, the goals of the program were to offer an introduction to all (or most of) the aspects of mountaineering required for safe and successful travel in the mountains. We weren't supposed to emerge from the course with a mastery in all the skills, but we were supposed to emerge knowing all the things we NEED to become competent in for safe mountaineering, and with a basic knowledge on which we can build in our own research, training, and experience. And I did feel I emerged with that. I definitely feel that I have the base knowledge I need to go practice these things and then step onto a mountain." Sean H.
"I found the programs to be thorough and professional. The staff are both pleasant to work with and a great help when needed. The course took me from understanding concepts to understanding how to utilize concepts under real-world conditions. I found the whole system to be thorough and professional. I have previously taken courses with Two other well-known schools. I found your staff as professional if not more professional than anyone I worked with in either of those programs. I didn't have many questions for your staff, but all interactions were highly professional as well as friendly. I found the literature and the web site very thorough and enabled me to know what to expect. I would have no problem recommending your services for people seeking either mountaineering training or guiding." Nate B.
"I wanted to take a minute and thank all of those at Alpine Ascents for making my experience in the 6-day course so terrific. Your program is absolutely phenomenal. Having over 10 years of climbing experience on rock, ice and mountaineering, I did not expect to really gain that much from the course outside of the crevasse rescue and glacier travel knowledge. Nothing could have been further from the truth. During the course, we had explained to our guides that a couple of us were planning on another climb before we left the Seattle area. After covering the day's material, they continued working with us well into the evening. At our request, they would spend additional time going over other methods of glacier safety, additional route finding techniques, understanding crevasse development, weather precautions, which routes to select and why, additional crevasse rescue techniques, and the list goes on. Anytime they thought of something that might be useful to us on our climb, they added it in (and it seemed like they were always thinking about what they could add). The next day, as we climbed, they continually showed us what we had discussed the night before. This cemented the knowledge by backing up the theory with experience. And I thought I wouldn't learn that much! Wow, was I pleasantly wrong! They were truly committed to teaching as much as they could possibly teach. All in just 6 days. It's this kind of commitment to giving beyond what is expected that will make the difference every time! I can't ever recalling anyone every working so hard to ensure we learned as much as was humanly possible. Keep up the good work. Your course and the guides that teach it are making a huge difference in the climbing community!"-Dan S.
"From my first contact with Alpine Ascents, through my guide's departing farewell, I have learned that Alpine Ascents is a polished, professional, well-run organization. During my 6-Day experience at Mt. Shuksan I was treated as a person with respect yet pushed and challenged. Although the elder (55) of the group (17, 31, 32) I was not treated differently which was much appreciated. I believe I learned much and will apply aspects of the program which fit my needs as I climb the "Whites" of New Hampshire. My guide reduced "big picture" information to "detail" with ease and clarity, through solid demonstrations then by practice with continual critique by him. He elevated my own confidence beyond what it had been. Thank you Alpine Ascents for such a pleasurable, challenging and unforgettable experience!" -Richard B.
"Excellent! The program was extremely challenging and educational." -Michael L.
"I thought that from start to finish the program was extremely well put together and executed." -Michael M.
"As an outdoor enthusiast I was thoroughly impressed by our guide's skill, patience, knowledge and ability to lead." -Joe S.
"This was an excellent course. It covered all aspects of basic mountaineering and glacier travel skills. One of the real strengths of Willi and the program is the close personal attention that each student receives. I felt Alpine Ascents offered a wonderful experience in the North Cascades Mountaineering School. It was challenging but I feel I walked away with a lot of knowledge and increased respect for nature and the environment. I also felt the whole experience was very well organized from the application process through the achievement of the summit." -Amy S.
"Overall the program was superb! I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in increasing their climbing skills. Our guides were excellent leaders." -Constantine B.
"Fantastic Experience! The course was extremely well organized and we were continually being exposed to relevant information. The basic skills required for mountaineering were developed effectively and I found myself more confident each day." -David G.
"The guides' skill level was outstanding. They were obviously very experienced in back country as well as technical skills. Not only was my guide an excellent climber but a great teacher." -Mary S.
"It was great to know our guides had experiences around the world. They were good leaders and excellent teachers. Their enthusiasm for the sport was infectious. These guys were really enjoying themselves." -David D.
"I made the summit and learned a lot. It's a great feeling of accomplishment and it's gotten me on the lookout for other times when I'm approaching a task or problem too timidly." -Theresa M.
"I can summarize the course in a sentence: It was a fantastic experience, with excellent leadership and a substantial body of mountaineering knowledge. I would recommend it to anyone who desires an intensive dose of mountaineering information." -James G.
"An excellent program: awareness of the environment, experience in glacier travel, pushing individual limits (testing ability) and crevasse rescue gives otherwise untouched experience. An extremely high level of confidence and competence is felt by my guide's leadership." -Leslie B.
"Everything I could have ever hoped for. The Mountaineering School gave me enough exposure and training to create an intense desire to keep climbing and pursue high altitude goals. Our guide was nothing but extraordinary. His skill, leadership and teaching ability were unsurpassed." -Brian C.
10 Day Cascades Rainier Mountaineering Course
I did very much so enjoy the course. I thought the material was taught at a good pace, with adequate amount of practice of the skills prior to the two ascents. The guides passed on their knowledge and experience by first talking, then demonstrating. The best demonstration of their skills was observed during the summit pushes. I truly feel that I gathered some valuable and useful skills that I can use in my future mountaineering endeavors. The program gave us a lot to learn, but not so much that I felt overwhelmed. I liked learning something and then putting it right to use. The greatest assets to the program though were the guides. Stuart, Jangbu and Lakpa Rita were great, and during the toughest times, I had faith in their guidance and leadership. Because of them, I can proudly say I summited Rainier and Baker. 2015 Climber
Yes, I enjoyed the course and it exceeded my expectations in every way. After completing it, I feel 100% confident on using the skills I learned and would be ready to use them on future climbs. I couldn't have asked for better guides, and their teaching style worked well with my learning style! Even aside from activities like knot tying class and such, they were constantly passing on helpful bits of information throughout the course. Yes, all of them were incredibly easy to get along with. In addition, they were also helpful in giving me ideas on what I should advance to next for climbing and I'm already planning on booking more trips for next year with Alpine Ascents just because of these guys! Everything was better than expected. Stuart knew the areas well and picked excellent campsites. I could not think of any weaknesses in the course. It covered all of the objectives advertised, and more. 2015 Climber
The course exceeded all expectations! As far as enjoyable, yes very much so, met a lot of fun and interesting people, and took away a lot of basic skills that I feel will be extremely helpful for future climbs! The guides were exceptional and went above and beyond in all aspects of the course. As far as leadership, Victor was the man with the plan, a class act, so was Kyle. These guys didn't mess around and are at the top of their game!!! I couldn't imagine having a better set of guides. I would go up the mountain anytime in the future with either of them. 2015 8 Day Course Student
The course was incredible. The organization, preparedness and execution of our schedule and curriculum was top rate. Devin and Ben were on point from the beginning and every opportunity was taken to teach skills and concepts that were then built upon as the week progressed, from breathing and the rest-step to setting up camp and rope team execution and safety. This all culminated in our very real use of these skill when we moved to high camp and on summit day. Devin and Ben were excellent guides. They taught and led us with professionalism, expert knowledge and patience. They were always ready to help, from showing how to really stuff our pack or tie a prusik (again) to the involved skills of rope-team glacier travel and crevasse rescue. In our down time, they were personal and interested. I believe we would all count them as friends. They were always encouraging and, when needed, pushed us to remember a basic skill we had previously mastered or to dig a bit deeper on summit day. I would love to have either or both of them on a future climb. First class, and genuine guys. Both Devin and Ben used their strength in teaching us each aspect of the course. We could tell that they were prepared, knew each aspect inside and out and had discussed their teaching approach to each subject beforehand in order to give us the best structure in which to learn the skills required. They were willing to go over any skill or subject as many times as we needed to master it and encouraged us to ask any questions or even come to them later to go over anything on which we wanted further instruction or insight. They were also great at giving us the context of the skills with their extensive real-expedition experience; they helped us know why we were learning each given skill and how it would be used on the mountain. They were a riot! We had a great time as a group, and they were always quick with a story or anecdote. They were genuinely interested in each of us and they were both very open personally and shared themselves along with their guiding knowledge and expertise. Devin and Ben's personalities and approach were often different, but they complimented each other very well and were great to be on the mountain with, even for the full eight days. As I said, we would each count them as friends. Every interaction with AAI staff was great. I worked with Chris a good deal when scheduling my climb and he was a great resource. I also corresponded briefly with Gary and Gordon, as well as Matt in gear department. Everyone was friendly, knowledgeable and fantastic to work with.
The basic outline of training held me in good stead, including the types, intervals, durations and weight suggested for training. Each worked together well to prepare me. I was never uncertain about my ability to complete the course or reach the summit. My body's reaction above about 12,500' was unexpected, but I really believe the months of training allowed me to continue on and reach the summit. Nice prep outline. Each leg of our course was stunning. At no time did I feel that we were simply in a rush to get to our next camp or that we were simply clients to herd along. The itinerary, camps, pace and execution allowed for time to really experience the sense of place that comes with having time to really get into the wilderness that we all go out seeking. We really had time to be in awe at our first view from Glacier Basin and our time on the Winthrop really allowed us to feel that we were out on and experiencing it and not just moving through to the summit. It's one of the things I loved most about the course. We were able to feel the mountain (literally, when the glacier would shift a bit beneath us). And the entire time we were reminded to help maintain that wildness. This entire aspect really brought our course to another level.
The strengths of the course were, first and foremost, the guides. Devin and Ben were superb. We could have possibly been learning and utilizing these skills on another mountain or different part of Rainier, but their expertise, professionalism and patience made the entire experience better. They were fantastic from gear check to celebration burgers and beers. Also, the curriculum and teaching plan was excellent. We learned a great deal and it was expertly done such that each skill built upon the next and by the time we moved further on the mountain, we were prepared to use all of the skills we'd learned. I honestly can't think of a major improvement to the course. It offered the perfect balance of structure, teaching, flexibility and fun. Great course! Thanks to all of your at AAI. Looking forward to the next one (Eldorado, 8/14)! 2015 8 Day Course Student
The course was amazing – I learned every skill that I set out to, and feel competent enough to participate in further climbs as a rope team member that can contribute greatly. Seeing that first crevasse was nerve-wracking, but the instruction made me feel confident enough to walk over further cracks without hesitation. Ben and Devin make a perfect team – the yin and yang of climbing instructors. While Devin could be more patient during instruction on skills to neophytes, his at times hard nosed style is perfect when challenging your physical limits. Ben's ease on the mountain and relaxed nature makes you believe that every challenge is surmountable, and that you are capable of it. A truly great pair! Everyone at AAI was incredibly helpful throughout the trip. Matt was incredible with gear questions. Words can't describe being on Rainier, in that environment, for the first time. Green trees, marmots, flowers to start, then snowfields, glaciers, and moraines to finish. Awe inspiring, and that doesn't do it justice. 2015 8 Day Course Student
This was a very enjoyable course. I felt the instruction provided by all of the guides was top notch, especially because they focused not only on the 'how', but also on the 'why'. Both Victor and Nik took the time to ensure we felt comfortable with the skills we were learning and they took the time to answer our questions. I thought we were well prepared for the four day ascent of the Kautz route on Mt. Rainier and we had the opportunity to practice most of the skills we had learned during the first six days in Boston Basin. I also feel confident that I will be able to apply these skills on future climbs. All of the guides demonstrated effective leadership skills. Safety was the top priority and that was apparent in the decisions they made. They were also very effective in getting the most out of a diverse group of climbers. Victor and Nik were open and straight-forward in their delivery of the information we needed in order to be successful in the course and on future climbs. They also had a good sense of humor, which allowed them to relate to us even though we were significantly less experienced than them. Over all, the passion of the guides for climbing and, more importantly, for teaching was apparent each and every day. I think the program's strengths are the guide staff, the location and the comprehensive nature of the skills training and application during the course. 2015 Climber
I thoroughly enjoyed this course. I felt that I grew a lot, not only in my mountaineering skills, but also as a person. I am so grateful for the experience I had, and I'm very much looking forward to using my skills on future climbs. I found the office staff to be very organized, thorough, and friendly. They answered all of my questions before I arrived in Seattle, and my rental gear was ready to go. They provided me with adequate, relevant materials prior to my climb. My interactions with the staff both prior to my climb as well as upon return made me feel confident in AAI's reputation. I found that the training statements were very accurate; one must prepare well before such a trip. I followed the training advice and even so found the climb demanding. I would not have wanted to go unprepared! This was my first experience camping and surviving in a true Alpine setting. Though I had a lot to learn, this was one aspect that I came to enjoy very much. Surviving on your own (even in a group) in the wilderness offers a beautiful perspective of life and self. The campsites and trails were clean and well-respected, and for the most part we didn't share them with many others. Our vistas on the mountain were indescribably beautiful, and for this I appreciate even more that AAI emphasizes proper waste removal and "leave no trace" ethics. By far the greatest strength of Alpine Ascents is in the knowledge of their guides. I truly felt that I was learning from the best! Other strengths of this particular program are the emphasis on proper technique and safety. I didn't see anything that I would classify as a weakness; on the contrary: having gone with AAI and having witnessed other (non-AAI) teams on the mountain, I would not ever choose to go with another company. I would highly recommend Alpine Ascents to anyone looking for this kind of experience. 2014 Climber
The course far exceeded my expectations in terms of quality, coordination, and sheer enjoyment. I certainly will use the skills on future climbs, and expect that those will be through AAI too. It was truly humbling to have such experienced and renowned guides on our trip. That was hands down the best part of the trip and made the experience world-class. There's very little you could do to improve the experience. It's 100% clear that this is one of the best organizations in the world at what you do and who you get for your guide staff. I will be using and recommending Alpine Ascents International as long as I'm a climber. 2014 Climber
This course is going to be something I remember for the rest of my life. The quality was superb - I felt like nothing was glossed over, we were fully prepared for our summits of Baker and Rainier, and we had a lot of fun doing it all. I most certainly feel prepared for another adventure and I can't wait! Everyone involved was supportive and knowledgeable. Course materials were super helpful especially with food planning. All emails were promptly replied to. I truly thought the course was practically perfect. I loved how it was split into two parts - learning on Baker and then applying on Rainier. The night off in between was excellent for drying out gear and getting a shower in, but seemed almost like an easy way to lose motivation quickly! 2014 Climber
It's a fantastic program above my expectation. I came from China to US for this course and it's worthwhile to do so. I would recommend this course to other climbers who want to build their climbing skill and learn from highly qualified guides. Before the program, relevant and adequate information is shared. The team roster helped team member get contact with each other and build relationship earlier. Our team had a joint dinner 1 day before the course which is a great arrangement. During the program, safety is the first priority, we never had concern about this as our guides even care more about this. The training is organized in a structured manner. Climbing skill, LNT and etc. are clearly introduced with good and enough demonstration. We had opportunity to practice at the 1st time and got comment from guide. After the program, the climbing evaluation helps me understand my strength, weakness and specific improvement area for next climbing target. I admire Michael not only because of his climbing achievement but also his great capability to translate the skill to beginner in a practical way. He made his point very clear with high quality demonstration. Something looks complicated as described in pre-material becomes easy such as knots. - 2013 Climber
"A fantastic program and experience." Wayne
"Most excellent program - during the first portion our guide far exceeded my expectations in terms of skill, leadership as well as teaching ability. Though we had some challenging situations on Rainer I always felt safe under their leadership." John
"From the suggestions on physical preparation and gear list thought the climber evaluation everything was excellent. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn mountaineering skills on the first part of the course and put them into place on Rainier - a pefect mix. Knowing that I was going to need the learned skills on Rainier made me focus more intently on the educational aspects of the program." Joe
Denali Preparation / Winter Mountaineering
"The Denali Prep course was my first trip to the Northwest. More beautiful than I could have imagined. Was a great opportunity to experience the weather extremes. The curriculum was well-organized and well-taught. I can see why it is a requirement prior to heading to Alaska. As always the guides and the setting exceeded expectations. Each time I go with you folks into the mountains, I always feel my safety and well-being are your utmost concern. It allows me the freedom to concentrate on the individual task of getting to the top. Your guides have always exercised firm but flexible control with the group despite sometimes widely varying personalities." David F.
"Absolutely Awesome. It inspired me to continue to pursue climbing and I am looking forward to the next opportunity I can arrange a trip. The guides were each capable of leading the entire group or providing additional instruction on an individual basis. My confidence in their skills and abilities never became a question. Each demonstrated the ability to lead the group and had significant experience with personal motivation and encouragement. They always stressed safety and teamwork. This was my first experience with snow. I feel fully confident that the training they provided would allow me to participate and succeed in an expedition. Having the opportunity to summit during the course is proof of the training they provided. I also benefited from their advice and experience with various equipment and gear which provided me knowledge and insight into what direction I need to go in preparation for future climbing. The best aspect of the course is the practical application of the training. Reaching the summit was a definite highlight of the week and gave the group a real goal to pursue. Other strength was the exchange of information from the guides about real experiences on Denali." Scott C.
"The guides were highly competent and knowledgeable. They were upbeat, patient, and generous in the sharing of information. I am very impressed with Alpine Ascents, their course, and their personnel." – Gene P.
"I thought it was a great course focusing on Denali issues. It was a great experience and everything was well organized."- Garrett E.
"Very well organized, very high quality. I was impressed by the food selections, which exceeded my expectations. Professionally run, excellent guide." – David A.
Great time. High quality instruction. Plenty of time for repetition and practice with instructor feedback. I can use all this information this weekend! Both Seth and Eric are great teachers. I felt that they did a great job passing along knowledge and then working 1:1 with anyone who needed a bit more hands on instruction. They were definitely aware of the different learning types. Sean C.
Excellent! Small class and individual attention from a real pro, can't be beat. Excellent Guide, great focus on safety, much was learned. Far better training than I have received from other outdoor organizations. - Gregg G
"Program followed a logical course the allowed for individuals to develop at a comfortable pace. Very Good program. - Ray F.
"The Program was outstanding. Gene was a great instructor, we had a great time and learned so much. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in rock climbing. The length of the program is good because you get to make lots of climbs without having to use too much vacation. - Vincent M.
" program was everything I expected and more! I received and learned the information I was looking for and more. My guide really made this the course the most informative program I have ever attended. I have been with other groups and all I have to say is that every guide who I have met through Alpine Ascents is genuine and professional and a pleasure to be around. I can't say that for the others. - Cary M.
Backpacking & Wilderness Navigation
"This course went beyond what I expected and the rewards were more than I even imagined. This course was absolutely wonderful. - John D.
"Very well organized from start to finish. Information packet was complete and helpful. Pre-trip questions answered promptly. Logistics were handled smoothly. Trip provided the right mixture of instruction and enjoyment. I definitely have a better feel for my abilities and limitations in the wilderness. I was hoping to gain knowledge and confidence backpacking and traveling through wilderness as a prep for the 6-day Mountaineering course. The course exceeded my expectations. - Deb W.
"This program was perfect for me. I am a true beginner and this gave me the opportunity to learn the basics and build confidence. I felt this course covered all the very important skills you must acquire to have a fun, safe adventure. - Colleen B.
"Exactly what I wanted - Informed Instruction of L.N.T. - Backpacking - Camping. Even "old time" campers and backpackers have something to learn from the course, Excellent! - Rick F.
" It was wonderful. The location was great because we saw a range of terrain and weather and trails. I learned a huge amount of practical skills. - Janie F.
Alaska Range Mountaineering School:
I thoroughly enjoyed the course. I feel like I am ready to organize and lead an easy glacier climb after the course. Victor and Nick were very patient in demonstrating the various techniques and supervising practices. They also showed different variations to standard techniques, which were very helpful, as they allowed us to understand the underlying principle. This will allow us to improvise solutions in the field in the future. - 8 Day Intermediate Climber.
I very much enjoyed the course, it was an awesome experience. Not just the learning content, but also the location. The course covered its stated objectives, and I felt prepared thanks to the reading suggestions and the provided equipment list. I am happy with the quality of the course, we covered the basic skills I wanted to acquire. I feel ready to use what I had learned in this class on future climbs, looking forward to this. Yes, the guides were very good at their job. They mastered the items on the curriculum, they were always in charge while managing to remain friendly, and they were always concerned with the safety of all of us. They always provided concise yet effective explanations before we started any new drill or exercise, they first made hands-on demonstrations for skills to be acquired, and then they made sure that we got things right when it was our turn to practice them. Your reminders and emphasis on getting every single item on the gear list, or making sure that we prepare physically, helped me stay on track and not cut corners.
I was very satisfied with the amount that I learned during the course and feel that I had enough time/opportunity to practice newly learned skills. I feel confident in my ability to make smart decisions to avoid a rescue situation, but also feel confident that should I find myself in a rescue situation I now know what to do. (My guides) made consistently good decisions to keep the group safe while having fun and did a great job of reviewing important skills multiple times. They would discuss topics at night over dinner, demonstrate skills during the next day, and the following day we would execute these skills as a group. We also learned skills that were above/beyond the itinerary for the course which was a of great value. Many new friendships were forged during our time together. The 8 day course did a great job at educating/empowering with a wealth of information, although it was not as physically demanding as I had expected based on the emails/website information I read prior to the trip. Crevasse rescue, selecting appropriate knots and tying knots were all strengths of the course. - Megan K.
I had a WONDERFUL time. There were quite a few challenges, but it was great getting back into the mix, and both Victor and Lauren helped me (and everybody on the trip) through each challenge in a way that made me maximize my fun on the trip itself. The logistics of the trip (pretty much the most difficult part) were handled with ease and virtually seamless to the clients. The routes were excellent in terms of technical and sustainable factors, group decisions were made, and the journey was executed with complete efficiency. No weaknesses can be identified on the part of Alpine Ascents or their guides.
"My guide had a deep inherent knowledge of the mountain that seemed to flow very naturally. She was a wealth of facts and knowledge shot-gunning her extensive climbing experience at us. The both of them though different seemed very proficient on the mountain. - Evan M.
"Excellent program. Very thorough and comprehensive. I was reviewing Freedom of the Hills and was surprised at how much of that book was covered in the course. thanks for a great course! - Daniel H
"The program was great; very in depth and offered everything your website promised. - Josh M
"The program was fantastic. It complemented and advanced what I knew about mountaineering and helped me feel comfortable leading climbs on glaciated peaks. Both guides get a 10/10 in my book. The program itself was well conceived as it taught us established fundamentals of mountaineering but then allowed us to tailor the course material to our individual needs and interests - Sam L
"This was a great course and well worth the experience. The course covered the basics of mountaineering which will be helpful to expand upon in the future. The days were full and long which helped keep the tempo high. Both guides were able to take charge and lead the group in all aspects of the trip. As a person who works from a schedule I feel there was a little room for improvement when it comes to letting the group know what the plan for the day was or an overview of the course. I feel if I know what the plan is, I can better prepare my gear for the days events. Overall their leadership skills were good and effective. - Jeff H.
"The 8-Day Mountaineering Course was a great in depth introduction to mountaineering. The guides were very informative, sharing mountaineering and winter camping tips throughout the whole day. Alaska was an amazing place to spend eight days as well! The mountains were beautiful and I can’t wait to get back and attempt Denali with Alpine Ascents in the future! - Rob M.
"The 8-Day Alaskan Glacier Mountaineering seminar was incredible! The guides David Kratsch and Matthew Emht were great leaders of the teams and made the course fun, exciting and very educational! I will recommend this course and those two instructors to any one interested in mountaineering courses or expeditions! Plus, spending the week in Denali National Park and flying in on an airplane away from civilization made another dream come true! This is the best organization I have ever invested in my educational and future adventure opportunities! My guide was - Fantastic in communication with students during the lessons or climbs. Three of us from the group of 10 were taken on a more challenging ascent to push and test our skills/knowledge from the course. He led the group and it was incredible day utilizing every skill we learned for the week from crevasse rescue, technical climbing, glacier travel, compass utilization, team work! - Roland K.
"I found the course to be extremely interesting and informative. I was able to learn new skills and sharpen old skills in an environment that was simply on of the most incredible place in North America. The focus and dedication of the guide made this an experience of a lifetime. Jon was incredibly skilled and his vast experience was amazing. He did not hesitate to explain or demonstrate any aspect of mountaineering. As an experienced climber myself, I was impressed by Jon's vast knowledge and his method of instruction. I've attended many one and two day climbing classes but this was by far the most comprehensive. It was a tremendous experience and I think you have a great company. I was researching guide companies and Alpine Ascents had the best reputation. I was not disappointed." Greg R.
"As an avid rock and vertical ice climber I thought I knew a lot. This course was inspiring, challenging and most of all humbling. Jon and Willi were true professional and provided me with a confidence that I thought I would never have while climbing big peaks. Overall the course was more than I anticipated. Alpine Ascents has set the bar quite high. I used this program as a prerequisite for future expedition. I am confident that the itinerary covered all that is needed to give an individual the information needed to conduct a self-assessment of their own limitations for future climbs." Ernie B.
"Absolutely met it's goals. What a fantastic place to spend a week! We climbed, we learned, and the guides had exactly the right balance between safety and fun. A great experience, one that let me climb Rainier with skill and confidence." -Jeff B.
"The course was very challenging and physically demanding. The guides had a wealth of information to share. The overall experience was outstanding and I would recommend this class to anyone interested in climbing. I wanted to know that I could have sufficient skills to pursue future climbs. And having completed this class, I know that I can." -Samantha K.
"The program emphasized personal responsibility & focus as well as group participation, which I fell are two major factors in good mountaineering. Well-organized, intensive, and a lot of fun!" -Robin S.
"The program you have designed was incredible. Our guides made the trip a remarkable outing. This was my first time climbing and you can bet I'll be back again. A 10 would be an understatement. The only weakness is that I didn't stay longer." -John S.
"I thought the program was excellent. I had previously been on two guided climbs with another guide service, and most of what was covered in Alpine Ascents' 6-Day course was new information to me. The guides were great, the leadership was spectacular. I am looking forward to many more expeditions." -Todd M.
"I was impressed with the comprehensiveness of the program. Both guides displayed the highest skill levels, leadership and communication skills time and time again. I easily exceeded my initial goals." -Mike M.
"The program was exactly as I expected. We had a good group, our guides were a perfect mix. My individual goals were met and surpassed. I was able to get a real sense of mountaineering and how it is done today. With plenty of spicy history notes and a better understanding of why it is done the way it is." -Ray M.
"Well organized and planned. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The guides were both patient and extremely knowledgeable." -Michael D.
"I truly enjoyed the experience. I learned a lot and was physically and mentally challenged each day. Alpine Ascents delivered." -Rob S.
"Outstanding! Guides were competent, friendly, knowledgeable, weather was great. Other climbers were great. The Alaska Range was impressive, mountains were amazing. I now feel like I am a competent component of a rope team." -Shane B.
"Fantastic program. The scenery was spectacular, the instructors were excellent, the flight into and out of the glacier was breathtaking." -Marina H.
"I thought it was excellent! I was impressed with the design of the curriculum-building skills upon skills as well as the emphasis on safety." -Jamie B.
"Following our recent completion of your 6-day Alaska Mountaineering Course, we felt is important to convey our thoughts and appreciation concerning our week with your company. While the Alaska Range provided an impressive environment in which to absorb instruction, our positive experience was more directly attributable to our guides. From day one their instruction was clear and well-presented. Their patience in working with beginner and intermediate climbers was appreciated, and answers to questions on every topic were complete and well thought out. The comfort level they established for us was important in our confidence throughout the week and for our climbing in the future. More valuable than the information they passed along was the manner in which they taught us to think through situations and really understand the reason why certain behavior was important. They asked us questions and presented "problems" for us to solve on our own. We left the course with a solid base of fundamental skills and safety consciousness for continued mountaineering pursuits, along with good direction regarding things to work on to further improve those skills. The most worthwhile portion of the trip was the camaraderie we felt within our group, guides included. Their sense of humor was welcome and relaxing. It is evident that you success with Alpine Ascents is partially due to the fact that you surround yourself with capable and quality people. on this we congratulate you. We definitely expect to employ Alpine Ascent International's services again sometime soon." -Dave K. -Mike S. -Chris F.
"I thought that the course was most enjoyable and challenging. I had the opportunity to learn and practice technical climbing skills and teamwork. Alpine Ascents did an outstanding job with logistics and course instruction. And most importantly, I had fun. I learned far more than I ever thought I would." -Bentley B.
"The program was approached in a very serious manner and the guides had tremendous knowledge of the region. They were both very thorough with their instruction of the mountaineering skills. Overall, I was very pleased with the outcome." -Kevin C.
"I was very happy with the course. I achieved all of the personal goals that I had set for the course and I enjoyed every minute of it. The 4:1 ratio for our course was perfect. It was small enough to feel individualized but large enough to have a variety of goals and opinions of what to learn. You guys are doing a great job!" -Edward L.
"The program was very intensive and a wonderful experience. I have never climbed in the Alaska Range before, and this was a great introduction. The skills taught and the knowledge of the guides was fantastic." -Rich K.
"A very thorough course set in the most beautiful location I have ever been in!" -David H.
"Program was excellent. Awesome location. Inspiring scenery. Guides generated good camaraderie. We learned quite a few skills, learned useful tricks of the trade and were challenged. Would recommend highly to others!" -Steve H.
"Excellent. Having this class in Denali National Park exposed me to a class and quality of climbing beyond my expectations. This class was a great balance between safety, team building, skills and a lot of climbing. Best climbing I have ever done! My skills improved measurably." -Jeff B.
"Exceeded expectations on all levels. Superb! Fun, challenging, beautiful, adventures...Lots of great climbs and happy times in the mountains. Both guides were excellent. I had the utmost confidence in their ability." -Heather K.
"Alaska was awesome, a great place to have the course. All of the guides were excellent, one of the reasons I chose Alpine Ascents again." -Luke W.
"Excellent course in a fantastic setting. My guides were exceptional and dynamic. I would and will recommend your program." -Martine J.
"Great program! I had a terrific instructor whose judgment I respected and trusted. Course and curriculum were well thought out and expertly taught." -Brian M
"My overall opinion is that the program was First Rate! One of the best experiences of my life. My guides are both top people, you are very fortunate to have such individuals working with you." -Eric K.
I got so lucky as my original team was merged to create a larger team (8x3). The guys I climbed with were prepared (Denali Prep Course was key!), funny and team focused. The guides were funny, professional and knew how to be leaders. NO BS and NO drama. Just good clean, hard climbing fun. They all knew the mountain, the route and what to look out for (Crevasse) They were honest and upfront about what we were doing for the day and how we did during the current push. They coached when needed, offered suggestions and shared experience. All three guide shared real world experiences as it related to perfecting our "systems", rope work, working the sleds, packing our packs, footwork, etc. They NEVER hesitated to offer guidance, support or just plan lay down the law. Great guides with great attitudes. You can tell they really enjoy being out on the mountain. The enthusiasm is still there. Nothing to say except = YOU GUYS ROCK! I have nothing but great things to say about the logistical suggestions, ease of renting gear, suggestions for lodging, and quick response to my questions. All was superb! My rental gear was top notch. Tents perfect, strong and lightweight.
