The Island Peak expedition was fantastic. The trek with the Base Camp group made the acclimatization portion social and fun.
1) Vern and Carole were great hosts. Their vast knowledge of the area and friendship with many of the locals made for a unique experience not offered by other companies.
2) Staying at Base Camp is something not many other operators can do and was an excellent feature along with the walk through the Khumbu glacier. (One of the reasons I chose this trip with Alpine Ascents)
3) Having Kami Rita Sherpa and Vern flanking the climbing team provided a feeling of safety as we had such experienced climbers with us.
4) Experiences beyond the trek and climbing like HRA in Pheriche, Lama Geshe, visiting the Medical Clinic in Khumjung, Monks prayer ceremony at Tengboche, dinner with Tashi at Tengboche, etc.
Both Vern and Carole brought unique experiences to the trek. They both provided tips in group and one-on-one opportunities. They complement each other very well in their styles. Their knowledge of the local culture and people was interesting and they were willing to share proactively. It is apparent that they have a great passion and love for the Nepali people and culture. They both made it fun to be on the trek and climb. We shared a lot of laughs.
The expedition was phenomenal. We were immediately met at the airport when we landed. The hotel was great. All of the tea houses were very accommodating. Although the trek/climb was somewhat physically challenging I found it extremely rewarding. Vern and Carole were the highlight of the expedition. Extremely knowledgeable and personable. Vern is a climbing legend. They both seem to know the Everest trekking route and the people living in the villages very well. Vern and Carole both possess a great deal of knowledge of the culture and the climbing history. They were happy to explain all of the various cultural interests both in Kathmandu and in the various trekking villages. I learned how to pressure breathe properly on this trip. What a difference that would have made in my previous climbs! I can’t wait to apply what I learned on future climbs. Vern, Carole and the entire Sherpa staff were extremely personable and friendly. We have all remained in touch since the trip and look forward to remaining friends. The office staff made this trip very easy to make. I can see how international travel can be problematic but the information provided by Alpine Ascents made this a very easy trip to take. The materials provided were extremely helpful.
The program’s strengths are the guides, both the western guides and the Sherpa guides. Climbing with guides who know the history of climbing in Nepal is one thing, climbing with guides who are part of the history of climbing in Nepal is something you cannot get with other climbing companies. Climbing with the right people was very important as they are as much a part of my memories of the trip as the actual trekking and climbing were.
Vern, Carole and the sherpa team did an excellent job of organizing and keeping things moving. They clearly have a deep love for that region of the glove. Vern’s knowledge and experience as a climber is unquestionable, and he was able to pass that along. The administrative side is well organized and the staff are very courteous. I look forward to future trips with Alpine.
I had climbed with Vern in Russia over 10 years ago so I knew I would be in good hands. Carole was an added bonus! I was very appreciative of her knowledge about Nepal and Buddhism and her willingness to share her knowledge along the way. I was very grateful that AA made room for me just two weeks before my departure. Also appreciated the opportunity to visit Sherpa’s families, visit Monasteries to receive blessings etc. I ate better than I expected. Cannot think of any weaknesses at this point. I learned a great deal from Vern and Carole and appreciated their knowledge of the area.
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).
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.
Truly an outstanding experience. All guides were extremely knowledgeable and their skill level was at the top.
I found the entire expedition very well organized and maintained. It was very much what the itinerary stated.
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.
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.