FOOD was awesome! Really!? No bake cheesecake!? Pizza? Burgers? Ha Ha Ha...I LOVE sharing with my friends how great the food was!? They were all convinced we were just bringing along 'dried dog food kibbles' - Really fun to share the story of our 'Glacier Goodness' with family and friends. Everyone I dealt with: Gordon Janow, Ellen Cravens, Lacey Meadows, Matt Miller, Chris Thalman, Aaron Bailey. The WHOLE team is your strength! Everything was seamless, easy and completely enjoyable! The fact that if I had any questions or concerns, someone responded ASAP! If I forgot anyone to mention, please note that they were an important part of this team too!! I am looking forward to my next adventure with Alpine Ascents! Hands down, you are the best outfit to climb with!!! Many Many Thanks!! 2015 Climber
Everything I hoped for. Both of these guys are top notch guides. These guys consistently used every opportunity to teach us how to be better climbers. I was impressed how they would tutor us, but not treat us like children. They expected us to be experienced climbers and demanded that we rise to the occasion. It was great. As always with Alpine, everything was 1st rate. Particularly the Hilleberg tents. Great addition...especially as a cook tent. They made it easy for us to get together as a group. I normally have suggestions, but this trip was blessed with great guides and a strong climb team. I wouldn't have changed anything. 2015 Climber
Yes. Top notch all the way. Both Victor and Nick are experienced and knowledgeable guides. Their decision making and leadership skills are of the highest order. Lots of teaching opportunities along the way; both Victor and Nick were very open and willing to share their knowledge effectively. I would like to emphasize that the reason I continue to climb with AAI is because of the guides. The guides are the heart and soul of the company and are the real interface of AAI with the client. The AAI Denali Program is strong and logistically sound. Best Adventure of my life. 2015 Climber
These guys consistently used every opportunity to teach us how to be better climbers. I was impressed how they would tutor us, but not treat us like children. They expected us to be experienced climbers and demanded that we rise to the occasion. It was great. Both of these guys are top notch guides, super cool to hang out with. Super cool to hang out with. I normally have suggestions, but this trip was blessed with great guides and a strong climb team. I wouldn't have changed anything. 2015 Climber
Phenomenal, one of the best trips of my life. My guides were exceptional, both Willie and Danny are incredibly skilled guides, with super strong experience. Excellent communicators, with strong desire to impart their knowledge to make you better. Lodging was incredible. 2014 Climber
Yes I enjoyed this expedition very much! The backdrop of Denali National Park is amazing. The program was well organized and scheduled to optimize the chance of success for a summit which we did. The food was phenomenal despite the austere environment. Sam & Kira are fantastic guides. We had a few weather challenges and the every so brief navigational issue and they were all over it. I was never concerned for my safety and their leadership abilities put me at ease the entire trip. Overall this was a 10! I believe the guides along with the individual clients can really make or break the whole program. I can't say enough about how great Sam & Kira both were. On 2 different occasions we had sick teammates and they went out of their way to make sure they were properly cared for - including carrying down someone's backpack and sled on the last day - total beast! 2014 Climber
My expedition was great. Weather prevented a safe summit, but the mountain will always be there so its ok. The quality, as always is above all the rest. Eating better, living better and having more fun than other companies' trips is always awesome. This is why I climb with AAI. Always the best guides, with the most experience, keeping us safe when it matters. I'm not new to AAI so I know how great everyone is from the day I send the application in to the very last question I have late at night when Gordon responds almost instantly. Just fantastic! The food was excellent, eating pizza and bacon cheese burgers at 14000ft is something special. There was always plenty to go around so we could eat as much as we wanted. Its amazing what can be cooked that far into the wilderness. 2014 Climber
Immensely enjoyed the expedition. It was the most amazing and challenging outdoor experience of my life, so far. The guides were nothing short of excellent. They were polite, helpful, communicative, knowledgeable, highly skilled, excellent cooks, safety conscious and clearly very comfortable leading clients in the high alpine environment on Denali. I continue to learn many useful skills every time I climb with AAI. Roping up with sleds, self-care in a cold environment, traveling, recovery, etc. were all practiced on this expedition. They were great. The entire team, guides and clients, functioned very well as a team. I couldn't have hoped for a better group of guides. Seth, Tom, and Micah were excellent. This was my third trip with AAI. I knew what to expect. The office and admin communications were clear, timely, and helpful in preparing for the expedition. Fireweed was an excellent and very comfortable place to gather prior to the trip. The food was very good. The mix of group gear and supplies was dialed-in perfectly. Good preparation, a strong team, great logistics, and exceptional guiding were the key strengths. No weaknesses come to mind. 2014 Climber
I enjoyed everything about the expedition except for the weather conditions. They demonstrated tremendous leadership and decision making skills. I thought they were outstanding in every way and was very confident in placing my life in their hands. Each of the guides constantly shared his experience and knowledge with us. Clearly a first rate organization with tremendous resources both on and off the mountain. I also thought the climber screening process was appropriate given the clear prerequisites to climb Denali. 2014 Climber
This is an awesome program that has been carefully planned and put together by Alpine Ascents. The level of preparation required by participants is very high however, Alpine Ascents makes sure months in advance that participants train accordingly. Denali is a difficult mountain not only for the level of exertion required but also the variability of the weather. Guides chosen by Alpine Ascents know the mountain well and make sure safety rules are followed at all times. In general, I am very happy in having chosen Alpine Ascents for the climb, thanks to Phil, Danny and the office staff for making this possible. Denali has been in my list for some time and being honest, even if I trained 'by the book' to make sure I was prepared, I still was not sure I would be able to reach the summit. This is a hard climb and the way the program is structured helped me reach my goal. Pablo. Denali 2013
Excellent, very well planned and executed for logistics and timing of pre-mountain activities. Thanks for a great trip, good logistics, great guides and travelling companions and great weather. Stephen. Denali 2013
I was extremely impressed with the AAI Denali climb. It exceeded my expectations and reaching the summit of Denali was one of the best experiences of my life. The guides were awesome, the logistics were well taken care of, and safety was always paramount. All 3 of our guides showed that they were very knowledgeable and skilled in the arena of mountaineering. It was clear they were experienced guides and they always had a good handle on the situation. The logistics and guiding were all phenomenal. Trip planning and support was also great. Chad. Denali 2013
"Loved it. Much better than my Brand X Denali expedition last year I attribute this to perhaps higher screening standards with AAI. Also more menu diversity with AAI which was appreciated. Finally, I LOVED the fact that AAI handed us 15 lbs of lunch food at Willi's hangar. With other outfits we were simply were told to bring all of our own lunch food, and because a lot of us didn't have experience packing lunches for three weeks, we didn't give ourselves as much interesting and delicious stuff as was handed to us by AAI." Andrew. Denali 2012
"I also wanted to say that Kirah and Brien are wonderful, professional guides. They gave me great encouragement to keep me going, I had to descend on an Brand X rope, and the difference in guide quality was unbelievable; Alpine Ascents clearly has the best guides in the business. The food was great (and abundant), the guide's attitudes were everything I could have asked for, and the environment they provided was perfect for climbing and having a great time while doing so. I spent some time with Team 5 (Stuart and Lhawang) and they are clearly of the same caliber. Once I got down, Ellie was a great help in assisting with my arrangements to get me back home. I look forward to more trips in the future with AAI!" Eric. Denali 2012
"I cannot express how satisfied I am with this trip!!! Thank you for everything =))" Denali climber 2012
"I thoroughly enjoyed the expedition I was especially impressed with the management of details, such as planning a variety of delicious meals and the schedule on the mountain which put our group in the best position to summit the mountain. Overall I thought the expedition was fantastic! " Denali climber 2012
"I was extremely impressed with the overall program, from the information we received beforehand to prepare for the trip, the PDF documents and lists, the emails we received, the rapid response to our queries from Gordon Janow and the input from Willi and Ellie in Talkeetna. The way everything was prepared and weighed and checked in the hangar before we left made me feel so secure that we were in good hands! The strengths are definitely in all its planning and years of experience of running these sorts of expeditions. It was very clear to us that this was a very well organized and well run outfit." - Liesl W. 2011 Climber
"I thought AAI lived up to its reputation as a great company to climb with. Both guides were very competent and I liked how you required everyone on the team to complete some sort of Prep course. That made the reviewing of skills much easier." - Ryan E. 2011 Climber
"Seth and Devon were exceptional, and I would climb with them again." - Steve R. 2011 Climber
"Climbing with Alpine Ascents under the guiding / leadership of Don and Sarah Carpenter was up there with the best expeditions that I have been on. Their professionalism and easy-going personalities made it interesting and fun. A great adventure and learning experience." - John L. 2011 Climber
"As with my previous experiences with AAI, the Denali program was very well put together and logistically sound; from the skills reviews and client evaluations to the thoughtfulness put into the food/meal selections. Also, I want to be sure to call out one of the primary reasons AAI has been my outfitter for the last decade-plus...the dedication to client safety. As I am sure you know, I fell significantly ill on this trip, contracting AMS and moderate HAPE during the push from 14,000' to 17,000'. The care and attention from AAI (including directly from Mike Abbey and the support of Willie Prittie, Eric Larson and the other AAI groups on the mountain) along with the coordination with the National Park Service was nothing less than flawless. I am in awe of the level of care and attention I received with my safety being paramount in everyone's focus, and I am and will continue to be grateful for it. The safety of clients as #1 priority (including partnership and coordination with the National Park Service), the guide's character and leadership, overall planning and logistics, schedule flexibility on the mountain, provide an overall 'experience' and not just a 'get-'em-up-get-'em-down' mentality to climbing, environmental concern and consideration.
Every trip I've taken with Alpine Ascents has been of the highest quality, with every possible contingency thought of and planned for. I say just keep doing what you're doing - you're the recognized experts when it comes to mountaineering expeditions, and it's a well-deserved reputation! I've been working with AAI for 11 years now and have never even thought about using another outfitter." Mike K. 2010 Denali Climber.
"The program was excellently tailored to minimize climber burnout and maximize acclimatization, giving as many members of the team as possible the best opportunity at being in the best possible physical condition for a summit bid. The climber/guide ratio was good and the logistics were incredibly well attended to, with equipment, food, supplies, transportation, and preparation materials as close to perfect as possible. It was clear that AAI takes these expeditions very seriously and has made a commitment to making them successful. I would highly recommend AAI to others interested in climbing Denali." - JS
"Excellent - both guides were of the highest quality." Martha M
"Our leaders were superb and ...., Alpine Ascents seemed to be very respected by other guided groups on the mountain. Based on what I saw on the mountain and in various camps, I think our guides were some of the best on the mountain. Many thanks and I'll surely be climbing with AAI again in the future." Bryan S.
"Outstanding program (as have been all of my Alpine Ascents climbs). Our guide Dave Kratsch has excellent leadership skills. Our assistant was careful not to overstep his role as assistant guide but I am confident he will be a strong leader when he is lead guide.With the exception of my first guided climb in 2003 I have always used Alpine Ascents. Your materials are very helpful but even more so your office staff." Louis M.
"Alpine Ascents' reputation is top notch within the industry. I appreciate the high quality guides provided on my climbs so far. They always seem to be the yardstick that other services measure their guides to. It is always a silent pleasure on my part to see other guides on climbs come and get advice from Alpine Ascents guides on the particular climb." Matt M.
"If you want a first rate unparalleled experience, you will go with Alpine Ascents. I am biased of course, but I have had friends go to the same mountain with different services only to find themselves going back with Alpine Ascents because it just can't be done any better, any safer, and any more professional and courteous than those guys and gals. If you follow their plan, chances are with a little luck - after a couple of great weeks, you will find yourself in a position to get to the top - the right way. Every step they take you though from the gear check in Talkeetna, to the day you set foot back in base camp... you listen to these guys and gals and you will leave a better climber, a smarter climber, and a safer climber - with the proper respect for the mountains and the outdoors." -Brian P.
"Our expedition was a superb trip. A once-in-a-lifetime adventure. I cannot say enough good things about my guides. They were superb for twenty days of trial and tribulations. By the time my expedition was over I considered them both good friends. That is as good of a compliment as I can give!" -Jeff C.
"The expedition was of the absolute highest quality. I was especially impressed with the high level of coordination between Alpine Ascents group. This helped us out from a logistics standpoint." Jay H.
"This was an extremely well-run, well-organized expedition. Time and again we saw our guides make judgment calls which were clearly vindicated compared to other group's decisions. These were the most impressive guides I've ever traveled with. Not only were they extremely strong and skilled, but they were not aloof and they took an interest in us and talked to us as friends, not clients." -Connor R.
"This was a superb trip in every respect. Organization and logistics were flawless. Both guides were extremely professional but also fun and personable. I would climb with either of them again without a second thought. The highest compliment I can give is that I plan to climb with Alpine Ascents again." -John K.
"Could not have been better! Our guides instilled enormous confidence in us, made us feel completely relaxed, while at the same time keeping us humble and mindful of the seriousness of our endeavor. They combined all this with a huge quotient of fun and laughter. They are truly gifted as teachers and leaders. They inspired us and were patient with us and seemed to genuinely enjoy seeing us learn and become as engaged in the journey as they were."-Michelle M.
"Alpine Ascents is at the top of my list when it comes to expedition leaders, particularly by the level of expertise and professionalism embodied by Vern." -Victor V.
"I was seeking a life time experience on a major mountain and I got it." -Fred W.
"Outstanding in every area - knowledge, skill and calm, confident leadership. Way beyond my furthest expectations!" -Elton D.
I had a great expedition. We had a blast, were very safe, and successfully summited. I had never done an expedition like this, and it was a fantastic experience. My guides put the interests of the group first and adhered to what they said the first day: #1 was safety, #2 was fun/enjoyment, and #3 was summiting. They were very good about helping us to become better mountaineers/campers/climbers/etc. Instead of just telling us what to do, they told us why it was important. Yes. They were great! They even continued to "hang out" with us in Mendoza after the trip was completed. Nick also had great hair. They both had excellent singing abilities as well. My preparation materials were very comprehensive and helped me prepare for the climb. I especially liked how open and helpful the gear shop was so as to ensure that I was fully prepared with everything that I would need to be successful.
I did enjoy the expedition very much. I consider it very well planed and executed. The information and material provided well in advance allowed me to be well prepared and make the most of the experience. The team of guides was well complemented among the three and were very good leaders. Each one of the three were very strong in a different way and the three were able to, on an ongoing basis, help and teach team members according to the circumstances. Brien has a very good combination of overall experience, theoretical and practical knowledge and had previous experience in Aconcagua. Josh is a always ready and willing to assist in basic and practical details, and Mariano has very deep experience in Aconcagua plus in 8,000's in extreme conditions. All of that combined well in order to help team members overcome circumstances faced over the course of the expedition. All material provided ahead of time was very helpful. I contacted the office with different needs (i.e. questions about gear, need to book extra night at the hotel, etc.), and they were always very accessible and thorough with their answers. I also had contact few times with Brien previous to the expedition to bounce thoughts and questions re details of the expedition and he was always available and willing to take the time to support me. Food was overall very good, considering the conditions. We had great treats such as quesadillas and pizza, which were well appreciated! It was also very much appreciated the effort from the guides to cater for us, especially considering they had, at least, worked as hard as the rest of the team to reach our camp sites. Some of those nights they were real superb taking food and hot water to the tents considering the wind and cold of the night. Strengths – Excellent planning. Excellent material to prepare for the expedition, from the equipment part as well as recommendations for training. Excellent execution. I particularly appreciate keeping flexibility so guides at the site can make important decisions considering the conditions being faced (in our case it was critical to decide to skip a rest day in order to have better weather for summit day). Facilities and support at base camp was great. I consider a major point having the quality of local guides that we got with Mariano. Weakness – No major weakness identified from my side.
I really enjoyed the expedition, guides were very organized and in all time it was present the technical resources, as well as the experience of a very well supported company. I always felt secure and confident in all the activities performed. The three guides demonstrate leadership skills that make me feel confident and secure in all their actions. I really enjoy Brien's ability to coach us at all times; it is visible that he works in Education, because his explanations are always very clear. Josh was always available to re-explain any order or activity, as well as Mariano. I really think that we had a pretty good team of guides that help us to summit, we owe them our team success. Our guides were personable and easy to get along with, and at the same time they were good leaders that help us to get the summit. I think that all the reminders and training statements are very important, because them keep us focused in the expedition at all times, no matter how many weeks left to start. The hotels selected for lodging are perfect, with all the comforts, as well as excellent facilities, in addition to wonderful restaurants. It is important to mention, that the food provided in all our camps was perfect, our guides always were committed to give us wonderful meals. For me, the complete program is perfect, and I really congratulate Alpine Ascents for the good guides that you have.
I did enjoy the expedition. I would book again with Alpine Ascents in the future. Alpine Ascents did a good job at explaining the physical demands of this climb. The programs greatest strength is the logistics provided by your company.
It was really well organized, starting from AAI staff here in Seattle, (Matt & Adam) but carrying through all the way. Pretty much everything possible was done to make things run smoothly.
The expedition was well managed and guided. All 3 guides did an excellent job above all Lakpa who went out of his way to help us out with our miscellaneous issues.
The program was excellent and the Guides executed it perfectly
Outstanding trip! It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. All the guides were terrific. After a long hiatus from mountaineering, I came on this trip to see if I could still acclimate. Having answered that question, it's now on to the Himalayas! The program has no weaknesses that I could point to. The strengths are almost too numerous to recite here. The guides were even tempered, patient and knowledgeable. The route selection made the peak aesthetic to be on. The acclimation schedule ensured that everyone had the best opportunity to reach their personal goals. While personally, I have climbed a lot of technical peaks I found the guides handling of the broad range of experience levels to be excellent. The quality was so good, that I will be giving serious thought to climbing with your group in the Himalayas.
Excellent. I can't say enough good things. It was very well organized, and in the face of any hiccups there was always a plan, or options, and our guides always ensured we stayed as informed as possible. Their knowledge of the mountain was very good, they were instructive and helpful, and they fostered a great atmosphere. They adjusted the program as needed to suit our situation regarding the weather and acclimatization. And the food was very good too. The strengths would be the great organization, the great guides, good choice of tents, and good food. Overall, it really is an excellent program.
Excellent!!! Food great, guides couldn´t ask for anything better, no complaints at all, only great recommendations!
"As with my other experiences with your company, this trip was fantastic. You run a tight ship over there. Your guide was amazing. With that said, rest assured the next trip I sign up for (Denali from the looks of it) I will be requesting a date with him specifically as the lead guide."
"Expedition was great. I really liked the way we pushed it up the mountain in order to get ourselves into position to summit. Guides were great as well as their understanding of leadership." 2012
"Our guides were terrific. It was a great experience that met all my expectations."
"Strengths – 4 camps which made acclimatizing better and summiting easier. Climbing with a legend like Lakpa Rita was amazing. The pace of the climb, while slow at times, allowed for everyone to acclimatize easily. "
"Outstanding. The guides were excellent. The planning was terrific. Food was exceptional. Everything was perfect."
"Aconcagua was one of the best experiences in my life!!! A truly awesome mountain!!! My overall opinion of the program would be EXCELLENT!!! Truly do NOT know how you could make it any better. Every single aspect of the expedition was covered and we were given EVERY opportunity to succeed and reach the summit with safety always at the forefront of all decisions that were made by our guides. Over the years, Alpine Ascents has truly made Aconcagua a home away from home and there really are no weaknesses that need to be addressed......if someone truly wants an honest chance to summit this amazing mountain, there should be no other choice in the world except for Alpine Ascents.....excellent job!!!" - Chris F.
"The trip was very well organized and the guides very experienced and professional. Our group became very close and the trip was enjoyed by all. I would highly recommend Alpine Ascents International to anyone who wanted a top quality adventure experience. I look forward to climbing with you again in the future." Isaac H.
"Every aspect of the trip from airport pick up to summit was well thought out and executed. We lost a tent at camp 4. Under those conditions is when true leadership comes out. Lakpa and Garret were terrific handling that situation and getting us to the summit the next morning. The personal attention paid to the climbers to get them to the summit was above and beyond the call, it is the reason I use Alpine Ascents. A safe and successful climb, having the opportunity to climb and learn from Garret and Lakpa, a great time in Mendoza, all of my personal goals were exceeded. The program delivered everything promised." Todd M.
“Throughout the trip, my impression was that no expense was spared and that the guides’ primary goals were to keep everybody safe and give them all the best possible shot at succeeding on the mountain. This differs from prior experiences I have had with other companies and was a welcome change” Alex I.
“The program was outstanding. Flawless logistics (from airport pickup through entire climb), great office support, world class guides (best on mountain without questions), proven itinerary. Everything was top shelf. It sunk in on Day 5 when I realized that other guided groups on the mountain were asking our guides for advice – it became clear that I had made a great decision on a guiding company.” Mark A.
“As always Alpine does a fantastic job at meeting and exceeding my expectations, and Aconcagua was no different. The entire experience was well-thought and well-planned…the organization, leadership and execution made the trip a success and allowed us clients to focus on the climb. “ Mike K.
"The strengths were clearly the experience and knowledge brought by the guides, the thorough planning which provided us with excellent food considering the conditions, and most of all the sensible approach to planning the climb which gave everyone a good chance of summiting and acclimatizing properly when other groups were clearly rushing too quickly and failing. Alpine Ascents is clearly far more professional and inspire a great deal more confidence in their approach." Nick O.
"It was a trip to remember. I thought everything went very smooth and on schedule. Like past trips with Alpine Ascents, this climb was excellent. What can I say, Alpine Ascents is unequaled." Bob S.
"Surpassed my expectations in every way. The guides and organization skills were superb. Even the food was better. The interaction between base camp and higher camps worked very well. I can honestly find no weaknesses." Ian K.
"There is no question that Alpine Ascents is the best group to climb with. This is my second time climbing with Alpine Ascents an the experience only cemented my opinions that this is a group dedicated to providing great guides, a terrific experience and a safe environment. Everyone I have come into contact with from Alpine Ascents has been professional, courteous and extremely good at their job. I would not hesitate to recommend Alpine Ascents International, and I am looking forward to my next climbs with your team." Omar A.
"The expedition was fantastic. It was extremely well organized, met almost all the needs of the participants without compromising the "rigged" nature of the endeavor, was fun, and was made as safe as possible. The guides were awesome - knowledgeable, attentive, but also respecting the desire of the participants to retain their individual styles. And the mountain is awesome of course. Glen D.
"My Aconcagua expedition experience with Alpine Ascents was outstanding! Every aspect of the expedition was flawlessly planned and executed to help ensure maximum safety, enjoyment and summit success. I could not have been more satisfied with the overall experience. Jeff D.
"I was very impressed and satisfied with the expedition. Compared to other guiding companies on Aconcagua, Alpine Ascents seemed to have better food, better/longer acclimatization process, more flexibility in schedule, and the only group to have a permanent base camp at a great location. These are some of the factors that allowed our group such a high success rate when seeking the summit." Kevin G
"Aconcagua has been for me one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and I congratulate you and all at Alpine Ascents for your superb professionalism. I look forward to possible future trips and thank you once again for a marvelous experience. My guides were unsurpassed." -Ian W.
"It was an extremely professionally arranged expedition. I could not find fault with any aspect of our trip. We summited; made good friends; came back safely. Excellent guides who could not have worked harder. Correct balance number of clients. Good quality hired equipment." -Mike S.
"Well planned and designed. Willi is very knowledgeable and a terrific leader. His knowledge and industry expertise is a terrific asset. At the start of the expedition Willi had three goals, 1) everyone returns from the trip; 2) everyone returns with fingers and toes; 3) everyone returns friends. These goals set the tone for the expedition and Willi was successful in meeting his goals!" -Seymour R.
"I was in need of a vacation in a big way, and really enjoyed myself. I also learned a few new tricks from the guides. On this trip the guides were very forthcoming with information. I like to "hear" the thought process that goes into decision making. Thanks. " -Harry C.
"It was a wonderful experience on all fronts - very professionally done."-Dan B.
"As well as being professional, the guide team was excellent fun and made the expedition really enjoyable." -Jacqueline Q.
"The expedition was a balanced mix of struggle, hardship, reward and joy as I expected it. Willi exhibited an encyclopedic knowledge on mountaineering, equipment, S. America and all other subjects. He kept us well fed, safe, amused and comfortable. He is an excellent guide and an excellent person."-George H.
"Excellent, very organized; virtually hassle-free. The guide was top notch - world class - excellent -very confident; in control, excellent source of information, very patient and very helpful to all. " - Gorman L.
"I felt our expedition was a complete success. We had the good fortune of having a great group of people and everything was incredibly well organized from start to finish. " - Tao T.
"Biggest strength was the flexibility/extra time built into the schedule. " -Robert W.
"It far exceeded any expectations I may have had … I cannot imagine having done this with anyone but Alpine Ascents. " -2015 Climber
"Fantastic trip, people, mountain, guides, etc. A really special experience for me. " -2015 Climber
"3 The expedition was awesome. We were successful, the weather was awesome, and everything went smoothly. We were the best team on the mountain. " -2015 Climber
"Guides were excellent. Laid back and very easy to get along with, yet professional and serious when they needed to be. " -2015 Climber
Overall it was a great experience. I think Alpine does everything first class regarding the mountain climb and the experience shows with how smooth the overall operation was. Tom was great, he genuinely seemed to care about our well being and would go the extra mile to make sure we were doing well. He was constantly communicating with us on what to expect and making sure we were doing the right things to make sure were as healthy as we could be to make the summit and back down in style. The fact that Tom is an EMT and brings additional medicines with him is invaluable on the mountain in case something goes wrong. Tom's experience was invaluable. Everything was spot on. Every aspect of the trip went off without a hitch and that is a testament to the entire Alpine staff's efforts and information provided before and during the trip. All staff were responsive to my questions and seemed eager to assist in any way possible. This is truly helpful to put your mind at ease, particularly for those who haven't done this type of trip before and those who don't regularly visit 3rd world countries. Mountain itinerary was perfect, particularly the fact that you all get the permit for the High Kosovo camp which makes summit day much easier. Coordination throughout the trip was perfect. Local Company provided a great staff that provided great service on the mountain.
I loved the expedition to Kilimanjaro as well as the subsequent 4 day safari in Tanzania. The mountain, the staff and the challenge will forever be a part of my life time "bucketlist" trips! Eric was terrific. He has an easy going vibe which works to his advantage in handling all the jitters the newbies on the mountain brought his way. His years of experience were very evident in his ability to handle a few of the members of the team who were dealing with altitude sickness. And, his respect for the African team including porters and guides, was obvious as they all had equal respect for him. Eric's knowledge and respect for the African culture was impressive and set the stage for a great learning opportunity for me, personally. I loved the lodges...the locations were incredible!! The staff at all the lodges were joyous and made the African safari experience so special. The accommodations were good and more than I expected for the price. As I was always famished, I found the food at each lodge diverse, plentiful and good. There was always something for everyone! The program's strengths are all highlighted above. I did LOVE the porters singing every night and saved their rendition of "Hakuna Matata" as a ringtone on my phone. And, I am not sure I have anything to point out as a weakness, honestly I had the most marvelous time and would recommend Alpine Ascents to anyone. Thanks for a memorable and awesome bucket list trip!!
Overall experience exceeded all expectations. Eric is a master guide; knowledgeable, personable, great communicator, tremendous leadership; he has it all, in spades. He is a great communicator, thoughtful, well spoken and extraordinarily knowledgeable, with great judgment as he lead and guided people through this experience. I have done several trips like this with other companies. This was clearly the standout; While everything was great, you have a superstar in Eric Murphy. He never missed a thing, his attention to detail was perfect and his ability to advise, share information, coach and support people through the climb was terrific. Kudos to all at Alpine Ascents and Eric Murphy!!!
This was a fantastic trip and experience. My daughter and I found the overall effort to be professional, organized and very supportive. Not sure how it would be done better. Our guide did an excellent job. His experience was obvious in both terms of the climb and in managing the group. He kept a good balance between direction and motivation, ensuring that everyone had a good opportunity to summit. And he did it in supportive manner. He provided solid, understandable instruction. More importantly, he shared his experiences and helped everyone understand that the climb would be at times difficult and frustrating. And that is to be expected but to remain focused on the goal to be reached. That was consistent and positive message that proved very helpful. Good sense of humor. Empathetic while remaining focused on the overall group and the objectives. The reminders were helpful. I believe most people underestimate the difficulty of this climb. I was pretty fit physically for the effort but still found it a challenge. Nonetheless, I thought the materials conveyed the difficulties and requirements in a fair, comprehensive way. Alpine Ascents has a strong reputation; one of the reasons we selected your organization. Our experience confirmed and enhanced that reputation. We will always value the experience and will look for other trips. And if Eric is the leader, all the better. But no doubt his professionalism and attitude are very much part of the firm's culture.
I thoroughly enjoyed the expedition! From beginning to end, every question and detail was addressed to ensure our satisfaction and a successful summit attempt. Eric, our guide, was friendly, very knowledgeable and professional. The local guides and camp staff only added to the quality of the experience. One of the reasons I signed up for Kilimanjaro was to be knocked out of my comfort zone and this trip did not disappoint! Thank you!
Our 3-hour orientation and gear check on the first day set the tone for the rest of the expedition. Eric's approach was detailed & methodical. Expectations for each day's trek were clearly communicated the night before, as well as throughout the day. Eric made it a point to touch base with each of us to see how were doing. It was also clear from watching Eric's interaction with the local guides and porters that they enjoy working with him and that he has earned their respect.
I don't think there is one piece of that mountain that Eric doesn't know! Information was shared during breaks on the trek, at meals, or anytime any one of us asked a question. Preventing altitude sickness was a priority, and "self-care" steps were reviewed often. I got the sense there wasn't a situation Eric hasn't dealt with in all his years of guiding. It was very comforting!
I appreciated Eric's straightforward, no-nonsense approach. Communication from the home office was just the right amount and comprehensive. The email we received from Eric in early June with additional suggestions gave us plenty of time to get last minute items. No issues with the group equipment or tents. I was grateful to have latrines, especially when I had to get up at 3am, and fortunate to end up with a tent to myself! The food was varied and good!
Experienced guides - Eric, especially, and the local guides.
Information shared before expedition on email and verbally during the expedition.
The positive attitude & willingness to help demonstrated by the local guides, camp staff, etc.
Staying in the Arusha hotel pre and post expedition.
Cybercast updates for family & friends.
The Kili expedition is a well-oiled machine - details are anticipated and covered. As example: we arrived at Mweka gate with muddy boots, poles, etc. While we ate a buffet lunch(!), one of the staff washed all of our boots & equipment. That was not expected and greatly appreciated.
None, really. I could not be more delighted with my experience during the entire trip and would highly recommend AAI to anyone considering an expedition. You set the standard!
Climbing Kilimanjaro had been a personal dream for quite a while, so the realization of that dream on this trip was very special. When I read Ben's qualifications on the Alpine Ascents website, Ben was easy to talk to, and I think the entire team learned valuable and transferrable lessons for high-altitude climbing. From previous lower-altitude trips, I had a general sense of the importance of energy conservation, rest stepping, pressure breathing, etc., but thanks to this trip and Ben's mentoring, I'll hopefully carry those techniques forward with more skill on future climbing trips. Many friends and family followed along on the Apline Ascents Cybercast. This is an excellent expedition feature, and Ben did an excellent job with his recorded communications and pictures. I think the most concise statement of overall administrative effectiveness I can share is that I was able to participate with absolutely no surprises and arrived properly-equipped. I'm a big eater, and on other trips with other companies have left meals hungry, but not on this trip. Meals were delicious and well-suited for the nutritional requirements of our climb.
The overall trip was awesome. The staff from made me feel like a king. The food was delicious. The guides were awesome. Ellen was an awesome resource as preparing for the climb.
Amazing trip. Trip organized very well with no problems. Eric organized everything down to the last detail. Hotel was great, transportation was always arranged, few dinners in Arusha were fantastic and the climb/safari was great. He passed on a lot of helpful information on climbing and dealing with the high altitudes. Eric is a great communicator. The climbing team also did an amazing job. Overall, this was a great trip and very well organized. Strength is definitely Eric and the rest of the Tanzanian climbing team. The cook on the mountain was amazing. All exceeded expectations.
Arusha: Excellent accommodations, staff very friendly & helpful, food & services also excellent. Climb: Couldn't have been better. Organization, staff, logistics, food, accommodations, gear, route, and schedule were all excellent. Safari: Marvelous experience. Learned a lot. Accommodations were outstanding. Well organized. Overall: John Hauf is a very effective leader. He did an excellent job managing the many aspects of the overall expedition. Always present at key times, kept us well informed, seemed to have the respect of everyone involved. Climb: Great guide – set boundaries and expectations, but let us discover the adventure for ourselves, effectively taught needed skills, positive attitude, unobtrusively observed the team and quietly made suggestions and adjustments to maximize success and build confidence, by manner and style the type of person with whom I like to be, a quality person, support team and operations seemed to function very well. Safari: John (safari guide) very friendly, knowledgeable, organized, thoughtful, fun. Kept us well informed. Ellen is a gem. She was very helpful, friendly, knowledgeable, and responsive. Her follow-up was all we could have hoped for. She communicated effectively and quickly. She was able to handle last minute adjustments to our Arusha accommodations in the midst of the trip. Gordon, as always, was very helpful on questions that other people were not able to answer. The information is quite complete and well done. I found the statements about performance expectations particularly helpful as they provided a benchmark for my training outcomes. My experience was what I have come to appreciate about Alpine Ascents: friendly, helpful, efficient and professional. I received good advice on the gear I was considering and the gear was shipped right away. I was kept informed via timely e-mails along the way.
I absolutely enjoyed the expedition. It was first class all the way. I was very impressed with the meals and even the porta potties (they were a great surprise to me!) John was a fabulous leader, and couldn't have been more aware and reactive to all needs. He oversaw the rest of the great guides. The other guides always seemed to be in the right place whenever necessary. I was the slowest climber in our group and the support I received from the guides could not have been better, between their suggestions and encouragement.
I did enjoy the expedition very much. Everything was well-organized. Eric is a great guide. The team was amazing. The food too : ) Eric is an amazing guide. I learnt so much from him. He definitely helped me to reach the top. Also he took us for two wonderful dinners. Finally, Eric seemed to work a great network of Tanzanians. He treats them with respect, he can speak some Tanzanian with them. I really like that. The rest of the guides were awesome too, very helpful, friendly, informative. Eric very patiently described every single step, equipment, Tanzanian culture etc.. We could and we did ask lots of questions - he answered all of them. He calmed down all concerns. He was everywhere we needed him. I can see many strengths: i) trip management / planning - starting from hotels to team who took care of us, ii) definitely Eric and his team are the biggest strength of this trip, iii) the route - nice landscape plus helped me to adjust for high altitude, iv) additional activities - city tour, dinners. To sum up, I am very happy that we chose Alpine Ascents and I would very highly recommend your company and especially Eric for Kilimanjaro trip.
Great trip, Went just as noted on the website, Eric was in touch with us ahead of time, and kept us well prepped from start to finish. He catered very well to the needs of each individual. Guided and educated us daily as to expectations and how to handle the challenges. Was a great teacher. Likewise, our Chagga native guides were excellent, notably the lead guide Julius, was a willing educator of the mountain, and pretty much anything. Very much so. Truly felt his personal interest in our success. Really nice touch where Eric chose to host the welcome and the "congratulations" we did it dinner. Quite enjoyable, he made us feel very welcome. Great home office support, any time guidance was needed included Ellen, and Aaron for equipment. I felt very well outfitted for anything that might arise. - 2015 Climber.
The entire experience was amazing! From the initial conversations with the Alpine team in Seattle, through the actual summit experience, every question was answered and every detail addressed to ensure success on the mountain. The guides were wonderful! They were outgoing and extremely helpful – offering to assist in any way possible. Excellent equipment. The food was really good! Other climbing expeditions seemed to look on with envy. The program is wonderful! I would definitely climb with Alpine Ascents on another climb. The memories will be treasured! - 2014 Climber.
The expedition matched my high expectations. This is my third AA trip (Aconcagua-05; Denali-06) and I was pleased that your high standards have continued. I went on this trip with my 18 yr old daughter. We had a singularly memorable experience together and with the other team members. Eric was friendly, knowledgeable and engaged with the team. He was very much in sync with the Tanzanian guides and staff. He was a pleasure to spend time with and had a confident but friendly approach to his role. Eric is a well-seasoned mountaineer, but he seems to genuinely enjoy being on Kili and guiding there. That makes all the difference to the team members especially those of us who may have relatively more climbing experience than other climbers on the trip. Logistics were strong. The well-organized staff provided ample support. The expedition seems to be a well-oiled machine. - 2014 Climber.
Yes, I enjoyed it a lot. There were several "classy" touches in this trip that truly separated from similar trips I have taken with other companies. For example: this was my 2nd time climbing Mt. Kili. I used a very reputable company the 1st time, which is known to cater to high-end clients. I can tell you that this Kili trip was well above my previous one in every respect. I particularly liked the buffet lunch at the end of the trip; not necessarily because of the "eating" part of any meal, but rather because the entire Tanzanian staff (porters, guides, etc.) were invited to the buffet. Too often do companies offer everything to the clients while the local staff just sits there and watch us; it is a awkward feeling that I absolutely hate. Well done!
Well-above average and more than I was expecting. Ben was superb. His knowledge of mountain climbing, 1st aid, medical emergencies, equipment, etc., was amazing. I learned a lot about effective leadership skills from Ben, which definitely complements the leadership skills I think I have from my Air Force Academy training, and Air Force pilot military service. Ben Jones is/was the best guide I had to date. Incredible knowledgeable, very pleasant and patient, and great to be around. Is briefings were pertinent, organized, and comprehensive. In fact, I don't think the team actually asked for questions about the upcoming day because we knew it was coming. After each briefing there were very little to no questions because everything was clearly covered. I hate to use clichés, but Ben is a great asset to your company. I am a small business owner with 4 employees; Ben possesses all the qualities I look for in my working staff.
I have really have nothing to add to make this trip a better one. I have been adventure/mountain traveling for a while. I have use other companies, just as reputable; this is by far the best trip I had in a very long time. I am truly impressed. You have a customer/client for life. I guess it suffices to say that this year I have already registered for Rainier, Elbrus, Aconcagua. As soon as I get done with this review, I am registering for Island Peak.
Yes. It was great fun. The staff was great. Coming in to camps that we well placed to a welcoming group, hot water to clean up and snacks was very appreciated. The food was outstanding. The planning was great. Getting to stay at Kosovo rather than Barafu was very significant. When my friends and I started planning this trip, they initially discussed other providers. I said I would not go with anyone but Alpine Ascents. During the climb, one of my friends said she was glad I had said this. Now, after two trips Alpine Ascents, I am certain no other outfitter could match the quality of the experience. While it is most costly, the professionalism of the guides and all the great amenities are worth it.
Program was fantastic - food was plentiful and delicious, tents were of good quality, and everyone participating was helpful and caring. travel agent was fantastic & was able to make changes to our tickets at the last minute (and on a Sunday) when we needed to come home early. Our guide was extremely qualified and experienced, ran a tight ship, which was appreciated and necessary to get everyone successfully to the summit, provided much background/historical/cultural knowledge each step of the way, and was very amiable, open-minded, and approachable - highly recommend. - 2013 Climber
Yes. It was an incredible experience and extremely well executed from beginning to end. When we came across other groups both in camp and on the trail, we knew we had made the right decision to climb Kili with Alpine Ascents. Both our "Western" guide Ben and the African guides and porters really looked out for us and truly made our experience memorable. I will never forget our grueling climb to the summit in the cold and dark, made that much less so by the singing of our guides. Ben Jones is an excellent leader. He made us feel like an integral part of the team from Day 1. He obviously had the respect and admiration of all of the support staff, both the people we dealt with in Arusha as well as on the mountain. Ben's experience is impressive - and yet, he seems to enjoy each and every trip he leads and to really invest himself in making it a journey for each of us to remember and be proud of. He really stresses the importance of taking care of yourself first and foremost, and gives you the tools you need to succeed- whether reminding you (again) to pressure breathe or giving you a few words of encouragement when you need it most. Ben was extremely personable and approachable, no matter how big or small the question or concern. He kept us focused when we needed to be, but was also just fun to hang out with and talk to. He also had a great rapport with the African guides and porters, which made it all the more enjoyable for us and easier for us to also get to know them a bit as well. The Kili climb/safari is an excellent program and I would highly recommend it in particular, and Alpine Ascents in general. I would not change anything re the trip itself and will definitely be perusing your website to look for the next great adventure! - 2013 Climber
ABSOLUTLY INCREDIBLE!!! My wife and I had an amazing time I would use and recommend Alpine Ascents for any and all climbing! And look forward to and we are already planning our next adventure, not sure where and when, but we will keep in touch. Our Guide, Sarah - Absolutely one of the "BEST PEOPLE" we have ever met. She went far and above what we had expected and was always there for each and every possible thing we needed or wanted (well, within reason). And the best part, I feel we formed a lifetime friendship with a very special person. We would recommend her to anyone in the future. On Day 7 (final ascent) she was incredible. Somehow she appeared at every turn and would ask each and every one of us how we were and generally "got us to the top", this made the trip worth every dollar!
The Climb - It was 8 days that rivaled some of the best times I have ever had, and I have done some incredible things in my 50 years. Day 7 was as Sarh said, "Type 2 Fun" to the fullest! I have done and love to do very tough things, and bar none, the 7 ½ hours to the top were the toughest hours of my life! I hated and enjoyed every moment as we went up and now looking back, wouldn't trade for anything.
Safari - Looking back, the safari had at least as much, if not more on an impact on me personally than the trek! I loved every minute.. Our driver (Edwin) was superb and lead us through every mile with exceptional knowledge of the animals and the environment. The lodging was "beyond the call" and made the end of each day a complete experience.
The pre-adventure emails with check lists and other pertinent info: All info was superb and spot on! Now that I have gotten back and looked, all items we would need were covered! I closing, I thank you and all of the Alpine Ascents family for making this such and great vacation for me, my wife and the rest of the group!!! We really enjoyed ourselves and can't wait for our next adventure - 2013 Climber
Absolutely! Everything from general coordination and accommodations to small details like the flowers on the table in our dining tent was amazing. No detail was overlooked and if there were ever issues of any kind then they were handled by the guides because I was never aware of any concerns. Everything was top notch. All of the guides were wonderful and John especially embodies a leader in all ways - but was also a teacher and brought out those skills and qualities in all of us. Not only did the guides lead and teach by example, but John especially is a teacher by nature and helped us see how to problem solve any issues on our own. I feel I learned a lot from all of the guides - Swahili, backpacking and climbing skills, nutrition/hydration, dealing with altitude, and general information about the mountain, Tanzania, the culture, etc. by the end the entire crew felt like a big family. I still miss everyone! Everything was top of the line. I was amazed at the 5 course meals we had all day long - and a snack pack every day! All of it was wonderful. The guys in the gear department were SO helpful and patient! Not only did they get me all of the rental gear I needed in plenty of time but they also helped me pick out just the right items to purchase. I was glad to rent my gear prior to arrival in Tanzania as I think the people who waited and rented in Arusha had some difficulties. AA does so much so well that it would be difficult to list all of the strengths! Clearly everything is well organized and executed. Our group was the envy of the mountain! You have found some great guides and crew - so keep doing what you're doing! - 2013 Climber
I enjoyed this trip very much-everything went very smoothly. The details in the trip information-how much cash to bring and the gear list really helped. John's leadership style works very well for this trip. He encouraged some independent thinking and decision making while keeping us all operating within very safe boundaries and moving along toward the goals of the trip. The information he gave and the anecdotes he passed on were fantastic. The lead local guides (Safi and the other folks from BIG) were also super easy to talk to and full of amazing information. They really helped us stay motivated on summit day! Everything was excellent-better than expected! The food was incredible. Our cook (Hudson) needs to write a cook book. I'd buy one in a heartbeat. - 2013 Climber
I thoroughly enjoyed our expedition and was impressed with all phases of the trip from preparation, the climb, and follow up. The quality was higher than my expectations and I will definitely use Alpine Ascents again. Sarah was amazing from start to finish. She is a highly competent mountaineer, leader, and an absolute professional in everything she does. I would highly recommend her to anyone. She went above and beyond to organize all details and her leadership was the key to our entire team's successful summit of Kilimanjaro. I have great respect for Sarah's prior experience and for the method in which she shared her knowledge. She has great confidence in her ability with no ego about her achievements. This strength reassured the entire team in challenging moments and lead to a successful summit for all team members. Gordon and Ellen were amazingly responsive throughout our planning process. The rental shop was easy to deal with and provided quality gear. I was amazed by the high quality at every stage of the trip. The Arusha hotel had a great location and staff. The Sopa lodges were absolutely amazing. The camps were well prepared by the porters and staged perfectly. I was thoroughly impressed with the entire organization. Our trip was nearly 18 months in preparation for a private party of 15 people. We selected Alpine Ascents 9 months prior to the trip. All of the staff were amazingly helpful and responsive. Sarah Carpenter is an outstanding guide and her experience helped assure our entire team's success on the summit. I intend to use Alpine Ascents again in the future based on my positive experiences. - 2013 Climber
"I though the program (and my overall experience) was fantastic. I greatly appreciated the communication with office staff before the trip. The coordination upon arrival in Arusha was also excellent. And the actual 7-day climb exceeded my high expectations. Though it was one of the hardest physical challenges I've experienced, I enjoyed every day. Everything was extremely well-organized. I will always be grateful to Ben Jones, the Tanzanian guides, the Tanzanian porters and support staff, and my fellow climbers for an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience. I truly found Ben to be a phenomenal leader. I consider him a natural leader who effectively managed 11 different personalities with confidence and humour. He was informative, supportive and encouraging and yet also set limits as needed (for example, when we often got ahead of ourselves with questions about the summit despite summit day being 3 days away!) It is clear that he enjoys his job and this translated into an enjoyable experience for all of the climbers. I don't doubt that Alpine Ascents has many excellent guides, but would actively seek out trips for which Ben is guiding in the future." Adrienne K.
"Logistics were well organized, everything fell into place and even the smallest details were looked after. Assigning an Alpine Ascents guide is an excellent idea for providing a good flow of communication (especially if there's a problem or issue). Ben Jones is an excellent guide and a veritable asset to Alpine Ascents. He communicates well, is extremely patient, informative and consistent throughout our week with him. Ben has an agreeable, positive and motivating attitude for his clients. He is upbeat, gives positive feedback to his clients and is obviously regarded with much respect and affection by the Tanzanian guides and porters. What I especially appreciated about Ben was his ability to find a strong positive in every single client, regardless of their alpine experience. I also really liked the Bob Marley and Michael Jackson playlists he provided as we trekked upwards on the trails. Ben is clearly talented, sympathetic to the cultural surroundings (he was actively learning Swahili on our trek) and responsive to clients' needs. He also has a wonderful attitude of gratitude which spilled over to both clients and supporting staff. My goal was to summit Kilimanjaro without stumbling too much along the way. More seriously, I made many new, quality friends on this adventure and arrived home safe and healthy.
Strengths > clearly a premium, first class adventure. As an experienced mountaineer, this was the most "luxurious" trip I've undertaken. Dining tents at lunch and dinner; camp set-up and take-down, etc. (this is stuff I usually expect to do myself!). Cuisine throughout was good and varied. I actually gained a few pounds on my return to Canada!
My initial thought was that the cost of this trip was significantly higher than competiting companies and I wondered what the "value" was in a premium trip. I now know the value is about on-going safety of clients on the mountain, a high degree of luxury on the safari (especially needed after the mountain experience) and the fact that logistically, I had every assurance all details were looked after. I loved giving over decision making to Ben and the support team! So if you get pushback on pricing, I would talk about "the client's investment and the quality" in this adventure. That lower price doesn't necessarily give you the best quality experience. Loved the cybercasts > my family and friends were especially thrilled to hear our voices from across the planet, which instilled a degree of comfort and reassurance for those at home." - Margaret I.
"The expedition more than met my expectations. We were taken care of very well...food was excellent, guides were very professional, courteous, and caring. Agenda was very efficient and meaningful. I have stated to my friends and family that Alpine Ascents performed way beyond my expectations. (Our Guide Ben was) Excellent...very definitive in his decisions, had the ability to portray confidence and knowledge, and was able to keep the busy week organized and functioning as well as I have ever seen. ...could talk the Swahili language to some degree...seemed to have a positive personal relation with the key native guides, communicated well, was respected. Ben was extremely personable and caring. I simply cannot say enough good about Ben...you have a real class act with Ben and top notch guide.
We were a diverse group, coming from various places, having diverse backgrounds, and ranged from 29 to 69...and thanks to Ben and the guides, we all summited. What I felt was unique, and Ben contributed to this greatly, was that we all got along, looked out for one another, cared, and became friends forever. My goal was to summit, learn about the county, culture and people. All three were met. It was a most enjoyable and memorable trip. I never heard a complaint about another member...there was caring and concern and celebration when there was success.
I cannot think of one negative thing. Everything worked so well, the logistics had to be challenging, yet everything came off as if it were a piece of cake. Even the air travel was smooth, efficient, and well organized. Strengths? You have the best people available. Ben, the native guides...they simply had the extra knowledge and experience and ability that put them in a superior tier above anyone else. From High Camp (Kosovo), to the Summit, to the celebration dinner. I even felt where ever we journeyed, even the safaris, when we mentioned we were with Alpine Ascents...there was a sense of respect and no questions asked...we were taken care of. Also would like to mention your efforts to 'clean up the mountain'...i appreciated that you have a sense of stewardship. I just can't articulate well enough how appreciative and pleased I was with the trip." Mark A.
"I have to say, that I can only speak of Alpine Ascents, the Seattle office, Gordon Janow, Joe in equipment, Chris, Ellen Cravens and Eric Murphy in superlatives. From the first phone call with Chris, through the end of our trip, and followup, our experience with Alpine Ascents has been great, without reproach. At every step of the way, we felt that fine attention was given to our every need. Eric's skill is exceptional, along, with his willingness to share all aspects of his skill with us, and at the same time make us all feel good about our own skills. Eric always made it comfortable for us to ask questions (even when certain questions were asked over and over again). We can't say enough about Eric. Eric served as guide, parent, doctor, pharmacist, mentor etc. to all of us. He always showed a lot of patience and true care and concern every step of the way. Along with that, he made us all comfortable with sharing ANY concerns we had, no matter how, why or when. Along with the above, he always managed to keep us all with a good sense of humor. Eric has a very unique ability to keep us all focused on our goal, helping us to understand all our needs and at the same time, not letting any of us get to upset about anything. My dream of climbing Kili was met and far exceeded my expectations from growing not only from the experience, but from my fellow climbers and staff." Steve H.
"The program is top notch! The organization and the knowledgeable guide was without equal in my opinion. I could not ask for a better run program from beginning to end. Ben is absolutely great to get along with. I really cannot sing the praises of Ben enough. I have used guides in past and have enjoyed other guides but I do think Ben is in a class all his own. Strengths..guide with great judgment. It was a great call to head to the summit later than usual. Then we got the added bonus of a summit to ourselves. It is easy to get on the program with all the information provided on your website. You knew to get the visa, shots, gear to take, your office responded well to all my inquiries. Handing out the emails and trekker list before hand. The cybercast was a great bonus as the great booklet you send out. ..it is truly a well-oiled machine..." - Vaune S.
"The climb far exceeded any expectations I had. The entire program, from arrival at the airport to departure was run effortlessly and smoothly without any hitches making it extremely easy for me to just concentrate on the trekking aspects and nothing else to concern myself about as it was all taken care of. There was so much attention paid to detail that all my concerns and worries were immediately alleviated. The camping side of it was incredibly well run and organized by some truly amazing tanzanian staff members. The food was better than any I have had in luxury restaurants which was made all the more memorable and remarkable as I visited the kitchen tent and saw the surroundings the chefs were having to prepare food in! Quite incredible. I do believe that the high quality of the food and nutritional value played a big part in my successful summit.
Eric proved to be an extemely knowledgeable and informative guide, giving off a quiet and encouraging confidence that in turn made me feel very confident about my trekking and then summit attempt. I felt that no questions were off limits and Eric was able to answer all of them without any hesitation, due partly to expereience and due to what we felt was a genuine interest in what we were asking. He is a natural leader, he does it in a very natural and comfortable way, the way he interacts with the local guides is very heartening to see as he treats them as equals, yet respect is given by all around him. There was no doubt in anybody's mind as to who the leader was! However, it was done in a very unassuming way with people looking to him for guidance. I had the time of my life on the mountain, helped by a great group, fantastic local people and mostly by having Eric with us.
My main goal was to reach the summit which I did with relative ease, thanks in the way in which the program was run. Other goals were to familiarize myself with camping life, dealing with inclement weather patterns, interacting with a group of strangers and learning about the ways of the mountain. All these goals were met, again due to the strength of the program which was brilliantly run. ...I cannot identify any weaknesses. One of the strengths that came to mind was the superb acclimatization methods used, the self care that was drummed into us by Eric as well as the longer trail days and the advantage of using Kosovo camp for the last night. That coupled with nutritional food hugely contributed to a successful summit bid.
I used a UK based company for another climb I did locally, but found them to be lacking in detail and reassurance of what were probably deemed as irrelevant questions. I decided against using them for Kilimanjaro, instead opting for Alpine Ascents, best decision I ever made as I never felt that anything was too much to ask, as the office staff were also extremely helpful.
I wish I could think of something to suggest, but I do feel that this was a wonderful program run in a very professional manner and made it an unforgettable experience for me, truly a once in a lifetime trip and I cannot thank Alpine Ascents enough for such a memorable week!" - Sandy M.
"Program was the most well thought out and professional I have been on in over 30 years ! Guides skill level was A+ Really appreciated the careful layout of your information as well." - Rebecca
This program was incredibly well done on multiple levels. I can't imagine a better structured and functional program to Kilimanjaro. Every detail was amazingly worked out to perfection. The entire program went over in a seamless fashion without a single hitch, despite many many individual details that required constant management. It became very clear after just one day that this program was truly the pre-eminent program on the mountain!
Eric is truly a gifted, world class guide. It was clear from the first moment that Eric functioned as a very effective leader with both the group and the Tanzanian staff (porters, guides, etc.) He provided a source of authority, knowledge, support, and gave individual attention to climbers in need when the situations required. He did a fantastic job of managing multiple different activities at once and as a result, made the climb seem effortless from a logistics standpoint. It was a pleasure to see Eric so well integrated into the local culture and the local people. This provided an extra level of satisfaction with the climb that I assume cannot be found elsewhere. — Chuck M.
"Thanks for the most entirely amazing trip I have ever had! John Hauf was great, the porters were awesome and the other participants were some of the nicest people you could ever meet. I laughed all the way up and down. I can't wait for my next climb with you guys." Lenora
“The Kilimanjaro Climb and Safari were excellent in every respect. Alpine Ascents provided all necessary planning material to ensure we showed up for the trip well prepared and ready for the challenge. It was very clear the Alpine Ascents and their local guide staff have the Kilimanjaro deal down pat. Everything went extremely smoothly. It was a pleasure to participate in such a well planned and executed expedition.” Dave H.
“I was very pleased with every aspect of our trip through Alpine Ascents, from the original conversation about what was involved, to making the reservations, answering questions about gear etc, and to the actual trip itself…every detail was thought about and well tended to – very organized.” Barb A.
“In terms of strength, the program is very professionally run and the various people involved know what they’re doing. I was particularly impressed with the way the porter joyously welcomed us into camp with dance and song, after working so hard for us…their exuberance was quite touching.” Pamela S.
"My expectations were not just met, they were exceeded...in fact, they were exceeded time and time again! The level of organization for the entire trip was outstanding, from being met at the airport to the lodging in Arusha and safari, and especially the climb itself! Our porters and local guides were a pleasure to work with and they all made it very easy to be able to focus on the climb and the climb only. I felt completely spoiled on the mountain by our porter crew, who quickly, efficiently and always with a smile and hello went above and beyond to provide us with a great experience. We all noticed that the Alpine Ascents group was the most envied on the mountain, and with good cause. I simply cannot say enough positives about this experience. Alpine Ascents, you have outdone yourselves! I was paying very close attention to my acclimatization and altitude response above 15,000'. Thanks to the way this trip was laid out (lots of acclimatizing), I didn't have a single issue, and I felt absolutely great on the summit above 19,000'! The strengths could fill volumes, but the organization of the trip, the excellent porter crew and local guides, John Hauf's knowledge, expertise and friendly, affable manner, the accommodations in both Arusha and each night of the safari...everything fit together to make this an excellent experience and I will recommend anyone who asks to Alpine Ascents for the best Kilimanjaro experience they are likely to ever have! I have been working with Alpine Ascents for a few years now, and have gone on 4 trips (6-day course, Rainier, Mexico Volcanoes, Kilimanjaro) with you guys. I'll never use another company, It's Alpine Ascents all the way." Mike K.
"A 100% success! Alpine Ascents lived up to my expectations and beyond. Any bumps in the road were handled with smooth transitions and appropriate management." Patricia P.
"I have fabulous memories of this trip and expedition. It was even better than I thought it would be. The combination of the climb and the safari was superb! This was a wonderful, wonderful trip! The people were great and we formed a good team. Our guide John Hauf was fabulous! He is obviously very good at what he does. He took the time to make a personal connection with each member of the expedition. We all felt we were in good capable hands. My individual goals were definitely met and even surpassed. We especially appreciated the incredible attention to detail. The climb and the safari each present challenges. All of the logistics had been sorted out. This made it easy to participate in all of the opportunities that were offered. We were also able to feel relaxed about what we were doing. The level of professionalism demonstrated by the Leader, John, was exceptional and we certainly noticed his commitment to the safety and happiness of the guests. We have done lots of traveling, this trip worked out being better than I had imagined it would be at the outset. We were very satisfied. Thanks for all of your assistance in making this trip such a success!" Andrew A.
"Overall opinion of the expedition was excellent - first-rate service. The trip exceeded my expectations. I felt 100% safe going up the mountain with John., he is a natural born leader. He communicates well, is flexible, stays true to his word and has a very calming personality. He practices safety first and is incredibly responsible and respectful of the porters. Nice to see a guide that is so organized, always!! My individual goal was to meet new people, enjoy the journey, reach the summit and celebrate the wonders of nature with the wild animals. All things were accomplished in a very pleasurable way with no stress!! 100% professional, incredibly organized, attention to detail, guide strength, number of porters, reputation, commitment to the environment, guide-to-client ratio, optimal route selection, pre-trip information. Our trip to Kilimanjaro was by far the best we have taken. Material sent and website are excellent with a wealth of information. The office staff was always there to help." Maria A.
"I have strong feelings with regards to John Hauf's leadership skills. John has a highly developed sense of how and when to apply his leadership skills. I witnessed John consistently leading with integrity, openness and humility. John was able to negotiate and solve issues with direct, honest communication. I applaud his leadership skills and appreciated being able to learn from him. Without question, John's disposition, especially within the role of guide has made this client-to-guide experience for me to be one of the best. Having been on various climbs previously with different guides, I would say that the interaction with John has been the most connected for me.
My goals were two fold. First I wanted to be as successful as possible with the summit attempt which resulted in achieving the summit. Secondly I wanted to become more knowledgeable of the local culture by connecting with the individuals in and around the climbing area. This second goal was also met for me as the climbing support crew (guides, porters, etc) were engaging and informative. Additionally, the safari personnel were also very willing to engage about many local topics. Both of these successes leave me with the impression that due to Alpine Ascents' continued engagement in the Tanzanian area and working to a higher standard of excellence has left no question with the support groups what the objectives are. In short, Alpine Ascents has with the Kili expedition, set a level of excellence that is known throughout the Tanzanian climbing community.
As compared to other Alpine Ascents trips I have been on (Denali, Elbrus), this trip was on par with the level of service I have come to know Alpine Ascents by. As compared to other organizations, this trip was on the high end with regards to ease of use, services, options offered. Although I cannot compare the Kili price through Alpine Ascents with other organizations (I don't have that data), my belief is that Alpine Ascents trips, and in particular this trip to Kili was competitively priced. Alpine Ascents has developed a top of the line product and I would highly recommend Alpine Ascents to others seeking this type of experience." Tom C.
"It was outstanding in every respect. I really cannot think of anything that could be improved. I think John Hauf was a key strength - he made the whole thing work, but I also think the 1st class approach to accommodations, food, etc. was also important. I did not realize that your approach was different from the others in terms of guide, personal attention, support etc., so that was a pleasant surprise. While I don't have a lot of experience with other organizations, those that I do have, did not have the same professionalism and experience that John exhibited." Pete J.
"An outstanding experience that fulfilled all of my expectations and more. Yes it was a tough climb for a city bum like me but fun a the same time and the whole trip certainly encouraged me to get out and climb more mountains. Safari was also the best I have ever been on...The Ngorongoro Crater is truly a wonder! I summited, had a great time and got back down quickly and safely and we had a great time doing it. On safari we saw pretty much every animal we could have hoped for (Lion, black rhino, the elusive leopard, elephant, cape buffalo, giraffe etc etc). Everything ran like clockwork. On the mountain you really did feel that you were traveling first class (much to the envy of other people not traveling with Alpine Ascents)." -Stephen A.
"This was an extraordinary experience. From logistics to guiding, the expedition was very well planned and executed, exceeding all of my expectations. Great planning, great logistics, great people and all under the leadership of a great guide. This expedition is a great introduction to the world of climbing and the world of Alpine Ascents." Ciprian P.
"The expedition was incredible! It was extremely well-organized; we didn't have to worry about any logistics, just putting one foot in front of the other. I feel spoiled after no having to lift a finger while camping. The 7-day schedule made a huge difference every day but the summit was easy and enjoyable. The porters were great, the weather was great, the animals cooperated and the cultural experience was very educational. The expedition went almost too perfectly. I'm so used to organizing my own gear, food directions and transportation while going backpacking. Here all I had to do was get up and walk. It couldn't have been easier! This kind of attention make the trip a relaxing vacation. The route selection and local guides and porters were amazing as was the food. Everyone summited and had a great time together." Matthew D.
"Let's forget about the evaluation form and let me summarize this trip with one word: FANTASTIC!! This was a dream journey not to be forgotten for the rest of our lives. Everything worked great and I cannot think of one single thing that went wrong or was missing." Mike K.
"To paint the accomplishment in shades of black and white - of success or failure in reaching the summit - would be an oversimplification. These expeditions are as much a journey of self-discovery as much as a journey to reach a summit, where one comes face-to-face with one's own limitations both physical and in terms of inner spiritual resources. Overall, a very well-designed, well-planned program in every detail. I would unhesitatingly recommend this trip to anyone contemplating it. I was grateful that the diet took vegetarian needs into account. Comparing Alpine Ascents' offerings to those of other travel organizations prior to the trip demonstrated to my satisfaction that this program offered the best value in cost, length of trip and component features." -John S.
"As you already know, the trip was a great success, everyone in the party summited, and we all enjoyed the safari. A tremendous contribution to the success of the trip and to the enjoyment of it was made by your guide, Allen Carbert. Allen was always helpful to us and patient even in circumstances which would have infuriated me. His enthusiasm was infectious, and motivated us to succeed. For me, who found the summit day very hard, this was critical. He gave excellent guidance on acclimatization, and knew how to repeat the important points for it, such as the need to consume fluids, without this seeming tedious or repetitive. As well as being an excellent mountaineer and guide, Allen is also a very pleasant human being, whose companionship and lively conversation kept our spirits up. Having been on a trip with another organization where the guide, though knowledgeable, was quiet and introverted, I know what a difference this makes."-Peter Y.
"I had an absolute blast on Kili. Again, you guys amaze me at how organized and how much fun you make each trip. I'd love the opportunity to climb again with you."-Matt K.
"The expedition was incredible, logistically everything appeared to be flawless - My guides, always mindful of safety and acclimatization, made every step of the climb enjoyable, interesting and fun."-Billy B.
"Following my trip to Nepal with Alpine Ascents, this trip was what I think the typical Alpine Ascents trip offers; a well organized trip led by well-trained and knowledgeable individuals that offers the opportunity for each participant to "achieve their personal goals", meet new and interesting people and learn about a culture different from ours. The Lead African Guide and the other Africans were friendly and helpful. Bushbuck Safaris was a fine outfit and all of their personnel were most professional. You do have an extremely talented and understanding guide staff. The trip was well planned and executed. The guides' knowledge of the region, it's history and customs and their ability to pass this information along to the clients really helped to make this a very enjoyable experience. The office staff was most helpful. Emails were answered almost immediately, and when I called for information, it was provided during the call. This trip was another great adventure, and as usual, a good time was had by all."-Harris P.
"The entire two weeks came off without a hitch. Given the logistics of international travel we never waited for any part of the trip. Each day's climbing was enjoyable and well-planned. The safari could not have run more smoothly. Most of the group found the experience a defining moment in their lives." -Kevin D.
"An absolutely terrific adventure. Jam packed with new experiences and new friendships. Wonderful blend of climb and safari." -Don H.
"Kili was hands down the best trip of my life. It exceeded all expectations." -Larry C.
"This was my first trip with Alpine Ascents International, and it simply exceeded my wildest expectations. There are not enough superlatives to describe the leadership qualities of my guide. He was simply outstanding, and directly contributed to my reaching all of my personal goals on this trip, including the summit. Sorry, but I can't think of any suggestions for improvement. Simply, it was a first class operation the entire way, and I can't wait to go on another trip next year with Alpine Ascents. I've been on other trips with other mountain guides and this was by far the best, thanks largely to the professionalism, courtesy and friendliness of your staff." -Richard P.
"An outstanding climb, safari and experience. I can not imagine a better trip!! Detailed information about the mountain and safari was tremendous. Accommodations far exceeded my expectations. Food was great!" -Charles M.
"A phenomenal experience that I will always remember. An expedition that was effectively organized and garnered the resources that allowed an amateur trekker's wish to climb Kili to be fleshed into reality." -Steve S.
"The expedition was an outstanding combination of mountaineering, naturalism and social studies. I can't imagine a more alluring introduction to high-altitude expedition mountaineering." -John D.
"I enjoyed the expedition very much. The organization, the attention to detail was excellent. The acclimatization schedule was also very good. I loved the food and the overall friendly atmosphere. Overall excellent." -Rodrigo M.
"The expedition exceeded my expectations in every way. Accommodations and travel within Kenya and Tanzania were perfect. What made the trip so wonderful was the guides and fellow climbers. Alpine Ascents does a fabulous job in support - in answering questions and providing the right information. It was really the experience of my life and I will never forget it." -Suzy G.
"Our guide is a world class guide (and guy). His skill level is excellent and I can't say enough good things about him. His knowledge, strength and stamina is amazing." -Lynn S.
"Extremely well organized, the guides were very helpful and knowledgeable and Tobias our African guide was the best. A great trip!" -Judith T.
"Our guide did an excellent job on both Elbrus and Kilimanjaro. The local guides also displayed particular expertise. Our guide was a joy to climb with and I hope to do so again." -Paul L.
"Outstanding. I thought all parts of the climb and safari were just superb" -Rob M.
"Our guide was an excellent leader, diplomatic and patient. Overall the program was excellent and I'm very glad I chose Alpine Ascents." -Wally K.
"Out of all my travels, including Everest, this was the best! It was so well organized we never missed a beat. Thank you." -Bob H.
The trip was great! Vern and Carole were a really balanced team who took care of us on so many levels. They made sure our travel was taken care of even when we wanted to change it. They managed our group getting sick with genuine care and teamwork. They helped teach and guide the team based off individual level - and they even were great hosts for meals. I liked the hut we stayed in on the mountain, I did enjoy the hotels we stayed at too. I would have followed Vern anywhere, and Carole just took care of the small details that each person was dealing with… they made a great team.
I'm just back from your Elbrus July 2015 trip and I wanted to drop you a line while everything is still fresh in my mind. First of all, I must congratulate you on running a first class operation, from top to bottom. My overall impression of your company and employees is extremely high coming off this trip. When looking around for an Elbrus outfitter, I reviewed several companies, and your safety and summit success records spoke for themselves. This, along with a resounding endorsement from my pal Michael, made AA the only real choice. And what a good choice it turned out to be!
Let me just say that I travel a great deal in "exotic" and logistically challenging countries, and everything about this expedition was smooth, organized and well-run. The hotels, the people you work with locally (city and mountain guides) were all fantastic and made for an extremely comfortable trip, allowing us to focus on the job at hand...hoofing up the big volcano! Even our accommodations at "base camp" we're surprisingly comfy...with bunks, mattress pads, pillows, a heater and actual electricity for a few hours each night. Some people were even able to get email, which is something I'd never expected up there. Hey...the notorious toilet huts beat expectations too! But enough about the loo...let's get down to the important stuff...
I'm also in the client service business and, as such, I like to think I know a thing or two about giving and receiving it :) Vern's reputation obviously precedes him and I'm sure you get many, many emails like this...but he absolutely made the entire trip. And I'm not just talking about being the glue that held the whole thing together logistically. His personality, patience, knowledge, both humor and gravitas when needed, made us feel safe, empowered and excited about everything we were doing from day one on. Many guides can get you up a mountain, but few can do it with such exceptional skill and true sense of fun and adventure that absolutely leave you wanting more. Someone asked him at the beginning why he liked to guide, and he said that he loved the mountains and specifically enjoyed sharing them with other people. I truly sensed this from him during the entire trip, and that in turn made me feel really good about what I was doing there myself. There's nothing more contagious and inspiring than following someone who absolutely loves what they're engaged in...and that's Vern all the way!
I won't ramble on in too much detail about all the brilliant things he shared with us, except to say this: I learned more in one afternoon with Vern Tejas than I've picked up from any guide, anywhere in all my years of high altitude trekking. Also, there was this brilliant little thing that Vern did as we were all climbing into the snowmobile at 3am. Everyone was a bag of nerves when he decided to whip out his harmonica and give us a full rendition of Beethoven's 9th (and other assorted toe-tappers!)...it was a total ice-breaker which cheered us on and helped us relax at that critical moment when starting the climb. It helped me enormously because it showed that Vern was 100% confident in us, and that we should be too!
Now, let me talk about Carole for a moment...what a great guide and person. I felt like we were in the best possible hands you could imagine. She was often the velvet glove to Vern's iron fist!! Carole was simply a treasure trove of juicy little tips and tricks that made all the difference on the night. She was constantly shoring up the information that Vern was downloading, and adding little details that contributed to our comfort and safety along the way. She also has the patience of a saint and is incredibly strong...and I really enjoyed her company at mealtimes :) Vern and Carole make a great team/double act. They compliment each other in ways which totally benefited our group, day in and day out in the mountains.
I'd been reading (with some alarm!) before the trip about all the casualties on Elbrus, but once I got to know our guiding team, those fears just melted away and I was able to really focus on achieving success there. I think overall, the biggest challenge for a guide is to "play to the middle" and manage a pack of climbers who posses differing levels of skill, experience and endurance. A the end of the day, this is where Vern and Carole really excelled. Up top, Vern knew just how to paces us, arrange us in the line and monitor everyone's progress so that we all had the best chance of summiting...no easy feat when you're trying to keep a whole group moving. At the time, you're sort of out of it but but grateful to have someone in complete control directing you. When you get down, you look back and realize all the little incidents along the way where Vern and Carole stepped in to help us succeed (like clipping us on and off the fixed lines at the top, or keeping the pit stops punctual). I'm sure you hear this a lot about the two of them, but it's worth repeating! ALL GUIDES ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL :)
Finally, a word on the time we spent in the cities. Very well organized in terms of activities, tours, meals and making the best use of our limited time in 2 such incredible places. This was my 4th trip to Russia and even though I'd seen many of the attractions, our city tour guides were knowledgable and interesting, and I felt like I made new discoveries. Our trip around the Armoury Museum in the Kremlin for example, was outstanding and offered the ideal cultural balance to the mountaineering portion of the trip.
So for me...high marks in all departments. As I told Vern and Carole, my vacation time is extremely limited and precious, and I feel like Alpine Ascents gave me an absolutely fantastic experience on all levels. Thank you for making it possible, and I look forward to hopefully traveling with you all again in the future (don't hold my failure in knot class against me...I promise to practice!!)
My very best regards and thanks to you and your entire team, - 2015 Climber
I can't remember the last time I had this much fun! Amazing expedition with a brilliant group of people. The quality of this expedition was second to none. Coming from Australia I could have chosen a company closer to home, but I'm glad I didn't. AAI were exceptional from beginning to end. Willie was the best guide ever. So much knowledge and experience but such a humble individual with a great climbing philosophy. I can't thank AAI enough for this whole experience. Willie absolutely made this trip. I can't speak highly enough of all the AAI staff. Questions are answered immediately and you're always fully confident that everything is organized and in hand. Course materials are informative and thorough. The strength of this program is in the detailed organization as well as the lengthy experience AAI have in running them. It is apparent when you are on the trip as everything runs smoothly, or if it doesn't (as Russia isn't the easiest country to navigate), there's someone available to sort it out. AAI have created an amazing itinerary. There's time to enjoy the destination country along with the climbing. Your experience in running these programs is evident and you're obviously fine-tuning continuously to ensure clients have the best expedition possible. - 2014 Climber
It was wonderful. The most important component in any trip is the personal interactions. Our group was diverse, but cohesive and Willie was fabulous. Another person who contributed greatly was Shasha, our cook at camp. She was a chef extraordinary, working with a small propane cooktop. Her food was delicious (better than the restaurant in town) and her personal touches and concern were so appreciated. I can't say enough about Willie. He was an effective leader; laid back and kind when it didn't matter, but strong and directed when necessary. And he always had safety of the group as the number one priority. What I appreciated more than anything was that he never abdicated his responsibilities to the local guides, which I have seen in the past and which creates issues that are difficult to resolve. Willie is a guide's guide. He was our guide, our cheerleader and our friend. In actuality, the trip couldn't have been better. Many thanks for all your hard work to make it that way. - 2014 Climber
The expedition certainly fit the bill of what was advertised, and there were no negative surprises. Positive surprises were the quality of the city and town accommodation and food, the mountain food and the quality of the guides. These were all outstanding. Willie was quite amazing, I never once felt that I was not under his watchful eye, even though he had 8 others to worry about as well. He is far cooler and accommodating than he actually needs to be, given his celebrity and experience. Local guides were very accommodating as well. Even though I was coming in from outside of North America, all communications were handled quickly and easily. This was one thing I felt I didn't need to worry about at all. The training program was certainly helpful. Not knowing a thing about performing at altitude, the training program gave me something to rely on. - 2014 Climber
Very well run and put together. Willie was excellent and well seasoned, best guide I have ever met. - 2014 Climber
The trip was great! Everything from the city tours, to the acclimatization hikes, to the superb food at base camp, to our fearless leader Vern...it was excellent. I can't say enough about Vern, as well as Alex and Vladamir. I thought the logistics were well planned and executed. I truly enjoyed it from beginning to end (despite the 10 hours we spent in the white-out/blizzard). It was most certainly an experience I will never forget. - 2013 Climber
AA logistics are seamless. And the co-climbers are enjoyable. Similar to Aconcagua last January. - 2013 Climber
The expedition was great right from the time Vern picked us up at St.petersburg till we left Moscow for home. The sightseeing both in st.petersbug and Moscow was well organized and informative . Meals arranged everywhere were of a high quality and in restaurants with a respectable and pleasant ambience.The climbing part of the expedition which is what we really signed up for was very well managed ./We were subject to a comprehensive gear check at the beginning .Our skills were reviewed throughout and relevant advice was conveyed to us as and when we required it. Extra effort was made by the guides with clients who required it.On our first attempt at the summit on 16th july the team could not progress beyond the saddle due to inclement weather and I must commend alpine ascents for giving their full support in going the xtra mile on the 18th july to ensure we made it to the summit in our 2nd attempt on the 18th july. Overall the expedition was successful and all of us gained valuable experience from it. - 2013 Climber
Vern is the ultimate in guides. His reputation proceeded him, but he surpassed even the high expectations I had for him. He is 100% confident in what he does, without any sense of arrogance. Vern quickly earned the trust of each of the team members and he was professional and respectful in everything I saw. That, to me, is the epitome of good leadership. - 2013 Climber
Overall, this was a fantastic climb. I was not thinking of doing much larger mountains than Elbrus in the future, but this program, along with Vern's amazing support, has convinced me to try some larger mountains, both for the achievement, but also for the fun of the experience! The expedition was excellent. We had a very positive group of people who worked very well together and who followed all of Vernon's instructions in a very efficient way. I enjoyed the tours of St Petersburg and Moscow. Our accommodations were good and ground support was also good. - 2013 Climber
I had a great time. The accommodations were excellent, the food was excellent and the staff was excellent. I have climbed with Brand X and Y and I have to say that my experience with Alpine was first class. I would definitely pay a little more to have the quality in planning and logistics that we had on this climb. Great job. - 2013 Climber
"Amazing experience! Honestly, without the perfect decision making by Vern and support of Carole, this team may never have come close to summiting due to weather and choosing the time to go. I've been up Everest and many other peaks and I know what happens when things go wrong. Vern and Carole got that team up Elbrus in the worst of weather. I have it all on film too" - 2012 Climber
"Excellent experienced guides who provided input, hints and comments along the way to enhance the common sense of the climb, good acclimatization preparation, addition of tours of St. Petersburg and Moscow (really added perspective), good logistics for most of the trip, and extremely helpful Gear Brands List & Lexicon." 2012 Climber
"The expedition was very well handled especially by Vern. All needs were met. It isn't my first time to climb with AAI but it is the first private group we put together with them and I must say Vern and Carol did a great job in making our experience unique. I have climbed a lot before and I am very familiar with gear, procedures, etc. however Vern and Carol were still ensuring everybody gets attention and their needs met." 2012 Climber
"Excellent. Vern was the best and most experienced guide I have ever had on a mountaineering trip." 2012 Climber
"First class all the way. The schedule was followed like clockwork without any hitches." 2012 Climber
"Excellent experienced guides who provided input, hints and comments along the way to enhance the common sense of the climb, good acclimatization preparation, addition of tours of St. Petersburg and Moscow (really added perspective), good logistics for most of the trip, and extremely helpful Gear Brands List & Lexicon." 2012 Climber
"I think one of the biggest strengths was having contingency days for our summit attempt. We didn't need them as the weather was agreeable but there were other groups that we saw who were unable to summit due to weather and it's a long distance to cover to not have those extra opportunities. Aside from that the food was quite good. As a vegetarian I feel that I was accommodated quite well." 2012 Climber
"As I have mentioned previously, the biggest strength of the Alpine ascents programs are the skills, enthusiasm and dedication of the guides. Vern is an exceptional guide because he is interesting and interested, yet always commands respect with a wicked sense of humor and a laugh." 2012 Climber
"Superbly organized and executed trip. Complete confidence that all precautions had been taken and safety was paramount with contingencies planned for and considered. Everything was engineered and deliberate to give maximum chance of summit success. A thoroughly enjoyable and fun trip." 2012 Climber
"Excellent. Communication and interface with the AAI office and staff was easy and prompt. Information and direction was always available through the months leading up to the departure date. Vern interfaced well with the different personalities of our group, as well as the support staff he deals with on a daily basis. Vern made everyone feel comfortable with him, as well as developing the team experience for all." Charlie L. 2011 Climber
"Very well organized and executed - guides skill level was superb, . Alpine Ascents is always more organized and intense as far as attention to clients." 2008 Climber
"Fantastic. Vern and Lakpa were brilliant guides—now that I’ve had people of that caliber it's going to be hard to go with anything else. They were great in every aspect. Our summit was especially nasty but Vern didn’t turn us around, As for skill level 110% for both. Can’t think of a negative here. Never had any moments of doubt." 2008 Climber.
"Excellent expedition! The accommodations were great. The logistics and itinerary were good. The acclimatization schedule on the mountain worked well and suited everyone. Overall, I don't think things could have been done any better. The itinerary was well designed. Accommodations in all cases was A-One. Guide could not have been better. Climbing pace was excellent. Russian guides and tour guides did a great job. In recent years, I have only climbed with Alpine Ascents. I come back because I think you guys do it right." Phil S.
"You guys once again exceeded my expectations on Elbrus trip. From the time I requested information until we returned to the US, Alpine Ascents was a first class act. All of the indigenous tour guides, mountain guides and cooks were superb. I was surprised at the preparation and execution of getting through the airports with such a large group of people and baggage. We did not have a problem. The logistics on the mountain worked without flaws and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip. Thanks to the entire group at Alpine Ascents."
"The expedition was great. We had 100% success in summit. Our inter-relationships and group dynamics were stellar. Our guide was fantastic." Suzanne N.
"It was a great trip and I would travel with Alpine Ascents anywhere. Everyone on the trip was extremely fit which made the climb a pleasure for all. I thought the organization of the trip was superb with excellent pacing, meal preparation and logistics. Our guide was up against Russian 'control issues' which were beyond his control and he handled them beautifully and professionally."-John B.
"When I compare Alpine Ascents International with other guided groups I see in the mountains, I always feel like I'm using the best guide service. Never have had a doubt about that." -John D.
"Excellent" -Al H.
"The trip was Fantastic! It really was a perfect mix of travel and climbing, which is the reason I picked Alpine Ascents." -Andrew N.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my experience on the expedition." -Tracy C.
"I truly enjoyed the Elbrus trip. Good people, well organized, overall an excellent trip." -Jim K.
"Excellent. A great trip! All was planned well. Our lead guide is an excellent guide. His planning and leadership makes the trips enjoyable." -Stacy T.
"The expedition was thoroughly planned and it seemed as though every conceivable contingency had been identified and wired into the game plan -- we were never left wondering what was going to happen next. The acclimatization schedule worked well -- and was flexible, which allowed us to work in an extra day without jeopardizing our summit prospects. The communication between the guides and the clients was excellent, and as a result the level of trust the clients placed in the guides was significant and allowed me as a client to focus on what I needed to do to get myself up the mountain -- I had nothing else to worry about. Thus, overall it would be difficult for me to imagine haw an expedition like this could be better run. I can not think of any way you could have provided a better, more rewarding experience for me. -Larry B.
It was an awesome trip. The itinerary was optimized for the time frame. Great places to stay and eat. They modeled the way in everything they did. They did an excellent job at making me realize my full potential, motivating me but always putting safety first. Jose Luis professionalism is top notch. It is truly an honor to climb with him. They were proactive, patient, and very effective at transferring knowledge. The 2 days prior to Antisana were managed very well in the way they broke us into small teams and set the days activities. Good repetition and depth considering the time frame and that this was not a separate skills training program. Office staff was always friendly, knowledgeable and available.
Besides Colorado 14ers, I have only climbed twice, with Alpine Ascents in Chamonix and again in Ecuador. Both trips were excellent. Ecuador guides were really great. Safety awareness was always evident.The decision to turn back form Antisana summit with 600 ft. vertical (although a couple of hours to navigate a crevasse) was a sign of maturity and experience, and why I would climb again with AA. Really great guys. We had a lot of fun outside the context of climbing. Good dinners. Never felt like it was "just a job" for them. Can all future climbing trips stay at a lodge with thermal springs? Lodges were outstanding; food was excellent.
" Absolutely outstanding program on every level! The itinerary was the perfect blend of cultural experience, acclimatization before climbs and recovery after climbs. There was not one dull moment, yet I never felt rushed or unprepared. The food and lodging were by far the best I have ever had on a climbing trip, and Jose Luis and his team were without a doubt the best all round guides I have climbed with. Overall, Outstanding: always put safety first, conducted a very thorough skills review before our first climb, and provided great coaching and motivation during the climbs. I learned more in two weeks than I did in my previous three climbs combined!!"
"First Class itinerary and guide staff! Great trip" Allen W.
"Overall it was a wonderful trip, combining numerous climbs with a real taste of the local Ecuadorian culture. It was very well organized from the time we arrived at the airport in Quito until we left 15 days later. The variety of lodging as we moved around the country was always more than adequate and the food was always good. I have nothing but compliments to give to Jose Luis, the other local Ecuadorian guides and even our bus driver who was always on time and drove with significant skill over some very difficult roads. All of the guides were very knowledgeable about their country, its history as well as any and all facts about mountaineering in Ecuador (as well as many other regions outside of Ecuador). In fact they were always willing to readily share this knowledge with all of us." Chris S.
“Excellent program allowing for optimal acclimatization. Good balance between mountaineering and touring the area. Excellent accommodations (unique, good variety). Plenty of good food. I would highly recommend the trip.” David T.
“Great program. The expedition was well organized and leadership was outstanding…AAI has the logistics dialed in on this one. No hitches in logistics. Lots of moving around from hotels to huts to climbing. Everything went as smoothly as one could possibly expect.” Kurt G.
"The guides are first rate. Jose Luis, Renee, Javier and Pepe all had strong mountain skills and good people skills, the combination I feel makes for a great climbing trip. I can not say enough about Jose Luis! I have climbed Rainier, Orizaba, Denali, Aconcagua and trekked to Everest Base Camp, using various companies. In my ~11 years of experience, Jose Luis is the best guide I have had! His experience is extensive, his skills on the mountain are solid and he has a wonderful way with people, which is sometimes hard to find. I enjoyed his company greatly and felt totally comfortable climbing with him at all times. His choice of rope teams was always on target. His strategy for reorganizing teams when some members decided to turn around was also excellent. There were a couple of occasions when one or more group members was sick and Jose Luis made great decisions on the fly which allowed the group to keep going, the sick members to get better and then continue with the trip. I was impressed with his decision making.
The itinerary is well structured for acclimatization. I saw many groups of seemingly fit people turn around on each of the peaks we climbed, which I believe was mostly due to acclimatization problems. The trip was planned well to build a solid base, so I felt we were given the best chance possible to summit Cotopaxi and Chimborazo at the end. The training prior to the climbs was excellent. The glacier travel, cramponing and crevasse rescue practice was more extensive than I have received on some major expeditions! Even for someone experienced, this was an excellent refresher." Rich C.
"Jose Luis was superb and played a huge role in making the expedition so enjoyable. He obviously has outstanding abilities and is a great teacher. He is very patient and loads of fun to be with. I was amazed at how tireless he was in chauffeuring us around and putting forth extra effort to tell us about the country, its history etc. There seemed to be no detail too small for him to worry about or to take care of. Despite having run this trip three times in the past few months, he genuinely seemed excited and interested in what we were doing and completely dedicated to making sure we were having the best possible experience. At most times it felt less like an arranged expedition than a trip visiting with friends in Ecuador." Jerry G.
"Great trip. Ecuador is a fantastic country and virtually all of the people we dealt with were hard working and pleasant. We have traveled around the world and have to say this was our best trip ever." Ted and Amy L.
"I felt like, with Jose Luis, I was in the hands of one of the best guides in Ecuador. He is fun to be with and had a great rapport with the group. The trip was extremely well-organized, and I had fun the entire time. Overall I thought the organization of the trip was flawless." -Hathy A.
"Excellent expedition. Well-planned and executed. Bonus of exposure to Ecuadorian culture. Guides were personable, hard working and fun. World class climbing." -Thomas A.
"This was an amazing trip all around, from the people, the accommodations, the food, the mountains, oh, and the climbing was good too! Alpine Ascents always seems heads above most other organizations I've traveled with." -Michael M.
"My experience with Alpine Ascents in Ecuador was truly great. To explain why is almost impossible because so many things made it a good experience. All the climbers in our group were grateful for the attention to safety. Having fun during the trip was another thing that was emphasized. The trip wasn't just about hustling up some mountain. I sincerely look forward to climbing with Alpine Ascents in the future." -Kathleen S.
"I had a great time on the trip. My guides are top notch people, they taught me a ton and made every experience enjoyable. Alpine Ascents stands head and shoulders above any other guide service I have ever encountered." -Mike M.
"To put our comments into perspective, my wife and I have also had the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro, Rainier, Aconcagua and some local mountains around Calgary, but all with different guiding companies. In summary we were tremendously pleased and satisfied with every aspect of our holiday and climbs. Alpine Ascents truly exceeded our expectations. In particular we were most impressed with your lead guide Jose Luis Peralvo. In addition to being an excellent guide and always being concerned for our safety, was a wonderful a most gracious host to us. My first mountain trip where I did not lose weight. The travel logistics, hotels and lodges etc, were all superb. We will certainly climb with Alpine Ascents again and won't hesitate to recommend your company." -John & Janet D.
"Willi is without a doubt, the finest guide I have ever been associated with. He made this trip totally interesting and a real educational experience from a mountaineering standpoint."-Brian C.
"It was truly an outstanding and personally rewarding experience. Ecuador is a beautiful and interesting country to explore. "-James R.
"I've been exposed to a number of guide services and it would be hard for me to believe that I could find a better mountain guide than Willi. "-Jeff H.
"Based on my experiences with other guides services and speaking with other climbers, Alpine Ascents International is the only guide service I would use again. Our guides were nothing short of outstanding. "-Mick J.
"I have received reports of other teams turning back in mid climb between the South Col ad Summit due to the conditions. So, it makes it all the more impressive that Alpine Ascents has put their team on the top of the world including 18 year old Leanna Shuttleworth... I have spoken over the last several days about 'support systems on Everest'. The major operators like Alpine Ascents, ... demonstrate this every season,"
"I want to thank you for an adventure of a lifetime. As always the staff and logistics of Alpine Ascents exceeded my expectations and I couldn't be more satisfied. A while back you mentioned win-win relationships. My win was a rewarding trip to Mt. Everest. AAI's win (and mine too) is my decision to climb Mt. Elbrus and Carstensz Pyramid to complete the seven summits and trek to Machu Picchu and probably Everest base camp with my wife. As if that wasn't enough, Joe has sold us on a yak tour in Alaska with another couple. Thanks again for everything."- Louis M.
"Just wanted to let you know that I had a fabulous time on Everest and the trip could not have been better. The guides were all amazing climbers, teachers, and friends. I felt positive about the climb from beginning to end, and I thank you and everyone at Alpine Ascents for being a part of that. I also thank you for putting together such a competent and skilled team of guides and Sherpa, that helped me get to the top. Each day and each step was important, and I will take the memories with me forever. Many thanks and all the best.
Climbing with Alpine Ascents was the best decision I made, and I could not have been more pleased. You may pay more than some of the other companies, but I think you get more. The client-to-guide ratio was low, so there was always someone covering your backside. The experience level of the guides and the Sherpa team was very high, with many Everest summits between them. The tents, food, equipment, and technology were top notch, as well as the relay of information that was passed along to friends and family back home. Most of us only have one shot at Everest. Why not give it the best shot that you can?" - Lori Schneider, Everest Summiter, interviewed on OutsideOnline.com
"Many thanks for organizing the expedition. It was a fantastic experience! I am looking forward to climbing with AAI on other mountains." Philippe H.
"Thanks so much to all of you at AAI for making my dream of making the Seven Summits come true, I could not have accomplished this feat without the support of the entire team especially the guides and Sherpas. " Kay L.
"I must say that Alpine Ascents International once again proved that it's the best guiding company on the mountain." Chris T.
"Could I take this opportunity to thank all at Alpine Ascents for a great Everest climb. Dave and Vern were fantastic throughout, I doubt there's a better guiding duo and company on the planet. I shall certainly be climbing with Alpine Ascents for the foreseable future. When I heard Dave was guiding on Carstenz, my interest increased 10 fold, will let you know, thanks again for providing a first class expedition, Alistair Sutcliffe."
"Fantastic experience for me. Success is wonderful. Lakpa and Vern made a shrewd weather call that allowed us to proceed to the summit. Outstanding leadership, safety is a big deal in my book" Justin A.
"Finally, there are the much-quoted $65,000 slots, with a couple of high-profile outfitters. I've gotten to know one of them, Alpine Ascents, quite well here at base camp, and have to admit, if I could afford it, I'd probably go for it. Cynics would argue that I'm saying this because I've gobbled up so much of Alpine Ascent's tea cake up here, but for a climber, to be able to climb with mountaineering legends like Vern Tejas or Willi Prittie is an experience akin to painting with Picasso or golfing with Palmer. In some cases, if you can afford it, 65 grand is not an overwhelming price to climb with the best. Now if you'll excuse me, I think Alpine Ascents is serving tea."-Finn Olaf Jones, Discovery.com
"The trip was superbly organized from start to finish, with superior facilities and support throughout. The climbing strategy, based on the guiding team's extensive knowledge of the mountain, resulted in a highly successful and safe summit bid." -Matt H.
I have to write a short note to you complementing you on your excellent group
of employees on the 2002 Everest Expedition. With such a large logistical
problem at hand the only solution is a group of talented, hard working people
that can overcome obstacles.
Collectively and individually the guides excelled at their jobs, and many times went the extra mile to make things happen. Willi, Vern and Luis have a wealth of experience and were willing to share their knowledge and skills to give us a safe and educational trip. Mike and Jose Luis made every effort to keep us out of harms way. The Sherpa were without peers as a group and Lhakpa personally ensured each of the climbers were looked after with expertise. Ong Chou is without question a large part of our success as he kept us well fed and healthy during our time at Base Camp.
As you know the trip was a huge success. I can remember you and I having lunch a year ago in Talkeetna and your words were: "If you want the best chance at the summit, and the safest trip possible, it would be smart to choose Alpine Ascents International." You were right and I am glad I made the decision to go with you,
Thanks for the awesome experience and Kudos to the entire crew!!
The expedition was successful and very well run on all accounts: Logistically, humanly, socially.
"Describe your guides' ability to pass on their experience and knowledge to you."
- This is something that has always impressed me with AAI guides and the main reasons why I chose and keep choosing AAI for my climbs. Ben and Lapka guides by educating us and not just telling us what to do. They took the time to explain ahead of time what the next steps of our climbs were and how we were going to approach it. But, they always are careful to spend the time explaining these next steps just in time. Not too early, not too late. Often we are just so eager that we were ahead of ourselves and Ben always brought us back to focus on the most immediate critical steps ahead so that we can focus our learning to what was most critical at the time. Please keep this a focus for your guide philosophy. Being teachers as well as technical climbers is what makes these climbs and experiences so memorable.
AAI delivered again on my expectations.
Flawless planning, preparation, logistic and execution.
Best guides in the business. Most enjoyable experience on a challenging, long time away from the family trip.
I cannot recommend AAI enough to friends, family and anyone who asks my opinion on who to sign up with for life-changing climbing and trekking experiences. - 2014 Climber
I thoroughly enjoyed the expedition. Everyone was very supportive, considerate, and caring to the climbers on the expedition. Even though this is the first AA expedition where I did not summit, I will say it was one of my favorite in large part due to Ben, Lakpa, and Tshering. They were wonderful! Lakpa and Ben are great guides. They always were reminding us to eat, drink, and breathe. They were patient and always encouraging. I would find it an honor to climb with either one of them again. - 2013 Climber
I had an excellent time during the entire expedition. From the moment I met Jiban and our guides at the Yak & Yeti, and our Sherpas later on, I felt we had the best people for this adventure. Obviously, Ben and Lakpa had a thorough understanding and experience working together. They were a very effective and complementary team. Guides had an easy personality and were personable. Sherpas were amazing ("super" Sherpas!)... Great attitude, smiles, enthusiasm, very hard working yet fun crew, no matter the load or the circumstances. Overall outstanding performance and organization by AAI throughout! See you on Everest spring 2014! - 2013 Climber
Enjoy would be an understatement! It was an exceptional expedition and could not have been more streamlined. The experience could not have been better! The guides were outstanding. I had already climbed with Lakpa (which was why i joined this trip) and knew of his great leadership skills and Ben was equally as great a team leader-they worked perfectly together. Professional approaches from both and very clear and precise teachers. All were fantastic! The best crew ever! A delight to spend 5 weeks with all of them! From start to finish in organising the trip, all members of staff were super efficient and professional in all areas of correspondance. Outstanding camps and the choice of hotels on the drive in were of great standard, considering the area. Food was outstanding beyond belief (thank you Gopal!) and the daytime snacks and upper mountain food were well above standard. I don't think there was much room for improvement. The whole Alpine Ascents experience (my first) way exceeded expectations in very aspect of the expedition. Sorry i can't add to any improvement ideas! - 2013 Climber
"I can only say the best about the work of Michael and Lhakpa and the whole team. I bacame pretty sick during the expedition. But even with that weakness I could make it to the top, very much due to the help of Michael and Lhakpa. This is only possible with the perfect way of expedition-leading, what I have encountered only with Alpine Ascents. The only thing we were not happy about was the fact we could not go to Lhasa. But that was the decision of the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. The sherpa team was great - they did much more than they were expected to do, making our ascent easier. Gopals cooking was great as usual." Geri W.
"All in all this was a great expedition. Both had good leadership skills. Michael and open and direct communication style, gave clear instructions and tried hard to make the group work well as a team." Martin G.
"From the time that we arrived at CBC until the time we left CBC after the climb, the experience was superb." Michael G
"The expedition was great! It was the best trip of many great trips that I have taken with Alpine Ascents. Off the charts in a positive direction. Between Dave, Lakpa, Kami and Tsering, we had 21 Everest Summits in the group, and it showed in the ability and professionalism of the group. Dave and Lakpa both had some hard decisions to make on this trip, particularly about deciding to go for the summit on a less than perfect day (weather-wise). Their judgment and experience proved to be right on the money. All of my individual goals were met and exceeded. For me personally, the summit was a bonus, and I was thrilled to get there. I think that all of the goals of the expedition were met and exceeded. Every team member made the summit. We summited together as a team. The team stayed together and coherent and happy through the entire trip, and we all left the mountain in good health and with no injuries. What more could you ask for? During the time that we were on Cho Oyu, we saw many other expeditions. One of these expeditions, in particular started with 6 strong climbers (we met them) and was on exactly the same itinerary as us. In the first 2 weeks on the mountain, this group dwindled from 6 climbers down to 2 almost entirely due to poor guiding decisions and poor group dynamics. In the end, only one paying climber made the summit. This group had food, logistics and climber strength/experience that was every bit as good (even better than ours). The only major difference was in our guides decision making and group dynamics. In comparing our two group outcomes, it became clear how important good guiding and group dynamics was to a successful experience. I also watched as we helped several climbers from other groups who had somehow been let down by their guiding firm. Our Alpine Ascents guides were the Eagles Scouts on the mountain! At this point, I plan to use Alpine Ascents for every trip I ever plan. I also know several climbers from Cho Oyu that started with other firms but will now use Alpine Ascents in the future." - Paul L.
"It was a perfect '10'".- David L.
"Awesome trip! Extremely well organized. Culturally fascinating." - Michelle M
Everest Base Camp Trek
Amazing, Professionally run, the ground staff you employed, Sherpas etc, made for a well organized trip. We were especially lucky to have Vern and Carol as our guides, as they knew the local people and monks in the monasteries, was a fantastic experience. I honestly don't think they could of made it any better, absolutely faultless. They gave us the knowledge and confidence of there skills at all times, particularly as when we gained altitude with what to expect and how to handle it. We left the mountains feeling completely immersed in the culture, the ways and passions of the sherpa's and a good knowledge of the history of the land, culture and environment. I can't imagine many guides being able to offer such an insight as Vern and Carol are able to, with all there passion of the Sherpa people, we shared a few emotional moments with them. We met as strangers and came away as friends. The real strength is the depth of expertise you have clearly gained over many years, the fact that everything runs like clockwork without any apparent effort for something that must be a mine field to organize proves this. The real strength is the depth of expertise you have clearly gained over many years, the fact that everything runs like clockwork without any apparent effort for something that must be a mine field to organize proves this. - Fall 2014 Trekkers.
Great trip. Vern and Carol were great. Beautiful people and venues. Would love to go back one day and explore more areas. Beyond expectations. And Vern played the guitar, very cool. Amazing leadership and I think he should become a professional speaker when he retires. Amazing stories and experiences. At one point Carol pushed me to be the leader of the Kala Patar climb and she knew I could do it, however, I had not pushed myself to that point. I will never forget that and the impact it has and will make in my life. Unbelievable mix of mountaineering and local culture. They really respected the land, the people, religion and culture and I was very thankful and respectful of their approach. It meant a lot to me. Phenomenal, very caring, informative and know their stuff. The most personal and spiritually fulfilling trip I have ever been on and can't wait to do more! First trip to Kili now this. You run a top notch firm and great guides and I can't wait to come again! - Fall 2014 Trekker.
It was clear that Vern & Carole are pros and very knowledgeable. They shared their passion for the Khumbu region with us. The local Sherpas were very helpful as well. - Fall 2014 Trekker.
The trip was up to AAI standards. Organization, logistics and quality of itinerary were excellent. Vern and Carole were fantastic, and the weather was excellent : ) Vern and Carole added a great deal to the quality of the trip. In sharing their knowledge of the area, the people, high altitude travel etc. they raised the trip to a level other companies only aspire to reach. I was excited when I learned Vern and Carole would be our guides, and they exceeded my hopes. Vern's experience in those mountains is world class, and having a person with that wealth of firsthand knowledge was, for me, a huge treat. I felt both welcome by them, and that I was with guides who put my safety first. Perhaps most importantly they made all of us feel they were part of the team rather than above it. When a team member had an issue logistically or medically they handled it in a caring, professional manner. Their comments, answers and suggestions added significantly to my experience/enjoyment. I wish to thank them again here, and hope I am fortunate enough to travel/climb with either or both of them in the future. Strengths include immersion in the area and culture. Hard to improve this as Vern and Carole introduced to many local friends and their homes, arranged an audience with Lama Ghese (so I got that going for me), and shared much local/personal information we would otherwise not have learned all of which made the trip spectacular. The nice weather and timely arrival/departure from Lukla helped too, but that is beyond AAI's control. Weaknesses: None from my point of view. - Fall 2014 Trekker.
I would like to thank everyone at Alpine Ascents for a wonderful trip to Everest Base Camp. Our guide, Sidar, and sherpas were extremely helpful and encouraging throughout the trek. The schedule we were given allowed us to acclimitise properly and allowed us to explore the villages we were based in. An amazing adventure for me, thank you again!
I cannot begin to express how amazing Vern was! He was constantly checking up on the team, gave useful tips to deal with altitude, gave us cultural lectures, interesting information about mountains and had time to serenade us with his guitar every SINGLE day! What else could we ask for! Vern also ensured that we were always taken care of, he was attentive to our needs and concerns (every morning, he would check up on whether we slept well). He also ensured that we were also safe at all times. The group kept saying how lucky we truly were for having a legend mountaineer as our guide for 18 days.
ALWAYS. During our trek, we would continuously stop to talk about the local culture and mountains. We continuously asked questions, and Vern always gave us an answer. There were times after our trek, he would come back to continue discussing some of our questions. I thoroughly enjoyed Vern's storytelling, and sharing his amazing experiences of his mountaineering life. I would like to thank Alpine Ascents staff for their prompt and easy correspondence. Gordon, Chris, and Ellen have been wonderful.
- R. A.
Overall, this was an experience beyond my expectations. In the past, I have found that an Alpine Ascents expedition, whether a climb or a trek, has been the envy of other groups - and this trek was no exception. Every aspect of the trek was first-rate. Vern was an exceptional guide who inspired complete confidence in his ability to lead and make responsible decisions throughout the trek. The local guides who accompanied us were also exceptional and could be counted on when needed.
Vern's knowledge of the region, culture, and general mountaineering was impressive. He was informative and entertaining throughout the trek. I couldn't have asked for a better guide and consider myself lucky to have been able to travel with someone as passionate and talented as Vern Tejas. More than personable and easy to get along with, he made everyone feel as though they were travelling with an old friend. Reminders are great to emphasize the physical component of an expedition. It's good motivation if you're already doing the work and a sobering reminder if you're not. - David T.
The trek was indeed an adventure of extremes - weather, culture, physical and emotional effort, intense beauty, poverty, and third world reality. I can not say enough about Vern and Carol - both so knowledgable, educated, informed, fun personable and most important willing to share the vast amount of high altitude precautions with the group which added to the success of the trip. As a couple they provide a wonderful balance of facts with emotion, empathy and information. - Sheri G.
Fantastic! It was everything I had hoped for and more! I wanted to thank you and Alpine Ascents for a wonderful trip to Everest Base Camp! I wish I were back in the Khumbu! The itinerary was perfect! It allowed plenty of time to acclimate and I felt stronger as we got to higher altitude. Also, the folks you had on the ground in Nepal were fantastic! I'm used to handling arrangements while I travel by myself, so it was a great comfort (and a bit luxurious) to have someone there for me to take care of everything at all times. I especially like the side trip to Thame (Kami's village) to acclimate further. Meeting Kami's parents and spending time at the Monastery in his village was probably the highlight of my trip after being at Everest Base Camp. I have been very happy with the Alpine Ascents staff and programs thus far and look forward to future trips." Carolyn M.
"Overall, the trek was by far one of the most amazing experiences I've had, including being stuck in Lukla for a few days and trekking out to catch our heli-ride! Ben, Gopal, Kami, Subais and Jiban were all top-notch and made the entire experience memorable, as well as enjoyable and fun." Anne K.
"The guides excitement for the area is contagious. I noticed their watchful eye on each of us for signs of health issues (although it was done on the sly) ensured that we were well taken care of. The distances were designed to be possible for the average person and yet still challenging for a sense of accomplishment. Guides were outstanding, friendly and extremely knowledgeable."
"An absolutely outstanding, once in a lifetime journey, experience. It was truly incredible to not only trek to base camp, but to be able to do it with superb Sherpa guides and world class Mt. Everest climbers, in terms of our guides and some of the climbing sherpas. We would definitely do it all over again, now knowing what we know and most definitely with Alpine Ascents and would highly recommend this trek to others.
We found that Alpine focused not just on “trekking to Mt. Everest Base Camp and back”, but very much on teaching us about the local culture, the sherpa way of life, beliefs and culture, sharing their years of experience in the region with us, discussions on acclimatization, how to stay healthy during the trek, which really assists in one enjoying the trek through staying healthy and acclimatizing well, real focus on safety
Our guides were superb, world class, but most importantly, were very approachable, supportive, helpful, doctors at times, and a privilege to have hiked with. Very easy to get along with for sure and each a fascinating person to have the opportunity to spend some time with.
The strengths of this trip are your great guides, superb logistics and organization, thorough knowledge of Nepal and the local community, excellent local guides and Sherpas, very attuned to the need for appropriate acclimatization, being attuned to your clients and checking in with them especially those who were having difficulty acclimatizing, well equipped and knowledgeable about appropriate medical assistance, drugs, and the application and usage thereof, very personable and approachable guides, integration with the Everest climbing team was a real important extra and benefit this year. There are probably a few more I forgot!
Your quality is outstanding and superb. Your years of experience really show forth." John D.
"We thought is was an incredible experience. The tour of Kathmandu prior to our departure was incredible and the knowledge of our guides was exceptional. The timing of the days was good and their ability to care for everyone was great. What a treat to have a world class climber lead us through the mountains he knows so well. Your staff was excellent and the cybercast was also very helpful to friends and family that were following our trip." Tiffany B.
"Absolutely wonderful. The trek met and exceeded my expectations. Seeing the Himalayas and Everest is a memory that I will never forget - so happy that my husband and I made the decision to go on this adventure. It was so beautiful!" Rachel S.
"Spectacular! Did not want to leave the Khumbu. Guides were of absolute highest caliber." -Margaret K.
"Most remarkable trip of my life - expertly guided by extremely knowledgeable people. There aren't enough superlatives in the English language to describe the experience. Office staff was attentive and helpful." -Larry S.
"One of the most fantastic, rewarding and magical journeys I've ever participated in. Outstanding guides and leadership with a wealth of climbing and cultural expertise." -Jason G.
"Fantastic. Everything I'd hoped for and more! Learned lots about climbing, Nepal, saw monasteries, met the Everest Team, met a lama etc. I successfully had my first altitude experience, I got to see fantastic scenery, we were able to interact with the Sherpa in the region and to get an understanding of their way of life, history and culture."-Bill S.
"Fabulous, thrilling, arduous. The acclimatization was well-done and the Sherpa were very responsible and helpful. My guides instruction in pressure breathing, rest step and general skills made it possible for me to reach all our goals, He explained what effects altitude has which helped me manage when the time came."-Alison G.
"A great adventure, a real trip to remember. Good people, good company, good arrangements - enjoyed the cultural as well as the overall mountain experience." -Richard T.
"It was tons of fun and I would do it again. This trip was one of the most well-organized and well-run operations that I have been associated with. The guide's knowledge of the region, it's history and customs and their ability to pass this information along to the clients really helped me to make this a very enjoyable experience. The Sherpa with us were friendly, caring people who seemed genuinely interested in seeing that we all enjoyed ourselves. The office staff was most helpful. Emails were answered almost immediately and when I called for information it was provided during the call. This trip was a true adventure and a good time was had by all."-Harris P.
"The expedition provided an even richer experience than we were anticipating. The personal and educational look at Nepal was exceptional. We had anticipated that Alpine Ascents was the number one trekking company in the world and were pleased to discover this was true." -Warren & Becky J.
"Excellent, Beautiful, Tough! We had a great time." -Rob & Marilyn R.
What a joy to be back in the Khumbu. After a 10-year hiatus, the region is as enchanting as ever and certainly unique amongst remote corners of the world. The mountains are as breathtaking as ever and the change to spend time with the Sherpa of Nepal is as impacting as it was some 25 years ago" Gordon Janow - Director of Programs, Alpine Ascents
"I'd been to Nepal before, but traveling with Alpine Ascents was a different trip altogether. The trek logistics were flawlessly organized, from Kathmandu to Base Camp (even the layovers in Bangkok) so I could concentrate on enjoying the countryside. Traveling with experienced guides like Todd and Willi opens doors that are closed to most visitors. Not only do those guys know the way, they know most of the people along the way, and the result is a cultural experience unmatched by anything I've experienced before. It's the way Himalayan travel should be." -Peter Potterfield, Editor, www.GreatOutdoors.com
It was fantastic. Every aspect. The guides were great. Ben was a great leader and helped various people with (minor) health issues. He was a great field doc. Admil had a depth of knowledge of Peru, the Incas and local flora and fauna that really added to the trip. Joseph was a really nice guy. Absolutely – all of them. Fantastic guide group. It was great to share our climbing experiences with our spouses. - 2015 Trekker
Yes – it was great. Particularly enjoyed the hikes, cultural experiences, lodges, guide quality. Ben has a great style. He leads with understated authority and clear competence. Great leader. Ben did a great job teaching the group high altitude techniques – breathing, rest step, hydration, etc. Atmil was exceptional at teaching Peruvian and Inca culture and history. High quality as always. Can't think of much to improve. Terrific program. - 2015 Trekker
Treking around the Peruvian Andes was fabulous. Days trekking were just long enough so you could sit back and enjoy the wonderful lodge facilities every day. Clear communication of daily program. What to expect and reasons for various components of the trip. Ben was a very effective communicator. Clear, concise and free flowing with information. Definitely would recommend Ben to anyone. I hope to be able to do another trip with him in the future. I have done numerous trips with Alpine. As always no problems. 10 out of 10. Fabulous. Overall quality of the trip was fantastic. Just enough trekking to enjoy the mtns but also have some downtime to allow for people to relax and enjoy other things. Quality of the food and lodging first rate. Demeanor of the guides were excellent. Mountain lodges or peru guide super knowledgable. No weakness. - 2015 Trekker
It was fantastic. Will definitely recommend it to friends. Cannot imagine it being any better. One particularly unexpected but delightful experience was the 2 hour train ride from Aguas Calientes – the scenery was absolutely spectacular. Ben was a particularly effective leader. The three made a great team – Ben providing the leadership, Admil the local knowledge (which was amazingly broad) and Yosif helping with individual issues. Admil was never at a loss when asked about local flora or fauna – if he did not know (rarely), he provided the answer from one of his books. Ben was the go-to guy for issues with altitude and trekking. They made a great team. Admil's English was flawless by the way. Ben, Admil and Yosif were all great. Ben was a great team leader in a very low key way. Admil was a veritable fountain of local knowledge. His knowledge of Machu Picchu was particularly impressive – could not imagine a better tour guide. We got everything we needed – it was great. Our itinerary was a bit different than the rest of the group (we arrived in Cusco several days early) and it was all handled with no hiccups. The lodges were fantastic. The view from the first lodge was incredible – nice having two nights there. They were all great. And the hotel in Aguas Calientes was fantastic. The food was uniformly excellent. I think my favorite meal was the trout for lunch on the last trekking day – really phenomenal. The traditional Peruvian cookout was my second favorite meal. All were good. This is really a very, very nice, upscale trekking experience and I really enjoyed it. - 2015 Trekker
LOVED this trip. In all honesty, was only going to accompany my friends. This trip far exceeded my expectations. I have to say, the website photos of the trip don't do it justice. The trek itself was beautiful and highlighted not only the mountains, but the lush valleys and forests. The lodges - really great. The small touches - hot water bottles in bed (although the first one was a complete surprise as I slipped under the covers to feel a warm fuzzy thing touch my leg...), Water bottle, etc- they thought of really nice things that were clearly thought out. Ben was great. I always think I will never get a better AAI guide than the one I had before. And yet, I always do. I hope he can be on our Kii climb next summer. Lodging was excellent. - 2014 Trekker
Our trek was fantastic. I enjoyed every part of it. Our AAI guide, Ben Jones and our two Peruvian guides were OUTSTANDING. El Mercado in Cusco and Mountain Lodges were excellent in every respect. The guides worked together seamlessly to meet the needs of all trekkers of various capabilities and paces. Ben Jones, AAI was excellent in preparing us for trek conditions and altitude. He did a great job of keeping us on schedule too. Our Peruvian guides, particularly Raul were extremely well versed in all local subjects. Great 'color commentators.' Roger, our Mountain Lodges cook, was absolutely fantastic. The food was wonderful. - 2014 Trekker
It was a perfect trip in every possible way. Your partnership with Mountain Lodge is genius! The opportunity to avoid the hordes of people who hike the Inca Trail at the same time exploring the magnificent Vilcabamba Range and in the shadow of Salkantay and Humantay Peaks is precious!! We bonded as a group, we were inspired and cared for by David and we were well fed and instructed by the staff of mountain lodges! All in all, a trip of a life time. Thank you.
"The trip was really good and most enjoyable. Peru is a beautiful and very clean country, and it's people are very outgoing and friendly. The facilities/lodges were exceptional. All of our group were shocked by the quality of the lodges. You would pay to stay in these lodges if they were located in Seattle. Not enough can be said about how "good" they are and the quality of the staff personnel. We were also most impressed by the quality of the food and the presentation of the food at the dinner meals. Also, the hotel" Harris P.
"The trip was fabulous; very well organized. The guides were #1, lodges were great, food great. 100% satisfied!" Andre L.
Fantastic trip! Very well organized, great lodges. Greatly exceeded my expectations. Dave was amazing! He was very encouraging, fun to be with, a gentle, but serious leader. I am totally impressed and hope to do another Alpine Ascents trip.
A really great trip. Lodges were over the top. A three or four star lodge in the middle of nowhere. Food great both in the lodges and on the trail. Machu Picchu must be seen to really appreciate how majestic is the site and ruins" BB
"I had the best time ever. The trip was first rate all the way. - Kim F."
Great expedition. Good group of people, great guides and great weather resulted in great success. All 4 peaks submitted. 100% success on Chopi which I think is a first for Alpine Ascents. - 2015 Climber
Yes, I enjoyed my expedition very much. Great itinerary with lots of mountains to climb. All skills review sessions were good, thorough, guides were patient, explained things clearly, etc. Good progression of mountains. - 2015 Climber
"Overall the trip was outstanding. The climbs themselves combined with the culture made for a very enjoyable vacation. The guides were very professional, fun and easy to get a long with. The logistics were seamless. I felt like I was in good hands at all times. Jose Luis was the best all-around guide I have ever climbed with." Shane B.
"Excellent trip along with very flexible itinerary. Jose Luis was outstanding, His foremost concern was the safety and well-being of the group. One of the safest and most skilled individuals I have ever met in the mountains! Excellent strengths in the gaining of acclimatization near and on Pisco and the level of acclimatization was clearly shown by our group by excellent conditioning when Pisco was climbed (In an excellent perspective to other groups who suffered on Pisco and/or who were unsuccessful)." Paul M.
"I wanted to tell you that Jose Luis and Rene are just wonderful. They are just great and you run a perfect operation. I will be a client as long as my legs allow me to climb, I am already thinking about next summer..." Alberto A.
The trip was fantastic. Safe and successful summits of all three mountains. All climbs were challenging and fun. Quinces the cook made some great food (didn't expect to have a cook, or half of the other amenities we had in camp for that matter). Roberto the assistant guide is a great climber - I was a little concerned with safety when sharing a rope with him a few times (I can provide a few examples if it matters) but overall he was a good guide and I'd climb with him again. Louis was fantastic both on the mountain(s) and in La Paz and is exactly the caliber of guide/person I have come to expect when climbing with AAI.
Loved it! Cannot wait to come back with Alpine Ascents and Jose Luis
The expedition was great. Very well organized. Very good acclimatization schedule. I would highly recommend this climb to anyone wanting to gain experience and take the next step to climbing over 6000 meters.
"The expedition was great. Very well organized. I would highly recommend this climb to anyone wanting to gain experience and take the next step to climbing over 6000 meters. Jose Luis is absolutely the best. This was my second climb with him. Just a great person with the heart of a teacher and a true class act. The support guides were also very good. Eduardo was great. Jose Luis is a great leader with immense knowledge. He is always in control and exudes and quiet confidence that lets you know that he makes the final and best decisions regarding the climb. Jose Luis is the consummate climbers guide. Well respected by everyone, very easy going, always in control, and shares his knowledge and skills with anyone wanting to take it to heart. He is just a pleasure to climb with. The strength was the acclimatization schedule and the sightseeing prior to the climb. The archeological areas were a great way to gain knowledge of Bolivia’s history and people. I did not think there was a weakness to this trip in my opinion. It was very well done." - Chip M.
"Bolivia climbing is a well-kept secret. The climbing is spectacular, challenging and very satisfying. The fact that the peaks are all below 21,000 ft. and can be climbed in just a few days leads them to be underappreciated and underestimated."-Sal P.
"It was well-organized, seamlessly integrated. Best guide I have had on any guided trip."-Steve W.
"It was perfect! A great mix of acclimatization, touring the sites and great climbing (after excellent skills review) I couldn't have asked for or expected more!" -Steve E.
"Excellent. My guides made the trip very enjoyable. I'd climb with any of them again. The trip rocked! What a great time." -Ed R.
"Everything I expected. Wonderfully run, great time. I felt well acclimatized throughout the trip. I felt that the guides wanted to help further my climbing skills to ensure I could meet my future goals, not just get climbers to the top." -Jim W.
This trip exceeded my expectations. We received first class guides, food, hotels and service. This expedition took me out of my professional environment and in a span of ten days I experienced the culture of Mexico City, Climbed IXTA, visited the classic city of Puebla and then summitted Orizaba. This trip hit on all of my senses; sights/sounds/smells/curiosity/taste and of course the mountains. I cannot recommend it enough. - Eric R. 2104 Climber
This was my first international experience with AAI and i enjoyed it tremendously. The coordination between the Mexican support teams and AAI was literally flawless. There were no noticeable 'hiccups'. The guides worked vigorously to keep the expedition going forward, thus providing us climbers with an unforgettable experience. Stuart and Nick demonstrated very effective and strong leadership traits and skills throughout the expedition. I felt that Stuart and Nick had everything under control at all times. They are world-class climbers and guides. Their openness and people skills allowed me and the other climbers to learn from them at all times by just listening and observing. I consider them friends. They have the best people skills that I have ever seen. I need them around my office!!! - 2104 Climber
It was a very good trip which I enjoyed immensely. I think of all the trips that I've done, this is one of the best considering the modest cost of time and money required. The climbing part of the trip includes relatively easy access to two mountains with very rewarding climbing that includes exposure to moderately high altitude on scenic routes, but with few other climbers and requiring only a few days in huts or tents. The guides are first rate, as they are not only really nice people to travel and climb with, but are also very competent at what they do. I was pleasantly surprised at how much opportunity there was to experience and appreciate the culture of central Mexico. Our van driver Arnoldo was a first rate tour guide who gave us wonderful tours of the the museum of anthropology in Mexico city, the town of Puebla and the Pyramid in Cholula. The food cooked by the guides on the mountains was very good, and the food available in the markets, street vendors, and restaurants on this trip is simply amazing. What surprised me the most about this trip was the few tourists we saw and the low number of people on the team given how good this trip is. I think that people tend to be afraid of central Mexico, but I believe that this is unwarranted and that this area of Mexico is actually safer than the resorts where most tourists flock to. It was a privilege to climb with two guides who knew both of these mountains so well. Roberto's knowledge of these two mountains is unparalleled and Stuart did a great job of emphasizing the important aspects of both climbs including the planning, suggestions on what to wear, what food to bring, risks and safety, the importance of good ice axe and crampon technique etc. - Kevin H.
The climb itself was outstanding! The guides and their experience are the program's strength!
Excellent program, nothing to complain about. Stuart was always willing to listen to the group but make the decisions best for the group overall. We altered the itenerary slightly to optimize our climbs. Roberto had excellent local knowledge of both mountains. Stuart did an excellent job when there was an accident involving another group on orizaba. I can't think of anything to improve upon.
Great program. Great itinerary. Very enjoyable. Liked flying into Mexico City - made for things to see and easy to get around on the first day while waiting for our evening meeting. Our guide had excellent skills, had nice review of basics, very informative.Well versed in the mountains. A pleasure to be around and deal with. very patient. Very easy to get along with. We had a really nice group of folks which made the trip fun & interesting.
I loved the expedition. Had a really good time. Stuart was great and Roberto, the assistant guide, was also a great asset to our expedition. Stuart was a wealth of knowledge and experience. This was not his first time on the Mexican volcanoes. Stuart along with Roberto, who had hundreds of summits, were able to come up with a game plan on Orizaba which consisted of bypassing high camp since there was no water. Instead, we did the 5000 foot summit from the hut, which I believed, increased our ability to successfully summit. Also, throughout the climb, he would share prior experiences in order for us to learn from him. He was very open and easy to approach also. Although, I didn't have the greatest confidence in myself, he clearly stated he believed I was going to be able to summit and if he felt I was not in that position, he was honestly tell me and turn me around. Since, I was still a beginner, I felt I was in good hands and could rely on his experience and knowledge. Overall, it was a great experience. I am looking forward to Elbrus and to more mountains after that with your company.
"In essence, the trip was great. A good combination of interesting peaks and cultural excursions within a short space of time. Garrett and Ben were great mountain guides, and Arnold added another dimension to the trip in the museums. As ever with an AAI trip, it was highly professional and client-centric and successful." Matthew H.
"Let me say you are by far the best guide service I have ever used. I could not give Alpine Ascents and the guides anything but the highest ratings. I look forward to using your service in the future with a possible Ecuador trip or maybe Aconcagua. Thanks for a job well done." Gary D.
"Excellent. I have relatively little mountaineering experience and Mike and Solveig were very safety conscious and helpful. Every night they would review everything we needed to pack for the next day, what to expect etc.. which was great. I had climbed one small volcano with a Mexican company (HG Mexico) and was not impressed with their mountaineering skills or safety consciousness. I wanted to go to these larger volcanoes with someone I felt comfortable that they knew what they were doing. At all times I felt comfortable with Mike and Solveig."
"Most excellent adventure! I trust my guide Eric implicitly and look forward to climbing with him anywhere again. His command of ability, consistent awareness of the every-evolving changes in us and the environment, sensitivity to each of us (our status and needs), rollicking good humor and stimulating thoughts, as well as an ease to go with the flow, reflect a well-balanced individual and guide. My intention was to grow mentally, emotionally, and physically on this journey, stir inspiration, and have fun, regardless of my success of meeting all three summits. Oh yea! I succeeded admirably. This was actually the most fulfilling climbing adventure I have had with you guys. Thanks to my guides for the significant parts you have played in my movie of life and mountaineering. I appreciate the attention to our health, well-being, and enjoyment reflected in the quality of guides, extent of guidance, often the extra overnight at altitude, the colorful and dependable choices of lodging and food, and Alpine Ascents' dedication to follow-thru on all levels. I really appreciate the conscientious attention to logistics and us that are applied to ensure our success and enjoyment." David H.
"As in past expeditions, it's a treat and an honor to be a part of this group. Great people, physical challenge, top notch guiding, and pure fun. No doubt it was an incredible adventure. Allen is an outstanding guide and person. His expertise, leadership and experience were glue to bond our team together and his patience and good nature icing on the cake. Because of him our entire group had a safe but challenging and riotously fun time. I'm looking forward to joining yet another one of your expeditions." -Dawn M.
"We had a great time! We wouldn't hesitate to climb with Allen again or to recommend the trip to our friends." -Al & Linda C.
"Great experience, a well-matched team led by experienced guides. I am thrilled with my performance and considering doing more high altitude trips." -Pat O.
"We had a great trip (in every way). Could not have asked for a better planned trip. We were unable to summit Orizaba because of weather, but the weather provided an element that created a new set of challenges and with it a new set of goals. It all worked! I can honestly say that after this experience I will only climb with Alpine Ascents!" -Alan R.
"Simply, our guide is obviously an excellent mountaineer and leader." -Brian S.
"I thought it was great! Our guide was patient, encouraging and an excellent leader."-Michael B.
"I think the expedition was great. I have nothing but praise for our guide and everyone I spoke with in your office. Reasonably priced, great guides."-Charles P.
"I loved everything about the trip. The accommodations, local contacts and guide was extremely skilled and a pleasure to climb with."-Oscar R.
"Just a quick note to tell you what a wonderful time I had on the Mexican Volcanoes Expedition. The program was excellent throughout, and exceeded my expectations. Willi is a fine guide and leader, and I would not hesitate to climb with him again. I set a new PAR, found I can handle higher altitude, learned some new climbing techniques, learned some general travel lessons, and had fun. In all, time and money well spent." -James R.
"Having just returned from the expedition, I wanted to say what a truly wonderful experience it was. The whole expedition was extremely smooth? My guide is an insightful and dynamic leader. I was very happy not to have to climb false summits on Izta. I learned new skills, but more importantly I learned a lot about myself." - Corey A.
Certainly an epic journey that I (and I imagine nearly every other climber) will remember the rest of their life. There is no doubt that AAI ran a well organized, 'user friendly' program and has established a great reputation in Antarctica as well as among climbers in general. They seem to own this trip. I very much appreciate Gordon and other AAI office staffs' efforts to find me a spot on this trip late in the game. It really felt good when Vern said we had run out of mountain and I was standing on my sixth continental summit!!! My guides, they were always organized, professional, on the same page. Inspired confidence. I don't think any one of our 12 climbers doubted or questioned their ability or judgement once during the entire trip. I felt that I was in good hands, though not babied, the entire time. All 3 of them readily shared tips - they knew what to say, when and how to say it. Never demeaning. Vern is obviously a very seasoned pro who likes things done a certain way - but he was good at explaining his way and why he felt is was the best approach (and he always seemed to be right!) Admin / office staff were great - always available by phone, quick response to e-mail, friendly and informative. Course materials were extensive and very helpful. Website is the best I have seen for a guide service / company like AAI - and I have looked at many. Very well organized, fast. - 2015 Climber
Great trip - thanks. Thoroughly professional in planning and execution. Delighted with all aspects and focus on safety and enjoyment. Great understanding of clients and objectives of group. My guide was outstanding and a benchmark for industry. Exemplary as usual. Communications were never in doubt - always fantastic and responsive. Not convinced that Gordon ever sleeps! Hard to improve. Lots of rest days where we needed them. - 2015 Climber
I really enjoyed the expedition. Food was great, leadership was excellent and we had fun. Good decisions were taken, they were well explained. Everything was smooth. Great people. Sometimes, great mountaineers are not great guides. These two guys were great mountaineers and great guides.
Superb trip - very good food, a nice surprise at the end - a turquoise soft shell jacket - I like it very much and the guides were great, thank you!
We had a great climb and were blessed with some really good weather. Garrett and Matt were both quite organised and made the whole trip really enjoyable. We were really pleased with the guiding that they did. Taught us things along the way and they were quite relaxed and easy to get along with. Pretty well organised expedition. The food and planning worked out well along the way. All the camps were set up with gear which minimised the need to carry a lot of extra stuff - a real strength for AAI. All the office stuff was really well organised and this worked really well. Lots of info and we felt well informed.
"Vern did an outstanding job with our team. I learned a tremendous amount regarding mountaineering. It was one take away after another. He was well prepared for everything and left no stone unturned. The expedition went well. Logistics were relatively smooth, there were no major delays and we had a tremendous group. Far and away it was my favorite group and a truly memorable climb. I would recommend it to all!" Fred C.
"As usual very well organised; the logistics on this one are difficult to say the least and as usual AAI brings it all together very well and provides a great experience of the Antarctic. Both of my guides have first class mountaineering skills; the experience they bring to a group are second to no-one. Strong logistics; good guides and very well understood environment- the complete package" Leanna & Mark S.
"Good program. Very professionally run and organized. Both guides had excellent mountaineering skills and were very willing to teach and share their skills. This is my second climb with Alpine Ascents and it is very well organized and seem to have the best interests of the climbers in mind." David G.
I enjoyed the expedition tremendously. It came up to or surpassed my expectations. The logistics are impressive, the caches great, the food real American style. And last but not least with the best and most experience guides one could wish for. I learned some "tricks" that I had not learned from previous guides. Yes, Garrett was very friendly and interested in the individuals. Also he was always willing to help with the gear or with a heavy load. He was calm and patient all the time. I am still impressed by the strengths as described above. No weaknesses to report.
We very much loved and enjoyed the expedition. Well-planned and well-guided and well-arrangements. Yes, Our guide proved himself to be a very, very sensible, and super-skilled professional. His decisions and work were above words! I have been guiding for 15 Years, have met hunderds of guides, tour leaders, tour operators, but Garrett being a guide showed more than a guide, he treated us like family. And it was for us a family picnic not a guided Expedition! Very wonderful Personality!
This expedition was very amazing and enjoyed the entire expedition. Garrett is a lovely person, I have no words to admire him, he is a great guide, lovely person, kind human, a great professional who take cares of the client more like family, he is absolutely like a great brother! In the past four years, I have been climbing in Pakistan, Nepal, most of the time I climb with my brother, Garrett treats the clients like family and we felt like a family picnic, he is truly a wonderful professional and the best guide!
"Great climb. We felt like the most organized team on the mountain. Other companies that were doing one-off expeditions down there do not have the experience of Alpine Ascents International. Also it is clear that ALE has a lot of respect for Alpine Ascents. Strengths were: experience, top guides, infrastructure (tent walls already built, camps often stocked, good relationship with ALE, etc.) incredible summit rate, the little 'extras' (cybercast, team jacket etc.) helpful literature/brochures/website. Also, it says a lot when you have a climber ask to leave another team and join ours because she saw who the better outfit was on the mountain. I was very impressed with the whole operation. There was no comparison with other teams when we were on the mountain; Alpine Ascents was tops. And some of the guides I saw coming off the Jet when we left looked absolutely lost. I realized how fluid the welcome had been for us compared with the other teams I watched arrive." Ryan D.
"I have climbed with a few other organizations. I will have to admit that I feel that I am in the best hands with Alpine Ascents." Laura R.
"The quality of guiding is the biggest strength of this program. The food served and prepared by the guides was delicious and diversified and was the envy of many clients from other guiding companies. It makes it easier to eat and drink and stay healthy during the expedition. The fact of having food cached at base camp, higher camps and at Union Glacier is a great strength, it makes it easier to climb the mountain and is a great thing when you are stuck for 8 days in Base Camp and Union Glacier. Definitely 200% better than any other organizations I've climbed with. Guiding is also way better (they teach you stuff)." Michael W.
"Everything went smoothly, the guides were great, the mood of the team was great, and the weather was great! The guides did a super job of keeping us informed and entertained. Good planning and logistics, good prior information and briefings. The posh houses are great as they provide a social center for the group. The cybercast was a fantastic facility and really helped my friends and family back home." Rob M.
"It was an awesome experience. Nothing was overlooked from the moment I arrived in Punta until I went through security on the way home. Very good group of climbers, would do it all over again." Dianette S.
"I was thrilled to be in Antarctica. The plane ride over was exciting. The scenery was spectacular. I have always found Alpine Ascents to be excellent compared to other groups I've traveled with." Jeanne S.
"I thought is was a fantastic experience. Alpine Ascents did a great job providing logistics and experienced guiding. Antarctica did not disappoint with great beauty and surprisingly good weather! Great mountain, great guides, overall a good group of people with good mountaineering skills. I got to see a new part of our world, meet so many great and interesting people and it is always nice to touch the top." Roy Z.
"Awesome trip, the guide's skill level was superb. This was my third trip with Alpine Ascents and we have had 100% success on all 3 climbs!" -Chuck V.
"Well organized trip. Great guide team. Important positives included: Great group gear; Cybercast for family/friends; Food; Entertainment (music stories, etc.)." -Jean V.
"Simply an outstanding expedition to one of the most awesome and beautiful spots on the planet! An outstanding plan and execution by both the guides and participants." -Gary W.
"No injuries and successful summit. With strengths high in logistics and food. Expedition was a success. Wonderful."-Charles C.
"Our guides were both great and easy to work with. I appreciate their professionalism and easy going attitudes. Great Trip. Outstanding experience."-Lee M.
"An absolutely incredible expedition. Highly recommended for any serious mountaineer and these are certainly the people to go with."-John S.
The Carstensz Pyramid trek/climb was an absolutely wonderful adventure. The Adventure Indonesia guides were excellent. Ben Jones' comfort and skill interacting with the porters allowed Trudi Seiwald and me to "share life" with the locals for a few weeks and enhanced our experience and understanding of the Papua people.
In a nutshell, all expectations met. Vern, as always, outstanding.
The trip was great (though I may not have been as quick to say that when I was trying to pull myself out of a waist-high mud bog at 10,000 feet)! I can honestly say that this trip was the most challenging thing I've ever done physically and ranks pretty high up there in terms of mental challenges, too. The jungle is formidable, to say the least. Initially, I was nervous about being the only female as well as the least experienced climber on the trip (and the only one to have never met Vern!), but the group could not have been nicer or more supportive. And, Vern Tejas is The Man, as I am sure you already know. I really feel privileged to have been on a trip with him. Also, having seen all the possibilities for mix-ups and delays, I am amazed that we proceeded exactly according to schedule. Kudos to Vern and Alpine Ascents for making everything work smoothly.
Carstenz was a lot more rewarding and fun then I had expected. Ben Jones did a great job with us. He is so kind, so patient, so easy to hang out with. I really liked him as a guide and as a person, he is **wonderful**. I'd sign up for Everest with him. Ben was terrific, the natives and the guides got along with him so well and he was always positive and reassuring with us. The rain and mud were hard, but it was absolutely other-worldly there, a step back in time with the barefoot porters and crazy muddy wet jungle trails. The mountain itself was FUN! Thanks - it was a very memorable trip.
"Great adventure - Indiana Jones stuff. Trip exceeded all expectations. It was much harder than expected but the group performed well and I think we all feel we had a larger than life adventure." -Jon L.
"Fantastic expedition. Everything one might ask for from hair raising flights to jungle bushwhacking to cliff hanging. Full-on adventure. Excellent guides. And an unforgettable experience." -Jeff A.
"We had a great time, the group was great, I learned more about climbing on this trip with Willi, than I have on all of my previous climbs. I count my Alpine Ascents Mongolia trip as one of my favorite vacations. Mongolia is an amazingly beautiful country and the Mongolian people couldn't be nicer or more hospitable. It is an adventure that should not be missed." -Kim F.
"The ground support was excellent in the areas of travel, timing, events. My individual goals were met and exceeded, My guide was extremely patient and he is a superb teacher, I feel lucky to have had him as a guide. Our Mongolian liaison was outstanding." -Jeannie B.
"I'd do it again. Met my expectations in terms of culture, conditioning, and mountaineering experiences. Good logistical layout. Great local guides, great point of interest visitation plan. I rate it higher than other organizations expeditions I have been on." -John K.
We are so pleased with the tour. You have opened a new world for us, a culture and place so beautiful, so complex, so rich. As usual in traveling we come home with another perspective on which to view our own world. The trip was a wonderful overview. I cannot wait for the opportunity to return with you and to explore more profoundly the richness of the culture. Thank you for everything that you have done. - Doug S.
Gordon - Your deft guidance and deep knowledge of India made our experience unforgettably outstanding. All five of our senses were continually stimulated - to the max. Also the unusual bonding of the group was gratifying. We care about one another.
Truly, the trip was absolutely wonderful. It infiltrates my thoughts night and day and I've not yet grown tired of looking at pictures. The way you orchestrated everything - time, places, food, experiences was great - just enough guidance and information. For example the way you eased us from elegant Raj boulevards gradually to the cacophony of Varanasi's thoroughfares seemed masterful! I couldn't have asked for more. - Laura I.
Your background and experiences in India helped us experience India in a unique way that no other tour can offer. - Sue R. 2005
Not always could you hope to have such a well motivated and compatible group, BUT this was one of these times and made the event extra special! I really can't think of anyway things could of been improved. I think this speaks to the many years Alpine Ascents has been in the mountaineering business!
Great trek in a spectacular part of the world. Yes. I was happy to get to Base Camp and climb Kala Pattar, but I was even more thrilled to climb Island Peak. - Julie H.
"The Everest Base Camp Trek / Island Peak climb program was planned, communicated, and executed perfectly. Honestly, it is quite difficult trying to identify any true flaws with the program. The acclimatization schedule was spot on. Our gear that traveled by Yak / Porter was ready & waiting for us each evening (despite the gear bag the airline "lost" on the way to Lukla). The food was amazing, especially Dipak's cooking! Accommodation was comfortable and generally, very "clean" considering the environment. The knowledge, professionalism, and general attitude of the guide staff (Winslow, Passang, Ang Norbu, Dipak) and support staff is why I will be returning to the Khumbu with Alpine Ascents in the future. Without a doubt, one of the best experiences of my life thus far." John P.
"This was a lifetime event for me - the fulfillment of a dream. The people, places and events made for an amazing and challenging adventure. I am completely satisfied with the expedition. Logistically, the program was flawless, from the events in Kathmandu, to the food, to the accommodations, the supports along the trail and the climbing. Everything went as planned, and if there were problems, the trekkers and climbers didn't see them. It was a true expedition experience, except that we were treated so well, we missed out on all the suffering! I think Alpine Ascents is tops." Randy W.
"The logistics of the trip were well-organized. The Sherpa support was fantastic - food was clean, tents/equipment carried and assembled, friendly. The route selected is the classic Everest trek, and you will see all the big peaks - Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu, Ama Dablam etc. Itinerary built in enough time to acclimate well. High summit day success rate - while observing safety The Alpine Ascents group was, by far, the most upscale group in the Khumbu. Endurance is the key to succeeding, regardless of who you ultimately choose. I recommend Alpine Ascents (with whom I had climbed with on Kilimanjaro and in their 6-Day training course) because I want to focus on the beautiful scenery, friendships with the group, and the cultural exploration. I highly recommend Alpine Ascents for this, or any other climb." -Chuck P.
"Superb logistics. Very Professional. Food and all cooking, water, juice, table setting - luxury standard. Entire experience 5 stars pus one. My guide was patient, strong, knowledgeable, and performed an incredibly difficult job with energy good grace and panache. The entire staff was so happy, amicable, friendly, always smiling, and such an open demeanor - this was one of the high points of the trip, this astonishing positive attitude of all the Nepalese people. As an ex-guide and NOLS instructor, Alpine Ascents for this trip sets (also including other trekking groups on the trail) the very highest standard."-Robert B.
"I found the entire expedition very well organized and maintained. It was very much what the itinerary stated." -Martin D,
"Truly an outstanding experience. All guides were extremely knowledgeable and their skill level was at the top."-Arch S.
"Overall the program was more than expected. Everything was organized down to the smallest detail. Great to be concerned with nothing but having a good time and climbing. All guides were constantly teaching and transferring knowledge."-Joe H.
"Strengths are clearly the caliber of guides and the logistical planning. The guides are not only great mountaineers but great people - a pleasure to be with. The staff in Seattle is excellent – always ready to help and get whatever information you need. I have not been exposed to any weakness (you should be proud of your organization)."- Jim B.
"The region is incredible, excellent cultural introduction during first week of acclimatization, the mountain is amazing, base camp set up is pretty deluxe, staff was superb."- Greg J
I enjoyed it immensely. I came back equal parts exhausted and elated, which is pretty much a perfect result for an adventure of this sort. Everybody in the group summited on the same day. Our team's interpersonal chemistry was especially warm and supportive, even though we had not climbed together before. I found Chris (my summit day guide) to be calm, patient, and confidence building. The big issues for this climb are safety and efficiency, and the guides were all over that. One-to-one guide to climber ratio for the summit was really beneficial. The Alpine huts were comfortable, and offered good food. The remodeled Hoernli Hutte on Matterhorn is especially plush. Climbing the Dri Hoernli (skill practice) and the Weissmies (pace/endurance) was excellent preparation for the Matterhorn. - 2015 Climber
Exceptional trip from beginning to end and very well coordinated. The guides were skilled, professional, and personable. Jonathan was the leader and assembled a guide team that worked together extremely well and with each client as well. All of the clients were in good hands and we had absolute confidence in them. Johnathon and Lee were both guides for me and both are great communicators and instructors. I knew what they wanted me to do and received clear instructions at every point. I am a better climber from what I learned from them during this trip. Great people, incredibly friendly and easy going.
I have climbed with AAI multiple times. This was one of, if not the best experience so far. From beginning to end everything was perfect. The itinerary was clear and coordinated, the staff/guides were exceptional, accommodations and travel arrangements very good. I could not have asked for more. Additionally, I cannot say enough about Johnathan Spitzer, he was incredible with every client, everyone felt welcomed and a part of the team because of his leadership. His expertise and climbing ability is without question. And he made sure all details were taken care of and did so so seamlessly that no one even noticed - we all just assumed everything was taken care of and it was. He is the best guide and AAI representative I am aware of and I will continue on as a future client in large measure because of his approach and leadership on these climbs. - 2015 Climber
Here is my evaluation. I can't say enough good things about this trip and the guides. Just when I think climbing with Alpine Ascents can't get better, it does. This was the trip of a lifetime. Words cannot describe the quality of this trip. It far exceeded any expectations I could have even put on it. It was the most amazing experience of my life. The quality of the trip was due 100% to the guides who led it and I could never say enough about them or thank them enough for all the effort they put into it. Alpine is lucky to have these amazing guides working for them and I was lucky to get a chance to climb with them. I can't say enough positive things about the leadership skills of the guides on this trip. The trip was well thought out and organized with options in case of weather and extra summit days. When the question of safety came up on the first summit day the guides were very careful in their thought process and collaborated to make the right decision to wait the day out and summit the following day. Their leadership skills are among the best I have ever seen in my lifetime (not just in guiding mountains). Both Jonathan and Dylan were extremely good at passing all their experience and knowledge on in all the situations that arose. You could approach them one on one and ask specific questions on gear, physical stamina, concerns, and questions. They also always offered their assistance which made you feel comfortable to approach them when you needed to. They also always offered different ways to tackle problems to cater to individuals strengths during the climbs without us even having to ask a question. I also wanted to make a note of my summit guide, Eric Larson. He was amazing at guiding me up the mountain to the standard I wanted to be guided and made me feel safe and comfortable in all the situations that arose during the ascent and descent, offering me guidance when needed.
The guides on this trip have been my favorite that I have climbed with and plan on climbing with them in the future. I would climb anything with any of the guides. They are exactly the type of people I would want to guide me and also the type of people I would want to be friends with. And after the trip I consider them my friends. Both Dylan and Jonathan (also Lee and Eric) immediately make you feel comfortable and you trust them and their decisions right away. Their personalities are unmatchable and it made the trip unforgettable with laughing, nicknames, and games along with the climbing. I honestly have to say there are no weaknesses in this program. I was so impressed with the logistics, guides, and alternatives. Jonathan, Dylan, Lee and Eric are absolutely amazing guides and people. As we spent most of the trip with Jonathan and Dylan I wanted to reiterate how great these 2 were. They worked extremely well together and made you feel safe and comfortable. World class doesn't even begin to do justice in describing them. I thank them for making the trip so memorable and can't wait to climb with them again. - 2015 Climber
We wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our second Matterhorn trip. The reason we returned to the Alps with AAI was because we think so highly of Jonathon Spitzer, Lee Lazzara and the rest of the team. We know Jonathon works hard behind the scenes to ensure that the trips are executed flawlessly. We want to make sure he knows that his attention to detail doesn't go unnoticed. Even when things didn't go as planned last year because of weather, Jonathon showed grace under fire. Jonathon and Lee lived up to their reputations again this year. As always, they were safe, professional, knowledgeable and patient. Because of these qualities, we will continue to book trips through AAI with this team of guides. We plan on signing up for another trip as soon as your 2016 schedule opens. Jonathan and Lee are wonderful assets to your organization. - 2015 Climber
This is a note to let you know what my experience was in Zermatt and with Johnathon and Hans. I would like to say that I have done climbing numerous peaks over the last 25 years. I have used guides a number of times and have never experienced the quality of the guides Johnathon, Hans, and Cece. They are all personable, and make the experience a lot of fun. They are all also a wealth of knowledge and are willing to evaluate and teach you to improve your weaknesses. - 2014 Climber
"This is a very strong program. The food was excellent. On the climbing side, the guides were excellent. Everything was well organized. Equipment, transportation, etc. were never a problem. I can't think of any weakness or criticisms." -Robert S.
"The expedition to the Matterhorn was my second trip with Alpine Ascents, and it more than lived up to my expectations. The guides were excellent, the climbing was fantastic. This was an excellent trip that only served to further Alpine Ascents standards." – Adam P.
"While I loved each and every expedition with Alpine Ascents, the Matterhorn expedition was superb. Our guide was a true leader and gifted climber. He went out of his way to increase our skill, confidence and sense of achievement." Jim B.
"Our climb, lodging and food, in-country training, Beni and other Swiss guides, Zermatt and Switzerland exceeded expectations." Ben H.
Loved, loved, loved the Mt. Blanc trip!!!!!!! Thank you so much for everything. Peter and Jonathon are absolutely amazing! I will be climbing with Alpine Ascents again - hopefully soon. Oh my gosh!!!! I don't think there are words to adequately describe my expedition. It was WAY beyond just enjoying it. It was absolutely spectacular!!! It far exceeded my expectations. The guides were amazing, the country is simply breathtaking, the huts in the Swiss Alps are incredible, the team of clients were awesome, the schedule was perfect, everything was perfectly scheduled and coordinated, the food was to die for, etc. I just have nothing but praise and excitement for the Mt. Blanc trip, Alpine Ascents and Peter and Jonathon in particular. Even though the conditions of Mt. Blanc itself did not allow us to climb that route, the guides worked really hard to come up with an amazing back up plan that was a perfect substitute for the original goal. Absolutely first rate, class act that went far beyond my expectations. A+++++++. 2 thumbs way up. On a scale of 1-10, I'd give the whole experience a 50! So, to answer your question, yes, I did enjoy my expedition.
Jonathon and Peter are unbelievably impressive. Their list of credentials, their experiences guiding around the world in all kinds of terrain, conditions and environments, combined with their interpersonal skills left me feeling very confident in their abilities and a little bit intimidated simply because they are so incredible and amazing. They were both organized, patient, talented, worked well as a team, and managed our group with the effectiveness that is only found in the most gifted leaders. They were excellent in communicating with us and patiently demonstrated different techniques and skills. Also, I really appreciated that they were both so positive and encouraging. They were both constantly telling us that we were doing well and offering other bits of encouragement along the way. Often times I would hear different clients ask one of them the same exact question that several other clients had already asked them and I was very impressed with their patience and kindness with which they treated each individual climber, answering each question as if it was the first time they had been asked that. I think it would be a challenging task to be both an exceptional climber and an equally exceptional guide that can effectively lead and manage people. Peter and Jonathon both completely knock it out of the park in both areas. So, to answer your question, yes, the guides demonstrated very effective leadership skills.
Peter and Jonathon were very patient and gifted in passing on their experience and knowledge to us, their rookie, inexperienced clients. They worked with each of us individually when we had specific needs such as properly putting on our crampons or the most efficient way to pack our gear. They also did a great job teaching the whole team different skills. The first day when we went out on the glacier to practice cramponing, climbing and ice axe skills, they were by far the best teachers I've ever had in effectively communicating the proper way to walk up and down a glacier, be on a rope team and other skills that they worked with us on.
Very!!! I was so impressed with how personable and easy to get along with they both were. I think that guiding would be a challenging job simply because of the diversity of clients and constantly having to deal with beginners. Every few days or weeks they encounter a completely different team of clients all with different personalities, opinions, and skill levels. I can imagine that gets old after a while and yet Peter and Jonathon made us feel like we were the most special, important team they had. They were friendly, outgoing, welcoming, engaging and very approachable – which is really incredible the more I got to know about them. They are both so very accomplished you would think they should be more arrogant and unapproachable but instead they made me feel like I was on the same level with them. They were very engaging, funny, interesting and just simply really great guys. I'd climb again with them in a heart beat.
This was my first trip with Alpine Ascents. I have been nothing but impressed with the organization and communication from the administration and office staff. Every email I sent was quickly responded to, every question I asked was quickly answered, the forms were easy to fill out, the preparation details and materials were very helpful with specific details and information that made preparing and planning for the trip much easier.
Oh my goodness - the hotel we stayed in in Chamonix was so quaint and adorable. It was clean, had great breakfasts, had rooms that we could meet as a team, the rooms themselves were very nice and it was in a great location. And then the Swiss hut system is amazing! I'm used to sleeping in tents when I climb where I usually end up sleeping on some uncomfortable incline with several jagged rocks somewhere under my tent and an occasional frog or family of ants in my sleeping bag – so sleeping in the huts in the Swiss Alps was kind of like the equivalent of staying at a 5-star hotel. The tarts, running water, real beds, amazing!
Strengths: Everything I listed above. The organization of the administration and office staff, the friendly, efficient customer service, the incredibly gifted and talents guides, the fantastic program, the planning of the routes through the mountains, the peace of mind from the attention to detail and safety, etc. I don't even have enough time or words to list all the strengths of the Mt. Blanc trip, our guides and Alpine Ascents. The whole experience was over the top fantastic. Weaknesses: - 2015 Climber
I am a recent client on the Mt. Blanc climb in Chamonix, France and I would like to share with you briefly my experience of the excellent service provided by Alpine Ascents which makes me a repeat customer. Under normal circumstances, exceptional, warm weather is a highly desirous trait for a climbing expedition. However, in our case, the warm weather rendered the traditional summit route unattainable due to severe rock fall danger. Our summit approach was subsequently changed to the route from the Aguille de Midi. Not only was our guide, Jonathan, attentive to the need to change plans, but was exceptionally proactive in arranging huts and logistics to make this alternate plan a reality without any complications or delays. Further weather reports indicated sections of the new route to have a precarious glare ice traverse. Extra guides were consequently recruited for summit day to insure a 1:1 guide/client climbing ratio. All came back happy, safe, and successful. The exceptional knowledge, flexibility, planning skills, and foresight of the lead guide and the unwavering attention Alpine Ascents shows to client safety by increasing the guide/climber ratio is precisely why I am a repeat customer. - 2015 Climber
Yes thought it was well planned out and as always organized extremely well. Jonathan and Lee were very competent and knowledgeable. The took control and had safety has the highest concern which I appreciated. They were open to answering questions. I asked a lot and they were great about them. Yes I think they were very laid back and easy to get along with. In general I think they did a great job. I must also comment that Tim, who came on the last day was very helpful to me and very kind in working with me as I was the least experienced out of the group. I think its a great program. - 2015 Climber
Yes, I fully enjoyed my expedition. Although we did not have the opportunity for a summit attempt, I can't imagine that my trip would have been any more enjoyable had we summited. Jonathon, Lee, Mike, and Silas were just terrific. The warm-up hike up to and around Albert Premier and Trient refuges were just great. The alternate activities provided when we could not summit were challenging and a lot of fun. - 2014 Climber
Jonathon did a fantastic job of managing a challenging trip. The region had a long period of adverse climbing conditions. Because our team was comprised of two groups (half joining 1 week for Mont Blanc + half extending a second week for Matterhorn), Jonathon ensured flexibility in the attack plan to accommodate both those there with only a small window of opportunity to summit vs those there with more days and who could wait for potentially better climbing conditions to make a summit attempt. Jonathon's way of managing the situation ensured that no one had to give up his own preference to support a majority decision. - 2014 Climber
It certainly wasn't the trip I had expected. Weather shut out our planned Mont Blanc summit (a disappointing repeat of my 2012 AAI Mont Blanc experience !), and snow left by that weather cut short our rescheduled attempt just below the summit. The snow also made Matterhorn simply impossible. Thanks to guide creativity, I still got in 12 days of interesting climbing and skill work, with a chance to grow in experience and confidence. Jonathon was a great manager as our plans had to be changed multiple times. He pulled it all together to make the trip challenging and fun despite the ugly conditions on the mountain. He also assembled a great team of guides, who worked well together to support all of us. I would climb again with any of these guys in a heartbeat. - 2014 Climber
I just returned home and wanted to send you a note to let you know what an incredible experience I had with my recent Mont Blanc and Matterhorn trips in the Alps with AAI. This was the 5th trip I have done with AAI and it was exceptional. Jonathon Spitzer is without question the best guide I have ever worked with and a real asset for the company. His first priority was the group's safety, second people's enjoyment, and third meeting everyone's desire to summit. All were achieved in my estimate and I am happy to have chosen AAI again. - 2014 Climber
Tremendous experience but the weather was not our friend so failed in our Mt Blanc and Matterhorn Objectives but achieved in my objectives of spending quality time with my son and getting him hooked further on mountaineering while keeping him safe. Jonathon was very focused and tried hard to ensure we had a good experience as well as driving us hard. - 2014 Climber
Very much enjoyed this expedition. Very well structured to ameliorate jet lag and altitude issues. Very high quality. Very much enjoyed this expedition. Very well structured to ameliorate jet lag and altitude issues. Very high quality. - 2013 Climber
I found the Mont Blanc climb to be very well organized and executed, as I have with the many other AAI trips I have taken in the past. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and felt I got a lot of great, individual instruction to help move my ability levels ahead. Jonathon did a great job of gauging the experience and comfort levels of the team and making appropriate adjustments to ensure everyone got something out of it. The climb itself was definitely a highlight of my climbing career, having never been to the Alps. The terrain is breathtaking and challenging and the progression of the climb from acclimatization/training to summit day was perfect. - 2013 Climber
The guides were both able to perform in the leadership role and would transition from one to the other seamlessly. In fact together they made a great pair of leaders - keeping us motivated, encouraged and pushing our limits (always with safety as the paramount consideration). - 2013 Climber
Their ability was excellent. They explained well in simple, easy to understand terms, and demonstrated effectively what to do and what not to do. They gave us opportunities to practice crampon and rope travel skills on glaciers and rock, which we needed on the actual climb of Mont Blanc. - 2013 Climber
Yes, well planned and executed trip. The schedule of training/acclimating and then the Mont Blanc climb was excellent. - 2013 Climber
"Had a fabulous experience. Jonathon is a very competent guide and instructor. 2012
"Excellent. The guides were friendly and pleasant while clearly leading the party with authority. I enjoy the fact that they were not condescending to the climbers. As leaders, they communicated effectively with the climbers regarding itinerary, route, what to expect on the climb and safety. Strengths are the quality of the guides, the planning and logistics, the excellent teaching and communication and the focus on safety. I did not see any clear weaknesses". 2012
"Our guide did a great job of adapting/adjusting the program to suit the skill and experience of the climbers who showed up for this trip, and knows all the variations available in the locale to make that possible". 2012
"Great program, really enjoyed the first three days of training/acclimatization hike around the glaciers and the impressive hut system found in the Alps. The extensive rock climbing was unexpected but all of the guides did a great job getting us prepared to handle challenges of the first portion of the summit day on the grand couloir." 2012
"This was a fantastic program that offered me a lot more than I was expecting. This is a mandatory AAI trip for the range of experiences and climbing options. I was completely satisfied and would recommend this to everyone regardless of their past climbing achievements. There were no weaknesses that I could see. The program's huge strength is that this really isn't just a Mont Blanc program, it's a Chamonix alpine climbing program. The shear range of climbs and options is mind-boggling. What's more, all of this fantastic climbing ends up each night at a hut or hotel with the possibility of a fantastic meal and wine! Another strength is the great job that Gordon does making sure that all pre-trip arrangements are correct. Gordon was very flexible with me as I had to change my trip several times." - Mark F. 2011 Climber
"You have an outstanding staff / contacts in France and Switzerland. Jonathan Spitzer is energetic and personable. I sensed everyone was at ease with him within minutes of meeting. Jonathan's choice of supporting guides was excellent. They were equally personable. While we did not do the advertised program, I would like to say that I really appreciated your accommodation to let us do more technical climbs as an alternative. The quality of routes, huts, and infrastructure make Chamonix a special place. " -Chris C 2011 Climber
"The expedition experience took us through a number of different challenges. It was a great learning opportunity. Very good communications from AA and the lead guide in getting things set up, equipment needs. Guides have exceptional mountaineering skills. " - Frank B. 2011 Climber
Washington Summit Climbs:
Absolutely! This was a well balanced team. I learned a lot and, as always, had a fantastic time. They struck a good balance with a relatively experienced team of climbers. Yes they did. Craig did a great job (well, everyone really) overall for the climb. I have climber several times with Devin and he also provided great leadership especially for the team that did the rock climb on the top. This was my first time climbing with Josh and he did a fantastic job working with our rope team. He was great about keeping us informed about what he was doing and our different approach as we hit the rock portion of our climb. He made it fun and easy and did a fantastic job! Yes, all of the guides were great. They adjusted well with our group (who all know each other very well). It was really a good mix of people and personalities. I had to coordinate with serval people to adjust times and confirm equipment, etc. They were all great, responsive and easy to deal with. Gear check went smoothly. I have to say that for a climb that is not done as often or with as many people that everything went smoothly. It all really worked out well and I have no changes or improvements. Fantastic job by all parties (communications, office staff, gear check, guides)! - 2015 Shuksan Climber
It was amazing! I had a wonderful experience. I'm so glad that I had this opportunity and that I was able to experience it with great people. During the entire climb I felt safe and secure and always felt that I was in good hands. Never did I have a feeling of uncertainty. Even though the guides had ideas with how they wanted to proceed with our climb/camping, they always included us in the decision process. They clearly explained their point of view and rationale for a decision and made sure we were all on board. They were rockstars! I couldn't have asked for better guides. Even when we got caught in a lightning and thunder storm they stayed positive and maintained a happy disposition. Throughout the climb they were exceptionally encouraging and motivating. Again, I couldn't have been luckier with the guides I had. I found the responses to emails to be prompt and thorough; each question I raised was addressed. Once I was at AAI, everyone I encountered was tremendously friendly and welcoming. - 2015 Eldorado Peak Climber
It was incredible! Start to finish, I found this adventure to be satisfying, rewarding and enjoyable. Yes, absolutely. I felt that the initial instruction/overview at the trailhead was direct and instilled confidence that I was in good hands and that we had a plan for us to be successful and to enjoy ourselves throughout the trek. They were all very experienced and knowledgeable about mountaineering and I felt like I could ask them any questions about Baker or other mountains in the area. The office staff is exceptional and super friendly. I feel super comfortable with this team and the communication they provided leading up to our trip. I think overall I'm pleased with the experience. I think that you guys run a lot of trips so I'm sure it's time intensive to connect with each climber/client. I think you did a great job sending emails and checking in and the gear check was a nice opportunity to make sure we had everything we needed. Overall really happy with this experience. - 2015 Climber
It was incredible! Start to finish, I found this adventure to be satisfying, rewarding and enjoyable. Yes, absolutely. I felt that the initial instruction/overview at the trailhead was direct and instilled confidence that I was in good hands and that we had a plan for us to be successful and to enjoy ourselves throughout the trek. They were all very experienced and knowledgeable about mountaineering and I felt like I could ask them any questions about Baker or other mountains in the area. The office staff is exceptional and super friendly. I feel super comfortable with this team and the communication they provided leading up to our trip. I think overall I'm pleased with the experience. I think that you guys run a lot of trips so I'm sure it's time intensive to connect with each climber/client. I think you did a great job sending emails and checking in and the gear check was a nice opportunity to make sure we had everything we needed. Overall really happy with this experience. - 2015 Climber
"From start to finish, I knew we were with the right outfit. It was an unforgettable experience, a true lifetime experience. Across the board my guides all showed great leadership. I'm a teacher myself and these guys know how to teach. I not only learned and felt confident, but I had a great deal of fun in the process. People learn better when they are relaxed and enjoying themselves and they were awesome at this. They were funny smart, charming, gentle and accommodating. It must have been a huge challenge to take an all-women group, spanning 4 decades of cancer survivors. We were an incredible mixed bag of skills, ability and attitude and these guys made us feel special. Gentlemen to the bone!!!! Cancer was forced on me, I had no choice but to face that challenge, but climbing Baker I CHOSE, for myself and pushed through a lot of fear and limitations as I hoped I would. I hurt this morning but I am alive and well and a stronger, better woman for this experience. I also made great friends!!!" Dyani B.
"I was very pleased - there was excellent documentation and guidance prior to the climb. The fitness goals were very helpful and definitely helped us ready for the demands of the climb. The trip was excellent. As good if not even better than any other climbing related program I've participated in."-Jeff R.
"Excellent. Climbing Mt. Baker was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The guides were easy to talk to and fun to be around. There was plenty of food, enough time for rest and lots of time for hands on learning and asking questions." -Sharon A.
"Very well organized from the beginning when I first contacted the office through the climb itself. The office staff helped me choose the best possible climb for my interest and ability and the written materials I received were completed and helped my choose my gear correctly, which can be confusing for a beginning climber. Your reputation is well-deserved, I would definitely choose a trip with you again." Lisa S.
"What an incredible trip! I did things I've only seen others do. Me! Our guide was so knowledgeable, helpful, encouraging and fun! Thanks Alpine Ascents for giving us this top-rate guide to make our Adams Glacier experience A+"-Don, Thom, JJ
Very much so! Our group had a great time. The comforts provided for an outdoor experience are phenomenal including a hot breakfast and dinner both days on the mountain. I felt this led to better performance by all of the climbers including myself. I was very happy with the quality of the expedition including the guide staff who were terrific. When called on to make the tough decision to turn one of our rope teams around (which is exactly why we went guided) our guides came through for us and did not compromise the safety of the group. Our guides provided us with excellent demonstrations during snow school and critiqued our ability to follow instructions correctly during that time. In addition, I was given constructive criticism for things I was told to avoid during snow school. All in all it felt like our guides were watching to ensure we followed their instruction and to ensure the safety of our group overall. We very much enjoyed our guides. They were friendly, funny, and generally just excellent company. Our group got along with all of our guides very well and it was a pleasurable experience being around them. I'd be happy to join any of our guides on future climbs. The administration, office staff, website, correspondence, and course materials were key in making our trip a success. I constantly found myself referring to the website to check items off my gear list. The staff at the AAI office during gear check were very friendly and helpful. Correspondence regarding training for the climb were a very useful for measuring progress and readiness for the climb. The administration, office staff, website, correspondence, and course materials were key in making our trip a success. I constantly found myself referring to the website to check items off my gear list. The staff at the AAI office during gear check were very friendly and helpful. Correspondence regarding training for the climb were a very useful for measuring progress and readiness for the climb. The food provided was outstanding!!! I never would have expected to eat like a king during a climbing trip. Ropes used by our guides were high quality and appeared to be in great shape. Strengths: Outstanding guide staff – from start to finish all of our guide staff were very knowledgeable, friendly, funny, personable, and likeable. Unbelievable food for a mountain experience – I rarely eat as good at home as I did on Mt. Rainier. Our guide staff prepared some amazing meals in places I would've never expected it. Ride to and from the mountain – Our drivers were wonderful and it was great not having to drive to and from the mountain before and after the climb. With the fatigue that undeniably takes place after a long day of climbing it was great to be able to rest a bit during the return trip back home. In addition, having our drivers show up at the mountain to greet us with cold refreshments after a very long day of climbing was just what the doctor ordered. Weaknesses: Can't think of any - 2015 Climber
Absolutely - the expedition was outstanding in every aspect. Compared to other mountaineering trips I've taken with Alpine Ascents' competitors, I found the trip to be extremely well organized, informative and instructive. What I will remember most from this experience is not my actual Rainier climb, but rather my interaction with the Alpine Ascents guide team. They are truly an amazing and special group of people, and I greatly appreciate their thoughtfulness, empathy and good humor.
Although Nik was likely the youngest member of the guide team, he was by far the most compassionate and thoughtful out of all of the guides on the trip. Nik led the rope team right behind me during summit day, and instructed me throughout the last parts of the climb to the summit – both in terms of using the ice axe to climb through steep pitches, as well as giving kind yet firm encouragement to keep me moving forward. I doubt I would have summited Rainier if he were not there. Additionally, because I had altitude issues and no appetite on the last day, my pace was significantly weaker than the rest of the group during the descent. Nik was incredibly patient in waiting for me to descend the mountain at a snail's pace, and never showed any irritation at my frequent rest breaks or inability to take down food. He truly cared about my well-being, and I have no doubt he would do the same for any other climber. I would like to relay my sincere thanks and appreciation. Alpine Ascents is very fortunate to have him on its staff.
Kirah led my rope team during summit day. She was very strong and patient in guiding myself and another climber down the mountain early after summit, and making us descent as fast as possible in accordance to our abilities. I was moving fairly slowly at that point, had loose footing during the rocky portions of descent to high camp, and sometimes freaked out while crossing over crevasses on steel ladders. Kirah took it all in stride, dealing and working through all issues calmly.
I really learned a lot from all of the guides on this trip, especially from Devin and Kirah. Kirah's tutorial on glacier travel, proper footwork, and appropriate equipment was extremely clear, well thought out and informative. Her presentation was intuitive, easy to follow and remember. Devin was a wealth of information during our initial gear check, as well as during the climb. All of his recommendations were spot on. I especially appreciated his suggestions to bring real food that we would enjoy, rather than the usual power bars. I had little appetite during the trip due to altitude issues. I would have eaten far less food if I had not adjusted my snack options according to Devin's recommendations.
They are personable, thoughtful, fair, hardworking, and exhibit an emotional maturity and tenacity that is severely lacking in most of corporate America. These guides make Alpine Ascents what it is. I had been on a previous mountaineering trip where one of the guides was very arrogant and disdainful of our lack of backpacking/climbing knowledge and/or physical fitness levels. This was not the case with the Alpine Ascents team at all – they were all eager to help and make sure we were having a great experience. Devin and Nik were the most thoughtful of the group. Ben also helped distribute and carry a portion of my belongings down from Camp Muir during the last day, which helped me get down the mountain faster.
The food on this trip was the best that I've had. It is truly a luxury to have non-dehydrated, real food while camping. Strengths: superb organization and logistics, excellent and high quality guide team. Weaknesses: None that I can think of. I look forward to many future trips with Alpine Ascents. - 2015 Climber
Fantastic experience. The guides were experts and imbued a confidence that translated to all client climbers. And the weather couldn't have been better. Superb. All 4 guides did a wonderful job of explaining vital information for safety, preparedness and route planning. They also did a great job of preparing the group mentally for what was to come. I almost felt guilty arriving to camp with tents already pitched and meals prepared for me! - 2015 Climber
I cannot say enough about how amazing the experience was. Every bit of it - even the challenges - were simply incredible. I feel quite lucky to have had this group of guides. Their accomplishments as mountaineers were not lost on our group. They were top notch in every way. Each guide stood out as being humble and sincere. I don't know how common that is amongst guides - but there was never an ounce of ego or attitude. Quite honestly, their just being good people made everything they said and did accessible. It was inspiring for someone like me who would love to continue mountaineering. I wanted to literally mimic their style and grace. John is a fabulous conversationalist…and is very sincere. I truly think that he put everyone at ease with his calm, professional demeanor. His background in nursing was extremely helpful as well. I cannot say enough about Lakpa Rita Sherpa. What an honor to have climbed with him. He is absolutely hysterical and a master at his craft. I was quite sad to leave him! Alpine Ascents has some very talented backcountry chefs. The food was honestly the best I'd ever had on the trail. I will spend the next several campouts aiming to replicate the burritos that were served. Gear - Also perfect - an exceptionally easy experience. You guys know how to do it! Honestly, I have nothing to say with regards to improving. I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the experience. I cannot imagine climbing with anyone else. The guides were just absolutely incredible and I would trust them with my life at any time. Top notch all the way around. - 2015 Climber
I had a fantastic trip on Rainier. One main point I noticed from beginning to end was the level of professionalism and planning involved. From Josh's equipment check, which was spot on, to the food bags prepped, and climbing equipment in a Job-Box, it felt like I was climbing with a quality company rather than a backyard crew. One of the main differences I noticed between my climb with Alpine Ascents from other guiding companies was that food was cooked for the group and the quality of food. It's a weird thing to focus on I guess, but it was amazing the difference in stress levels knowing our food was taken care of vs. knowing we had to figure it all out and ration. The guides were really great. This group of four in particular were an extremely well-balanced crew in regards to personalities meshing together. Brent and Josh established themselves early as being the vocal leaders and the people to go to for help, beta, chitchat, stories, etc. The other two guides held their own in a different way, both with phenomenal experiences and resumes, they tended to be a little more quiet, but always steady.
I feel somewhat seasoned as a climber having a lot of ascents and lead experience on my own, so there was a lot that I felt aware of on ascent day that enabled me to see our guides objectively as very high quality. This year's climate for Seattle and the northwest has been no mystery – I have never seen Rainier look so brown and exposed before, so I knew going into it that we would have icier conditions, more exposed slopes, and lots of route-finding challenges over crevasses. The climb did not disappoint in that department. In addition, we were climbing in consistent winds with solid gusts and I noticed the two lenticular clouds the second there was light. Given the climate conditions as well as the weather conditions mixed with the heat, I felt this route up Emmons was fairly sketchy. They made efforts to minimize this in all ways from being upbeat and chipper to having strong words for climbers when necessary to ensure safety. While other parties decided to wait until 3 am and some of them 7 am, our guides wanted to be the first out, waking up at 11, and out around 12am. During our ascent every rope team leader maintained.
Then there are softer leadership skills like socializing with clients during the hikes, break time, and dinner/breakfasts. I had multiple hours of conversations with Josh and Brent and not all of it was about climbing, which to me is the strongest indicator of quality. If I can converse for hours about thoughts and ideas outside of climbing beta, then the guides are actually investing in their clients.
Strengths were the level of prep prior to the climb. This includes walking into the welcome room for gear check and already having the t-shirts and climber permits lying on the benches with names. That kind of walk-in prep and service says a lot for first impressions. Josh took the baton from there with an equally professional gear check and climb. I was under the impression the whole time that the guides had everything that could be expected within their control. There were no cowboy guides, they were professionals. - 2015 Climber
The guides were exemplary, weather was perfect, instruction re-assuring yet safe and clear, fantastic food. I really appreciated the structure of this itinerary with the initial hike to Muir, somewhat relaxing snow school/Ingraham Flats day, and then summit. I felt confident in their leadership, coaching, and assessment. They worked well as a team and were great individuals that were a pleasure to spend time with. They took the time to explain the risks without making it sound ridiculously scary. The consequences and expectations were clear, as they should be, but they certainly weren't scaring anyone off the mountain – just making sure everyone understood the risks and how to mitigate. Again – HUGE thanks for Lhakpa, Kyle, Kira, and Troy, and all the staff at AAI– what a phenomenal experience. I would highly recommend your company and may climb Rainier again! - 2015 Climber
Alpine Ascents knocked it outta the park! This was my 3rd trip with AAI (Baker; Ecuador & Rainier) and each time I'm impressed with the quality/safety of your company. All 7 climbers reached the summit which is a testament to your guides. There were 4 first time climbers who had never stepped foot on anything close to Rainier. Job Well Done!!! The cool thing about this trip was the vast knowledge we had guiding the trip. Guides who have summited the tallest; nastiest peaks around the world. Each guide shared their experiences both good and bad with our group. Each guide was very encouraging during skills training and each climber walked away better prepared. I had booked all 8 spots on this trip and let me tell you…I bet our roster changed 10 times. AAI's office staff never once complained and Chris Thalman was awesome to deal with. Same is true for Ellen. Each time we made a change the appropriate emails/paperwork was sent out to the new climber. If there's a complaint in this department it would have to be pointed back at us for not getting everything turned in timely. Your folks were great! AAI has this program nailed down in my opinion. We seemed much more organized; prepared and in better spirits compared to others on the mountain. Thanks again to AAI for another unbelievable trip! Everyone left impressed with your staff/guides and for most an experience like no other. - 2015 Climber
The climb was awesome! Always a butt kicker but it was a fun experience, especially going with a bunch of friends and family. The weather was beautiful, the guides were friendly and professional, and the mountain provided a unique and challenging route thanks to all the hard work the guides have been putting in to it. Compared to the long summit day itinerary and freeze-dried meals that we saw another company's clients munching on at Muir, there is never a doubt in my mind that AAI is the company to climb with.
We could not have asked for more from our guides. Ben was a great lead guide who provided the perfect combination of friendliness, humor, and professionalism. He always laid out what to expect for each day's itinerary and made sure everyone was prepared for the next step. His "tough motivation" for some of the climbers definitely ensured a higher level of success on summit day. Danny is/was a friend to majority of the climbers on the team so he was able to customize his teaching/knowledge to fit the individual whether he/she needed "tough love" or humor to get through each part of the climb. Joe was awesome working with the "slower" members of the team. On summit day we had to switch around rope teams due to differing climbing speeds halfway through and Joe was able to provide one-on-one treatment on his rope. His patience and motivation led to a successful summit for that individual. As a female it's always great to work with female guides and Pasang was no exception. She has a ton of experience and knowledge and was always on the lookout to help out anyone with their struggles to include hurt feet, dehydration, and excessive fatigue.
The guides were always helpful in answering our endless stream of questions. Ben entertained our curiosity about the various international expeditions he leads and motivated many of us to want to climb other peaks. His knowledge and experience is extensive but it was also evident that he gave each of the other guides the opportunity to share their expertise as well. When it came to teaching skills Danny was very knowledgeable about the different walking techniques and how to conserve our energy on summit day. Joe had great advice on how to pack a light and easy to access summit day pack. Pasang was very helpful teaching self-arresting techniques but even more importantly she was great with my mom. My mom had a difficult summit day experience and Pasang ended up giving her a lot of one-on-one treatment which really helped her out. Due to that time with Pasang my mom was able to come off the mountain not summiting but with a very optimistic and happy attitude.
The guides were very easy to get along with. We were a rowdy group and the guides joined in our ridiculous jokes and storytelling making it a fun climb. They shared their personal life stories and made everyone feel welcome and a special part of the climbing team. My experience with the administration and office staff was seamless. The course materials were very helpful with making meal plans and training. Camp Muir was great. I love the fact we get to use the gombu as it provides a little more comfort for the first night. Having the tents set up and ready to go at High Camp is also super helpful. The extra sleeping mats at both locations was great as well! The group equipment and tents were fine, no complaints there. The food was awesome! The warm cooked meals were a great way to start and end the day (I always recommend AAI to others because of their fabulous meals). Guacamole burgers and crispy French fries were a great way to end day one and the blue berry pancakes were my favorite breakfast! - 2015 Climber
I loved every second of my trip. I was lucky enough to reach the summit, and look forward to trying Mt. Baker with your outfit next year. I don't often use the words "World Class", but the team assigned to us was exactly that. This was my first mountaineering experience, and while I was physically fit enough for the trip, I wasn't prepared for how technical this climb is. If not for Craig, Tom, Troy and Thomas's considerable experience level I would've probably quit on multiple sections of the ascent. Every time I started to panic and think this is WAY too dangerous, I was able to relax knowing I was working with some of the most talented people I've come across. The food was much better than I expected. Best quesadillas ever! The entire trip was amazing and I will use AAI again for any future climbs. Please be sure to pass along my notes on Craig, Tom, Troy and Thomas, because without them I would've never made it! - 2015 Climber
I signed up for this trip because I wanted an introduction to mountaineering and the chance to summit Rainier. It's something I've been interested in for a few years, and I was hoping this climb would give me the experience to continue learning and climbing unguided in the future. It did not disappoint. The whole experience was a bit more intense than I was expecting, but in the best way. I gained a lot of valuable knowledge from guides who have climbed in the Himalaya and Denali, I got to camp in a tent on the mountain, I crossed crevasses, and I stood on the summit. It was incredible. One of the reasons I chose AAI over other guide services was because of the schedule of the trip and the chance to camp on the mountain rather than stay at Camp Muir the whole time. I absolutely made the right decision. The guides were also fantastic.
Although training was relatively short for this climb, I still felt that I learned quite a bit. Our guides definitely shared their knowledge with us and helped to teach when they could. I think continuing to make sure the climbers on the trip are educated about what they're about to do and really prepared for it is most important. It certainly affects the enjoyment and experience of the whole group when there are people who are less prepared. There are so many other factors that influence the experience that you can't prepare for as well (like the altitude and cold), so being knowledgeable about what to expect is so important. Our guides added to the quality of the whole experience. Having a well-known guide who has summited many mountains in the Himalaya and another who had just been on Denali was really unique and beyond what I expected. - 2015 Climber
I couldn't have been happier with this climb. This was my first major summit and it was perfectly executed and the guides seemed to be an all-star team. The logistics were flawless, and it was awesome to have transportation to and from Seattle. From start to finish, the experience was one I will never forget and AAI will be my first recommendation to anyone getting into this sport. I would definitely use you again for my future climbs! Like mentioned before, it seemed we had an all-star team. They seemed poised and in control the entire time, knew exactly what they were doing, and really made sure we had the best chance at getting up the mountain. They let you know when you were doing well with little comments, which helped boost confidence in yourself. They really put you at ease for the climb, and gave you the confidence you needed to make it up. The tips and tricks along with snow school really helped as well. It was clear they all knew what they were doing and have done it many times before. Each guide was unique in their methods but all had great attitudes, were humble, funny, and just a pleasure to work with. It was like climbing with a bunch of pals rather than drill sergeants. I couldn't have asked for a better group for this climb. - 2015 Climber
Once again, I found my AAI expedition to be flawlessly organized and executed, with AAI guides and personnel delivering everything I was expecting (and then some) on time and per the great quality I have come to anticipate. I had a wonderful time, and look forward to trying to reach the summit again next year. Stellar, as always. Everyone I dealt with – via email, in the office, van drivers to/from Mount Rainier – was great: friendly and helpful, always. I referred to the website and various emails I received often, and always found the material helpful and reassuring along the way. The equipment list is fantastic. All of them were great instructors at various parts and phases of the trip. It started with "Salz" during gear check, who not only instructed us on the "do's and don't's" of what to bring, but more importantly, why he was making various recommendations. Because I've been on a few climbs before, it's important and interesting to me to keep learning new things every time. I appreciated his recommendations and followed them, and was glad I did. High Camp is one of my favorite places on this planet. Getting to spend time there is almost worth the trip, in and of itself. The availability and use of High Camp is, to me, not just a benefit of going with AAI because it shortens the summit push, but it is a beautiful setting to rest and relax, and take in some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere in the world.
I've gone on two 3-day Rainier climbs via the Muir route, and have yet to summit. But in both cases, I had an amazing, life-affirming kind of experience, met some exceptional people (both clients and guides), and fell in love with Mount Rainier a little bit more each time.
- The professionalism and customer-service focus of every single person from AAI that I have interacted with – specifically, all the guides I've ever had the pleasure of climbing with
- Last year, I climbed with Pete Athans; this year, with Pasang Lhamu Sherpa – they are the rock stars of the climbing world. Getting to have the experience of climbing with people like that adds to the pleasure and value of the expedition. And this statement is in no way meant to diminish the value of all the other great guides. Again, they've all been amazing.
- Quality of organization and logistics
- Camp setup – both Muir and High Camp
- "Living up to your promises" – the experience is as it is described, and the execution of the plan is reliable and trustworthy
- Quality of the meals served, and the experience of sharing those meals with our fellow climbers and guides
- Should be at the top of the list: *safety* -- I can trust the staff at the office, and most importantly, the guides on the mountain, to watch out for my safety to the greatest extent possible. I willingly participate in a risky activity like mountain climbing, but I want to do it with people who are demonstrated experts, who do not take unnecessary risks, do not cut corners, and will do everything in their power to stop me from doing something I should not do out there on the mountain
- As someone who, two years in a row, wasn't able to summit, I have on both occasions appreciated greatly the flexibility of ending up on a rope with a guide who could help me continue (if I could/wanted to), or descend safely, at my own pace (within reason, of course); while there is an understood need to maintain the group pace, it was reassuring to know that I wasn't preventing other clients from summiting, or holding the group back. While it may not always be possible to accommodate the individual needs of every client, the fact that it was offered to me demonstrated that AAI has a strong organization and can deal with the unpredictability of what can transpire on a climb.
Things to improve on, or things that could have gone better?
- Last year, I felt that the 3-day climb was a little too much like an assembly-line process; this year, I understood exactly how it worked, and actually took pleasure in the predictability and comfort of the organization. So – please don't change anything…
- Nothing to improve on the AAI side! Really – I can't think of anything that AAI can do that would make it better. I look forward to joining you again next year – I'm not done with Mount Rainier and this route yet… Third time will be the charm, right?
- 2015 Climber
From elsewhere on the internet:
Stephanie C. - 5/5
Very professional and thorough guide company.
I, along with three other friends, signed up for the 3-day Muir climb earlier this month. The company was really good about sending out communication to their climbers (gear lists, gear recommendations, fitness training programs, etc) in the months leading up to the trip. Once we arrived for gear check the day before our climb, it was obvious we were in very capable and knowledgeable hands. Setting off to summit Mt. Rainier is nothing to take lightly, but I felt totally comfortable with all of our guides and their expertise. Technically speaking, it is really just a walk in the park (national park that is), but I thought it could be physically demanding and pretty challenging at times. That's where the guides come in. They were there all the way talking us through things and giving us the skills to finish our climb. You may not like what they have to say (they have a schedule in place and know when to push and motivate people), but their ultimate goal is to keep every safe.
The food served on the trip was pretty good (even by non-mountain standards), and the gear we rented from them was excellent. I did like that their office was located in Seattle, and returns to Seattle. It allows their out-of-town climbers to make more of a vacation out of their trips. They also provide the transportation from Seattle to the park, so that you don't have to rent a car. All in all, a really successful trip, and I would highly recommend this company to anyone.
Jared S. - 5/5
I grew up climbing in the Cascades. My wife became interested in climbing mountains with me and I hired Alpine Ascents to safely take us to the top of Mt. Rainier. When top notch logistics and safety are paramount, say no more, they are the best in industry. I've climbed guided with other outfits multiple times and no one compares with Alpine Ascents. They have the most experienced guides in the business. We are planning climb our first 8000m peak in the Himalaya and it will be with Alpine for sure.
Mitch J. - 5/5
Top notch trekking company. if you're thinking of climbing Rainier or any other mountain for that matter go with these guys. We didn't make the summit of Rainier due to a brutal June storm but they did everything they could to get us there while keeping us safe!
They were fantastic at passing on their knowledge, giving us tips on what to do in certain situations, the principles of 'leave no trace', patient beyond patient with questions (that undoubtedly they have heard umpteen times before). On the mountain, they were excellent at telling us how to navigate certain obstacles, where to put our feet in gnarly situations, always giving us encouragement when needed, quick to let us know when we were doing excellent footwork, and when to adjust without sounding condescending. I have done a fair amount of mountain climbing, but I always learn something new and appreciate the experience and knowledge of the AAI guides I have encountered. This trip was no different. I trust my life to them, and they deliver on content and quality every single time. They were patient beyond patient, always smiling, always willing to help out, knew when to help someone and when to stand back and see if the issue would resolve on its own (thus, teaching someone that teachable moment). It was like we were all friends by the end of 3 days and it was sad leaving them!
AAI's strength as a program is the quality and experience of their guides. The Mountain Guides are passionate about their work and it shows. They love what they do, love to help others learn how to climb, and excitedly share their love of the mountains. Even though I know I am one of many clients they see in a season, I always feel like I'm their most important client they've ever encountered.
Their knowledge of climbing and the mountains is freely given like it's the first time they've discussed it—even though you know it must be the 10th, 20th, or however many times they have said it already. Their encouragement, passion, and smiles are everlasting memories. I love climbing with AAI; the passion, professionalism, knowledge and experience of the Mountain Guides just can't be beat.-2014 Climber
It was absolutely awesome expedition. It is only because of a climber who climbed with you before who encouraged me to give
it a try with another company is why I went with you guys. The guides worked amazingly well as a team. Not only professional with safety first but also fun and obviously got along and respected each other. No big egos either. supported each other and all participated. They also built confidence in us as climbers. You could however always tell by the tone of their voice when things were serious and
no more fooling around, which I respected. I attempted two years ago with another company. This was a COMPLETELY different experience for the better. I will give some people specific examples.
Brent gave us an approach suggestion that really worked for me. He said that this was an opportunity to put everything else in our lives on hold and just focus our thoughts on one foot at a time in front of each other. He warned us that you will feel like you can't do it and then if you keep going you will feel great again with the right breathing and rest steps. He talked about how this experience can change one's perspective in life. You have no idea how this was so true for me. Whenever my mind would wander to my everyday life I would lose focus but if I just focused on my steps and breathing I did much better and made it!!!!
Kirah knew my story of being left disappointed at Disappointment Vleaver. I could tell she would not compromise safety but was really doing everything in her power to help me be successful. I will never forget when roped to her she stopped and turned to me with a huge grin on her face and said "Do you know what that is? The ridge of the crater, you made it." Somehow I felt it was as important to her as it was for me to make it and it seemed that she was joyful to watch me do it. When I would try to give her the credit for my being successful, she would not allow it and always gave me the credit. - 2014 Climber
From the guides to the group, from the instruction imparted and foundation of trust instilled from day 1, there is nothing I would change nor nothing I could imagine wanting more than the expedition we were so fortunate to experience. This was my first true mountaineering experience and has truly ignited the passion to pursue countless more peaks with AAI. They were all incredible and brought such a vast amount of experience, knowledge, and wisdom. They had my full trust and I would be honored to be led by them again. The entire expedition was not only taking steps to hopefully eventually summit, but taking steps to develop our knowledge and respect for the process and increase our capabilities as members of the team and as developing mountaineers. Every person I spoke with, interacted with, or aspect I interfaced with at AAI was top notch and left me feeling confident in my decision that AAI was the best decision I made in pursuing my climb of Mt Rainier. I don't know how you improve upon a perfect experience. I think we had a program that was ideal in every way. So grateful and so excited for my next trip with AAI. - 2014 Climber
From start to finish, this was a quality climbing trip. We knew what to expect as a group, what was expected of us, the itinerary for the day, how to have fun, and how to climb well. - 2014 Climber
Enjoyed Immensely! Everything was better than expected: gear check/rental, weather, guides, group experience. All staff over the phone and in the office was superb. They were willing to accommodate changing gear needs with the weather, which was very helpful. - 2014 Climber
This expedition was incredible. The pace was excellent, the Guides were superb and clearly had the safety of the climb and climbers first and foremost. They consistently demonstrated the experience, subject matter expertise and interpersonal skills necessary to get us to the top. Could not have asked for a more professional group of guides who made the expedition enjoyable, rewarding and physically demanding. Excellent instructors. Each Guide took their time to explain what we were doing in advance to ensure we were prepared. They patiently helped with our equipment as some of us (me, for sure) were fumbling around like rookies trying to figure out gaitors and crampons and who knows what else! Lakpa very low key and unassuming master of the mountain. He is a Wonderful Guide. Without question he helped get down the mountain after Muir and knew exactly when to lend a hand. Thanks. - 2014 Climber
The experience was amazing. I had been planning to do this climb for a while and it surpassed my expectations. I think the very fact I was climbing with Pete Athans was beyond my expectations. The caliber of the people in your organization is fantastic. The guides really made the trip. I felt they really watched out for our best interest. From checking on how much I was eating to ensuring I was in the right clothing for temperature, they were always responsive and accessible and ready with advice. The staff was always accessible and informative. I do think if you take the time to read the materials and follow the advice, directions, training it can make a difference in how much you will enjoy the trip. I felt well prepared. - 2014 Climber
This was a great climb. The guides were very helpful, particularly Travis. Having been unsuccessful on my last Rainier climb, I really wanted to make it this time and I did. My guides were very good at explaining what was coming up and how to prepare. - 2014 Climber
The guides were top-notch and the organization runs like a Swiss watch. Regarding the luck factors, the weather was perfect and the team (clients) were well prepared and all had great attitudes. Not a complainer in the group! Everything was top-notch. The preparation material was very thorough (gear list, itinerary, training program, food list). Communications were timely, accurate and very detailed. The website was very helpful - I had friends and family aware of our summit success from the blog before I even reached out to them. The gear check process was very detailed. You guys really nailed it! Thanks a Million for an awesome climb! - 2014 Climber
I LOVED the expedition - all aspects of it. The weather on our first day (approach to Camp Muir) was wet and a bit cold, but with good layers, all was well. The weather on Days 2 and 3 was spectacular. The logistics were flawlessly organized, and the 1:2 guide:client ratio made for a very well supported and safe expedition. All four guides were excellent. I turned back at DC, and had the undivided attention of Peter Ramos all the way back to High Camp - fantastic guide, with whom I felt very safe and could enjoy the experience, even coming down the mountain early. Having Pete Athans as our lead guide was an incredible experience for me, as I have been a fan of his for years. With the group, they were all very cheerful, provided good encouragement, took very good care of all of us (including a couple of our team members who weren't feeling so well), but always kept a very watchful eye on each of us. I enjoyed chatting one-on-one with them, as it allowed me to get to know them individually. As a team, they were friendly, consistent in their teachings and behaviours, and very professional. Top notch all the way. I have dealt with AAI before (2004 and 2005), and the overall experience extends well beyond the mountain itself. The materials were great, very helpful. I enjoyed hearing from you / AAI regularly. All staff I interacted with were friendly, professional, and seemed focused on my staying safe(gear check, drives back and forth), and my enjoyment of the experience. I can't wait to book my trip for next year. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the camaraderie, the actual climbing, the incredible beauty of Mount Rainier, and the wonderful experience with Alpine Ascents. Thank you all for doing such a great job, and see you again soon! - 2014 Climber
This is my third trip with Alpine Ascents and I have yet to be let down by the quality! You guys really put on a great production. Your admin team always does a great job. I did like the monthly training guide this year, it was nice to have reminders of the climb. I am not sure what you could do to improve the experience…besides putting up an escalator at the summit! Just kidding! You guys are great! - 2014 Climber
Yes, it was an amazing experience. We were educated on Type II fun but our guides and team made sure to stay positive and focused on reaching the summit and getting back safely. Yes. They were all very patient and informative. They shared the various roles of demonstrating technique and advising us along the climb. They worked well as a team. Very good and insightful. They shared personal and technical experience which was enlightening and fun. Yes, I really enjoyed getting to know them. They were easy going but focused on the task and our safety. The equipment (was) all good and the food was superb. It was great having a hot meal after climbing, the soup at hi camp was exceptional for a quick soup. The guides were very accommodating and willing to go the extra step to keep us energized and comfortable. - 2014 Climber
I found this trip amazing. Such great guides who don't treat this trip like a job but as something they enjoy. A solid 10. The way they taught how to use mountaineering equipment was very effective and personalized. Not going to be forgotten. Camps were prime - as in they were very helpful in the fact that they were warm and comfortable and the fact that I didn't have to carry them up. Cody S. - 2014 Climber
From the guides to the group, from the instruction imparted and foundation of trust instilled from day 1, there is nothing I would change nor nothing I could imagine wanting more than the expedition we were so fortunate to experience. This was my first true mountaineering experience and has truly ignited the passion to pursue countless more peaks with AAI. They were all incredible and brought such a vast amount of experience, knowledge, and wisdom. They had my full trust and I would be honored to be led by them again. The entire expedition was not only taking steps to hopefully eventually summit, but taking steps to develop our knowledge and respect for the process and increase our capabilities as members of the team and as developing mountaineers. All amazing. Every person I spoke with, interacted with, or aspect I interfaced with at AAI was top notch and left me feeling confident in my decision that AAI was the best decision I made in pursuing my climb of Mt Rainier. Group equipment, tent, and the food were all exceptional. My wife even was envious of the meals we were made by our incredible guides. I don't know how you improve upon a perfect experience. I think we had a program that was ideal in every way. So grateful and so excited for my next trip with AAI. Andrew H - 2014 Climber
This was a great program. I learned a lot and had a great overall experience, with friendly and knowledgeable guides. Eitan's route knowledge, emphasis on safety, and decision to get everyone up earlier than I thought the original plan was, made the summit success even more special. I primarily worked with Eitan and Sam, and they were great instructors. They were patient and always willing to answer questions. Sam's gear check was also very informative and helpful. Strengths – moved a good pace and never felt rushed. The size was good, although two climbers turned around the first day, so I'm not sure how it would have been if everyone had made the summit attempt. I liked the itinerary better than other guide services I was researching, and realized even more so that I chose the right guide service once we were up on the mountain. The Leave No Trace emphasis was great. It's hard work, and everything was in much cleaner shape than I had expected. It felt much more like a wilderness experience once we headed up past Camp Muir. I thought all of the office staff, communications, brochures, and course materials were very helpful and informative. Gordon and Brent were very informative and quick to respond when I had questions. - 2013 Climber
From meeting Garrett the day before at AAI's office for the gear check through leaving the office post climb we could not have asked for more from Alpine Ascents. Our climb on Rainier was run perfectly and all four guides are a credit to your company. Everything from the pre-climb information through gear check and then through the actual climb itself was run to a high degree of professionalism. This was our first trip with Alpine Ascents but will certainly not be our last as I can't imagine a better organized and run program. All in all we had a fantastic trip and although we were lucky with great weather and perfect summit conditions the thing that stands out is the professionalism of your guides and their infectious love of the mountains. As a final note the food was also excellent and a real bonus to the program that we weren't expecting. All four of the guides on our Rainier trip were extremely professional. My wife and I were led by Garrett who is clearly a highly accomplished mountaineer and we both felt privileged to be on the end of his rope. I can't imagine a more qualified guide and I would happily follow Garrett wherever he felt I could realistically make it. He is a consummate mountaineer who is a huge asset to AAI. We ended up climbing Rainier on the afternoon of day 2 due to the great weather conditions we had, and in my opinion this was a great decision as it meant we had the summit to ourselves and avoided the jams at some of the more difficult sections on the glacier.
Garrett was both leader of our trip and our guide on the upper mountain and in my opinion a fantastic all round leader who inspires confidence in the beginning climber. Like all good leaders Garrett leads by example and I learnt a lot in a very short time just be watching him on the upper slopes and he was excellent at answering any questions we had. Although Garrett was our direct leader all guides showed great leadership qualities when they taught various components over the three days and were extremely approachable with any question and provided great answers. I had long chats with Matt on the way down Rainier about future ambitions and he inspired me to push toward climbing goals I secretly harbor - needless to say I'm hoping to do them with AAI. Garrett was great at transferring knowledge and provided clear instructions and guidance on the topics covered in our program. Additional knowledge transfer of the route on Rainier and potential challenges and issues was a great bonus on the climb and Garrett's huge experience generally in high mountains and specifically on Rainier provided a solid and enjoyable learning experience for us. Other specific components of alpine mountaineering were given to us by Matt and Kirah who were both also excellent at clearly getting their information across. Overall, the guides provided the information clearly to complete the climb successfully and also a lot of other really useful information from their years of experience to make days out in the mountains safer and more enjoyable. Yes, very much so. Garrett was great to chat with about a whole host of things on the route and all the guides made evenings at Muir and the high camp pleasurable. All four guides were very helpful, approachable and couldn't have done anymore to make the climb pleasurable. Strengths: Good information from AAI from booking the trip on what was required in terms of fitness and equipment through world class guides on the mountain who were a pleasure to climb with and fantastic food on the mountain. All in all the program made a great experience with respect to climbing Mt. Rainier thoroughly enjoyable and educational. When my mountaineering friends ask me about Rainier I will strongly recommend AAI as I can't imagine a better experience.
Weaknesses: None. Without naming other organizations AAI provided by far the best climbing program I have participated in. Needless to say such a well organized program leads me to think of AAI when I start planning future adventures. The office staff were really helpful in a number of questions we had regarding equipment and the materials provided were great. All administration and office staff I interacted with were very helpful and quick to respond to any questions. The brochures are great although a huge distraction as I find myself looking constantly through them and thinking about future trips. All the correspondence and materials were very helpful and helped in preparing for the climb. - 2013 Climber
YES YES YES. Absolutely an amazing experience. Alpine Accents went above and beyond my expectations for this adventure. Yes all of them were amazing with the leadership ability and how they interacted with the team of people they had. During all of our training sessions, I felt that they really did a great job explaining to us how/what to do in different situations, and also taught/explained it in a way that made sense to everyone. They took the time to watch each and every one of us to make sure we were doing the exercise correctly. If there was a rating between 1-10 it would be 100! Each one of them brought something different with them on this climb. I sent in a letter explaining how great this trip was, I believe I mentioned this in it. AMAZING. Was not expecting the food tent to be to luxurious as it was. The camp at Muir was great! Nice and cozy and warm. The tents at Ingraham flats were really nice as well! Gear store was great, again the people were helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. I went back in after the trip and one of the guides (Pete) was showing me what pack we used on the trip and some other things, which was nice. Nothing could be improved in my mind. Everything went amazing well. I was a little surprised to find out we were not going to summit on Sunday and we did a sunset climb, but after we did it, I'm happy we did. - 2013 Climber
I absolutely enjoyed every facet of the expedition (by the time we were in the van). It was challenging and extremely rewarding. Portions of the climb were mildly terrifying while others were amazing and the environments ethereal (take that Kirah!). Guides made the trip what it was - outstanding. They were able to balance between being friendly and cordial to the appropriate amount of sternness to keep myself and my team mates safe throughout the trip. Their leadership never strayed below exemplary. Our guides made the expedition a top notch learning experience that gave a very basic foundation of mountaineering. Stew's direct and "to the point" teaching style fostered a feeling of capability and confidence within the team. At no point was I overwhelmed, nor did I ever feel unprepared for the tasks ahead of me. Carrie's medical training was a comforting factor. Despite having three medical trained members of the expedition (surgeon, trauma nurse, and medic), having her with the team was comforting as her knowledge of the environmental medicine exceeded our most highly trained member. Guides were quite personable and easy to get along with. My expedition team has known each other for many years and all four guides were able to swiftly establish rapports with each member. By day 2, the guides were participating in the jocularity and inter team humor while still maintaining absolute control of expedition. Correspondence was outstanding. All emails were returned with personally written guidance, advice and answers. AAI gear team members were service oriented and did not allow the gear turn in to become a detractor from the overall trip experience. We got off the vans and were out the doors in less than a half hour. At that point we were exhausted and to have such a simple turn in protocol was a relief. All of AAI's guides were superb. Most of my exposure was to Kirah and Stuart, who typified the skills, leadership and personalities of what I imagined a mountain guide should be. Based upon conversations I had with Kirah on our decent and the experience given to me by all of the AAI Guide staff, I am already looking into the 8 Day Mountaineering School (hopefully in 14) and a putting a trip Kilimanjaro on our tentative schedule for Spring of 16 (through AAI of course). My experience was so rewarding that I intend to continue to participate in the sport and adventure of mountaineering. - 2013 Climber
It was excellent. Very well organized, guides were great, food was great, weather cooperated, and I stood on the summit of Rainier with my dad. Don't see how I could complain about anything here. Guides were excellent. Again, really impressed with the guides. Helped everyone develop the skills required and taught us all a lot about climbing and mountaineering in general, with additional focus on useful health, diet and other best practice knowledge. All correspondence was very prompt, payment was smooth, gear check was easy, again no complaints here. Honestly I thought it was one of the best trips of my life and I don't have any useful suggestions on how to improve it. Unless summit burritos are an option :) - 2013 Climber
Yes, an outstanding expedition. We really enjoyed it. I would rate it very highly and recommend it to anyone. The trip was organized from pre-planning to gear check to summit day. We knew exactly what we had to do ahead of time for fitness and gear. The guides ensured that we had a safe and enjoyable trip, and gave us the instruction and confidence that was necessary to summit. Their primary focus was our safety, and that was clear the entire time. They were good teachers at snow school, and during other parts of the trip. For example, footwork was critical and they would teach and re-teach. Along with basics for beginners, like how to put on crampons. I would do another trip with any or all of them. Your office staff were all excellent. We called multiple times before the climb – on dates (including several switches), to gear (which boots to wear), to conditions (whether or not the trip was still feasible). A very accessible staff. The rented gear was a pleasant surprise. Much nicer quality than I expected. Flawless process. A box was waiting for us with gear requested, and we were able to switch out gear on gear check day. Not much to improve on, really. I'm a happy customer. Would do other trips. Trying to think about which one to do next. - 2013 Climber
"Top notch program with over the top service. This is probably one of the most dangerous things I have done, yet i never felt like I was in any danger. This can all be contributed to the four guides and their leadership. Exceeded my expectations: All four guides had the skill and knowledge to keep all clients worry free, safe, and working hard. This was a great experience that neither my brother or I will every forget." Philip M, 2011 Climber.
"Climbing Mt. Rainier with Alpine Ascents is officially one of the best experiences of my life, one I will tell to anyone who will listen. Spending two nights on the mountain, at Muir and high camp, really works in breaking up the climb into easy sections, allows for a rest and time to take in the amazing views. The ratio of guides to climbers makes for a more personal summit day climb, which is something I really appreciate. Overall the program is one I would recommend to anyone who has plans or dreams to climb Mt. Rainier. Wow....I learned so much from this climb, being my first technical climb, I did have a lot to learn, and the guide team was there to teach. Each guide spoke and taught, while taking turns, as from the same book on the trail, at breaks, around the dinner/breakfast table or "snow school". I feel privileged to have climbed with such great teachers and, being a sponge for the knowledge, I learned a lot. I have lived below the shadows of Mt. Rainier my whole life and until last year I had not even stepped foot on the mountain. Now I can say to everyone "I have climbed that mountain. See the slope between Little Tahoma and Rainier, right up that slope". Yes my goal was met. Now I just have to get a new goal so I keep up on my training and continue to feel 20 years younger." Greg S.
"This was the most interesting adventure I was ever engaged in. With some luck in terms of weather, I believe this 3-Day Muir Climb was perfectly executed by AAI. All guides on this climb had great mountaineering skills. Stuart, as our main guide showed true leadership! The entire team under his leadership performed outstanding. I am really thankful for Stuart, that he and the other three guides made the decision to summit Rainier at sunset, instead of sunrise like we planned at the beginning. Since hearing the next morning after our sleep after the climb that many other groups did not reach the summit because of the conditions up at the top, I was so glad of our guides decision!" Andrew S. July 2011 Climber
"This was by far an experience of a lifetime. Our guides and the Alpine Ascents staff are top notch individuals – instilling confidence and a strong sense of safety throughout the program. From the excellent pre-trip communication to the flexibility and candidness on the climb I was greatly impressed with the professionalism of all involved. I chose Alpine Ascents because of what I had heard about other guide services and was not looking for a drill sargent / military style rigid structured climb – and our summit success is a testament to how important such flexibility is – had we stuck to the pre-defined schedule we’d not have summited due to the weather and conditions. I felt a big piece to my enjoyment was a sense of ‘team’ – not only with the climbers but with the guides as well. Throughout the program we were joking around, sharing stories and bonding. Even after the climb was over the guides were quick to tell me that if I ever had questions about future climbs, or anything of that sort to feel free to reach out to them – I honestly feel like I made a group of new friends over the course of our program and very much appreciate that! Thank you Alpine Ascents – top notch professionals who clearly make the enjoyment, safety and success of clients a top priority!
Strengths: Flexibility, professionalism and organization. I especially appreciated being provided the opportunity to make our summit bid the day prior to plan. This option was the difference between a successful climb and one that would have ended like others who attempted on Monday – in having to turn around at 13,000’. The communication prior to the climb was great – I always felt like I could ask questions and get prompt answers.
Weakenesses: None stand out. The guide staff was engaging and instilled a confidence in those of us climbing that not only would they ensure our safety but that they’d do what it took to put the odds in our favor for a successful trip." - Matt P. July, 2011 Climber
"I was very impressed with the high level of skill, professionalism and knowledge of all of the guides. I felt very safe with the guides and was very entertained by their mountain and personal stories. The guides had great people skills and seemed to have an almost immediate understanding of the needs and likes of each individual in our group. This was my third climb of Mt. Rainier, with the first two being with RMI 17+ years ago. RMI was a good experience but my experience with the 3 guides with Alpine Ascents far surpassed my expectations and just made it such a more personal and joyful experience. Good leadership really shines when they are able to pull a team together, with similar goals, yet very different personalities. The guides were fantastic at this. They made everyone feel very comfortable and at ease. The climbing and group experience was incredible. I was able to take some extrordinary photos that I just love. I felt strong enough to handle the adversities . Bottom line, my personal goals were far exceeded, and I really thank my guides. Also, the training recommendations that were given were incredibly helpful, it worked." Eve G. July 2011 Climber
"This expedition was everything I had hoped for and more. I never felt unsafe or unprepared in any phase of our climb. As a novice climber, I leaned heavily on the knowledge and professionalism of the guides. What an incredible experience! What a thrill to climb with such experienced guides - their resumes speak for themselves! I had complete faith that our guides would know what to do regardless of any situation that arose. I liked the way all four guides worked together - sharing the technical and teaching workloads. I never sensed that one guide "felt he was better than the others." And that commands your respect. There were situations where the guides had to improvise based on conditions and made the right decisions every time. I would think the hardest part of the guides' job would have to be teaching the same basic skills to (mostly) novice climbers week after week after week. But they took time to make sure everyone was proficient in those skills. Right down to the smallest detail. I felt prepared the moment I stepped on the mountain. We had fun. And with four guides and eight clients in bad weather and tight living conditions that's not always possible. All four of our guides were easy to talk to. Answered questions. Laughed and joked. Shared and interacted. In other words, they were one of us. That goes SUCH a long way in easing the nerves of a first-time climber like myself. I wanted to learn to climb in hopes of doing more and I now have the basic skills required to do that. Although I came up just short of the summit, I came to Alpine Ascents and Mount Rainier for a trip of a lifetime and I got just that. I loved the attention to detail that the program had. I knew what to expect and when to expect it. And again, as a novice climber - the last thing your nerves want is surprises! As a Floridian, I was well prepared for the weather which was a big concern to me too. I can't think of any weaknesses in the Alpine Ascents program." July 2011 Climber.
"I was very impressed with the program. From the beginning I found it very professional and I found people very responsive. Whether responding to initial inquiries, working out schedules, helping with equipment rentals all the way through the climb I thought everyone was great. Our group of guides were very easy to get along with. They really put us at ease. I truly enjoyed the experience thanks to our great guides. The four of them really made the trip for us." James O. 2011 Climber.
"Really enjoyed the experience. The food was great. Very happy to have succeeded. The mountaineering skill level of the guides was excellent. The office staff were very helpful. All the correspondence, forms, and documents were sent out well in advance. Also got help with rental items as well as some pointers. Any questions sent by email were promptly answered. The training guide is a great way to get a perspective on what will be required physically. The equipment list is good. Keep up the good work! " Bert B. 2011 Climber
"Outstanding program -- very thorough from gear check until drop off at the end." Gordon R. 2011 Climber
"What can I say but Excellent! Would not hesitate to recommend. 10 out of 10. These are the guides you'd want with you if you're in dire straits. I don't want to single out any one guide because each guide was the essence of what a guide should be. That was the BEST skill that separates Alpine Ascents from other guide services. Any one guide could be the leader and and some times due to their professional skills it seemed as they all were the leader, each stepping up to any task at hand and dealing with it. Each guide was not only an excellent climber, but came across as a true friend, genuinely interested in not only our safety, but our enjoyment of the entire experience. The guides ARE the program." - Dave F. June 2010 Rainier Muir Climber.
"Very Impressed. This climb was much more challenging and fulfilling than expected. The schedule was flawlessly executed between the gear check and the return to Seattle. I was impressed by how organized and punctual this company was in preparation for this climb. There was a symmetry of information between the climbers, guides, and headquarters that made this trip flow much smoother. The food, the transportation, and the gear provided were all perfect.
All four of the guides were very knowledgeable and their confidence on Mt Rainier was contagious. At any of my "what am I doing here?" moments, I was quickly reminded by the motivating actions and experience of these guides to stay focused and follow their lead. There was no point in which I would have questioned their professional opinion or decision during ascent or descent. It was as though they knew this mountain almost too well, and that was comforting in itself. It was plain to see that each guide knew exactly what they were doing at any given moment on that mountain, and when appropriate, relayed their knowledge to the rest of the group. From learning each guide personally, it was understood that mountaineering was their passion and absolute safety was their priority. The diverse climbing backgrounds of each guide afforded us all the opportunity to learn even more as much of their vast prior experience became applicable to Mt Rainier.
Having spent time in the military, I can really appreciate the level of professionalism and leadership embodied by all four of these guides. As stated above, the contagiousness of their confidence created a much more functional team out of the climbers. All of the guides took safety seriously and each potentially dangerous action was immediately corrected. Each guide was quick to take on their individual responsibilities and provide logistical, informational, and safety related support to the group. They give great attention to detail and remain vigilant the entire climb, ensuring maximum safety for every climber and guide. I am confident that any one of these guides could successfully lead any group of climbers up any mountain. As well, I would hope to have any or all of them as a guide on a future climb with Alpine Ascents.
As this was a great learning experience, the guides were definitely great teachers. They each provided easy to understand explanations all the necessary mountaineering rudiments as well as stressing important safety concerns. Whether it was efficient climbing techniques or ways to keep your hands warm, each guide provided essential techniques that I took advantage of and will continue to use on future climbs. Explanations were articulated well and the guides were adamant about everyone fully understanding a concept before moving on.
I found that the second day of rest and training was very helpful to prepare for the summit climb the following morning. The guide to climber ratio was perfect for any assistance I needed or questions I had during the climb, there was a guide available nearby to help. The food was great and very filling. I Truly enjoyed the post-climb group dinner on level ground, it really provided an entertaining closure to the trip. The shuttle to and from Seattle is incredibly convenient for out of town/state/country climbers." Matthew M. 2010 Rainier Climber
"I'd need a thesaurus for all the superlatives. This is my 6th guided climb and it was by far the best. We never felt rushed or frantic. We had enough time and information every step of the way. Every question was answered. Every detail was provided. I give this experience my absolute highest rating. I had been stopped by weather @13,000 feet on a previous climb. As I am in my mid-fifties, I don't know how many more years of climbing I will have. So, my goal of reaching the top was met with the kindness of the weather spirits and the strength of our guide team.
I think you guys have it pretty much wired. I give your company a 10, and you can quote me on that. I want to thank all of you for a wonderful experience that I will treasure for my entire life." Keith S.
"Awesome! Great guides. Felt safe and well informed at all times." Jim H.
"Overall, excellent guide team -- JJ is awesome, Lakpa... what can I say, the dude has made it to the top of Everest 13 times, Brent and John we both really good, patient, knowledgeable ...good teachers." Bryan N.
"The program far exceeded all expectations I originally had. The gear check was efficient and informative, and the organization of the whole program was impeccable. Our guides were all extremely knowledgeable and friendly. They taught us a tremendous amount in a short amount of time, while at the same time were very conscious of some of the 'slower' members of the group. The guides went out of their way to befriend each climber. They all seemed to be genuinely interested in not only our safety, but our personal interests as well." Jonathan F.
“I could not be happier with your program! I would highly recommend you to anyone interested in climbing Rainier. It was such a great experience.” Jennifer S.
“This is my 6th guided climb and it was by far the best…I give this experience my absolute highest rating.” Keith S.
"Fabulous trip. Very well organized. Tough climbs. When climbing both peaks, there is a tremendous amount of transport and logistics involved. The full rest day in Puebla was crucial.
All were great leaders.
I climbed Rainier with XXX in ’86 and ’96. I climbed Rainier this summer with you; your itinerary (Ingraham Flats) was far superior.
"I am thoroughly impressed with your program and would recommend it to anyone. From the web site, to the print materials, the reservation process, the rentals, the gear check, transport, guides and itinerary I thought it was wonderful. Your program is the most organized and thorough of any that I have participated in. Being able to call and talk with staff during the preparation phase was especially reassuring. " Steven L.
"I just arrived back from an extended vacation and wanted to send you a quick note in regards to my trip with Alpine Ascents to Mount Rainier during the week of July 22. I cannot describe how good of a time we had on the mountain, not only was the weather terrific, the guides were fantastic, exceptional in their knowledge of Mount Rainier as well as climbing in general. They were all outspoken, easy to get along with and went out of their way to make the trip enjoyable for all the climbers. I certainly came away with great memories, renewed confidence and an urge to get another climb on my calendar as soon as possible. I would like to thank you again for providing a first-class operation and I look forward to climbing with Alpine Ascents again in the future."-Karl M.
"Alpine Ascents as an organization always does a great job. You are thorough, have a great gear list, provide good food for the trip, good organization in general. All three of the guides did not hesitate to teach during the entire trip. It was welcomed information and I never hesitated to listen to them. Their styles of teaching were very good, and imparted their knowledge in non-threatening ways." Karen K.
"Alpine Ascents always does a great job on the mountain. The guides are a pleasure to work with and are very experienced Rainier climbers. Alpine Ascents International is one of the best organizations on the mountain." - Mount Rainier National Park
"A great experience. All 3 of our guides demonstrated excellent skills and were a pleasure to climb with. I would most definitely join another expedition." -Amy S.
"Excellent, I could not imagine anything better. Guides took charge but were not overbearing. It was nice to see others go to our guides for advice." -Mark S.
"This was a great climb. The guides were great and made everyone feel as part of a team. They were patient and did everything possible to ensure our success on this climb. The guides displayed great leadership skills. They pushed us when necessary and were patient at other times. I have climbed Rainier with another guide service before. What sets Alpine Ascents apart is that with a smaller, more experienced group we are made to feel as part of a team. Also there is a much greater flexibility on the climb regarding different paces."-Todd S.
"It was fantastic - professional, educational, yet fun & relaxed. I had an amazing experience."-Brett K.
4 Day Climbs
It was absolutely incredible. The route had changed from crossing the Nisqually to starting lower from Comet Falls trailhead. It was very beautiful and quite a change from the normal route. My guides were very much in charge and you always knew they would direct the group in whichever way they saw fit to keep increasing the chances for a successful climb. Obviously Lakpa is held in the utmost respect and everyone is more than happy to follow in his leadership. They would always give some advice/tips to make things easier or safer. Not just climbing skills but also things like how to actually properly lace your boots for descending down the mountain or properly securing the fly on the tent. None of the guides were standoffish or hard to talk to. They all would discuss anything and not only talk but listen (which many people lack that ability). Group equipment was all great to include the tents, poles stakes etc. Of course the food was awesome. Alpine Ascents always has the best creative foods. They really do a nice job of making inviting meals even when you are not that hungry. Thanks so much!!!!!! Will always recommend Alpine Ascents. - 2015 Kautz Climber
Of all of the guiding services I have used to date, Alpine Ascents consistently delivers the highest quality expeditions. The technical knowledge and mountain experience of your guides is evident on any climb. So, even on a route rife with objective hazards, I ended up feeling safer than I otherwise should – that is quite the measure of confidence! The views were incredible! One of the obvious things about Alpine Ascents guides is that their technical prowess is solid. It was a treat having 4 lead guides on this trip, all of whom were seasoned by Denali summits and even harder objectives. The ease with which they set up anchors, lowered clients, and conducted routefinding through crevassed terrain, made our progress timely and safer. When it came to technical decisions, they never had a moment of hesitation and were able to perform quickly. Additionally, any technical questions that I had were easily answered and techniques were thoroughly explained. - 2015 Kautz Climber
I am a first time climber and through that your organization handled the entire process from booking, screening, preparation / training suggestions, gear rental, gear check to the actual on mountain experience was very well thought out and executed. One of the most important "take aways" for me was that our guides (Brent, Danny, Nick and Tom) are half my age and four times as wise. I was uber impressed by the skill of each of the guides and the emotional intelligence that they displayed when communicating to the group that a summit attempt was not possible. I had multiple interactions with your ownership and staff – all were handled very efficiently and professionally.
Well planned and executed. The on mountain meals were much better that I would have anticipated ;-) Your gear department was top notch. They handled the myriad shuffles of gear check / rent with ease and a smile. I truly believe that you have this program dialed and will be seeking additional opportunities with your organization in the future. Thank you for the experience, it was a memorable and provided many axis for personal growth. Ride on! - 2014 Emmons Climber
"I have now participated in 4 AAI climbs in Washington. I think the program is great overall. The guides I have had have been both professional and personable resulting in a sense of confidence and safety regarding the climb as well as fun. I have heard a few anecdotal stories from fellow climbers about other companies and those experiences were lesser than any of my AAI experiences." Tom
"Great program 4 days made the Emmons climb very enjoyable and the the guides were great" - Taylor
"The Kautz climb was an incredibly well organized and executed climb. Having guides with such world climbing experience was a huge benefit. They were excellent leaders as well." Anthony
"The program was professional from start to finish - gear check to to return home. The clients interests' were first and foremost...after begin an Alpine Ascents client on 4 previous occasions' have come to expect high quality of service and my expectations were met on Mt Rainier." Robert
"Absolutely Outstanding - Guides were excellent" Brooke
Alaska Yak Tours
Simply the trip was amazing. Love the rain, love the cold mornings and hot chocolate. Love the hike and the company. Loved the isolation. The logistics were great. I hope to find another trek in your portfolio to do. THANKS!
Outstanding trip, in spite of the weather. Good selection in Joe as the guide. He kept us fed and tuned the hiking to weather and our capabilities. Greatly appreciate Todd's support for the trip. If you do a filtering on the applicants, you did a great job on our trip.
It was awesome. Joe and little Joe were awesome.