Everest South Side Summit Climb with International Mountain Guides
We’ve been organizing Everest expeditions for over 35 years, and each year do our best to put together a strong team with compatible climbers and top notch western and sherpa guides and leaders. Since 2009, Eric has been ably assisted by IMG’s Greg Vernovage. We fill our trips, and thus can be picky; we’ve turned away many climbers whom we feel will not be a good fit with our program. IMG has long been a leader in innovative climbing programs to the Himalayas. We were one of the very first companies to offer guided programs to Everest (1991), the first company to offer a stand-alone climb to the North Col (1994) and to 8000m (2001). We were one of the first companies to guide Shishapangma (1990) and Cho Oyu (1995), first to guide Khumbu Icefall as a stand-alone program (2000), first to offer the option of personal sherpa guides to climbers (2002), first successfully guided climb of Lhotse (2009), first with the Hybrid concept (2010), first to offer an Everest “Express” itinerary (2010), and the first to rappel an alternate route around the Hillary Step (2013). With over 600 summits of 8000-meter peaks to our IMG credit, and 518 of them on Mount Everest, we are still never satisfied and continue to look for ways to improve our IMG Everest program. For 2019 we continue our tradition of innovation and attention to the details. We put in place first class logistics and staffing. We don’t cut corners. Our goal is to conduct the very best program that we can, at a fair price. We don’t think you will be disappointed. —Eric Simonson and Greg Vernovage IMG Himalayan Program Directors
The 2019 IMG climbers and trekkers will travel to Everest Base Camp in three separate teams, each led by IMG guides and sherpas and composed of a nice mix of climbers and trekkers. For 2019, we will be using helicopters from KTM to Lukla to help us stay on schedule with our trek to Everest Base Camp. Inclement weather can cause delays with use of the fixed wing flights, and by utilizing helicopters, we will have a much better chance of getting our Teams into Lukla for the start of our trek to EBC. Lobuche Base Camp Our Lobuche Base Camp strategy has been working great the last 9 years, and we’ll do it again in 2019 for the trekkers and climbers. Three nights of camping at Lobuche BC (with gorgeous day hiking in the area) provides for excellent acclimatization and means our climbers and trekkers will feel good when it’s time for them to move up to the Everest Base Camp! We’ll have our own sherpa cook team preparing meals at Lobuche BC to keep our team members healthy. Everest Base Camps We will have two separate (adjacent) base camps, one for the IMG Climbers, and one for our IMG Sherpa team. Each camp will have separate dining, toilet, shower, and kitchen facilities. In between the camps, we have our common meeting facility — the giant Eureka Military MGPTS tent, complete with 70,000 BTU military hazmat tent heater that runs outside the tent and pumps the heated air inside (so no danger of carbon monoxide). This is the place to be if you want to hang out in a carpeted and warmed environment, watch movies, read, work on the computer, make a phone call, or just socialize! We have good charging capacity with both 12v solar and backup generators. Wireless internet will be available at Base Camp (price TBD). In our Communication tent, we have a VHF radio base station and large antennas that let us talk with the South Col and all the way down to Pheriche. We subscribe our climbers and Sherpas to the service provided by the HRA Base Camp Medical Clinic so you have access to unlimited consultation with the HRA doctors. Food Nothing is more important to health and morale on a long trip than good food. We have very experienced Lobuche BC, Everest BC, and Everest Camp 2 Sherpa cook teams. At Base Camp, they bake fresh bread, rolls, cakes, etc. on a daily basis. We receive regular deliveries of fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat to Base Camp in addition to staples purchased in Kathmandu and “goodies” brought from USA. We also include gluten free and vegan options (please advise if you have food issues). Most climbers will spend about two weeks at high altitude (over 6000m/20,000ft) during the course of the trip, when appetites really wane and life is truly miserable. We encourage climbers to choose their high-altitude food items at Base Camp from our food supply tent and bring the food up with you (the sherpa can assist), so you know exactly what you will be eating up high. For climbers, we also suggest that you bring from home about 10 pounds/5 kg of additional high altitude “lunch” snacks so you will have some food for high altitude that you know you can eat up high, when some people’s appetites become very sensitive.
Note on Dates
Dates are listed starting with the arrival day to Kathmandu to the arrival day back to Kathmandu from Lukla at the end of the trip. The ending dates for the EBC Classic Trek, Sherpa Trek, and Lobuche Climb are FIXED, but you should add one contingency day in Kathmandu at the end, before flying home, in case of Lukla flight delay. The ending dates for the C2, C3, Everest and Lhotse Climbs are FLEXIBLE, depending on weather and conditions. It would be prudent to add at least one week of contingency days to these itineraries. Normally climbers will reconfirm or change their homeward departure flights when you know exactly when the expedition is going to end for you (contact your travel agent from Everest BC). We plan to stay at Base Camp for climbing until approximately the end of May.
Hybrid Everest Climb
Many of our customers have told us they want a higher level of support for climbing Mt. Everest. Now we have what you are looking for, with our revamped Hybrid Program which combines the oversight of our IMG Guides and Coaches, along with additional Sherpa Support (two Sherpa guides per climber) and Extra Oxygen (enough for climbing @ 4 liters per minute on the Summit Day). The general itinerary for the Hybrid Program is the same as the Classic climb. This program is led by IMG Expedition Leader Greg Vernovage and Ang Jangbu Sherpa (both Everest summiteers). You will be assigned your personal Sherpa guides for the acclimatization rotations and summit attempts. IMG does not allow members to climb solo. With this revamped Hybrid Program, you will have more flexibility than if you were required to follow the schedule of other climbers. This program will give the Hybrid climber the maximum flexibility while climbing, maximum Sherpa support, and a generous amount of oxygen.
Expedition Organization and Leadership
International Mountain Guides (IMG) IMG is the oldest and most respected high-altitude climbing service in the world and its three principals, Eric Simonson, Phil Ershler, and George Dunn, have led and organized hundreds of expeditions worldwide since 1975. IMG’s Himalayan mountaineering programs are organized and directed by Eric Simonson, one of the world’s premiere expedition organizers. Under his direction IMG has conducted over 60 Himalayan 8000 meter expeditions. His teams include a group of professionals and Sherpas who are the best in the business. Since 1990, over 600 IMG team members have summited the world’s classic 8,000-meter peaks, including Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. IMG’s Everest Philosophy IMG leads the way! Our goal is to minimize risk while helping as many members as possible reach their goal, and we invest in the logistics and manpower to make this possible. We will not sit back and let other teams do the work. Invariably, our IMG Sherpas are part of the rope fixing efforts and the first team to the summit, preparing the route for future summit bids. We value our reputation as one of the premiere international climbing companies. If you would like to join a world-class team on Everest, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your goals and qualifications for membership in the IMG Everest team! Greg Vernovage, Ang Jangbu, IMG Coaches, and the IMG Sherpa Team IMG’s leadership team is exemplary and multi layered, ensuring depth and continuity when a lot is going on! The overall Expedition Leader is Greg Vernovage, a Seven Summiter with successful ascents of Everest, Lhotse, and Cho Oyu. Greg has led many dozens of expeditions for IMG around the world, including 8 Everest Expeditions. He is supported on Everest by several additional IMG coaches from USA. Sharing leadership is Ang Jangbu Sherpa, who has worked on every IMG Himalayan program since 1991. Ang Jangbu Sherpa and his Nepal staff put together every year for IMG one of the very best Sherpa teams on the mountain. We are proud to have a group of Sherpas working for us who are among the best paid, best led, best equipped, and best trained in the business.
23 March 2019 Arrive Kathmandu 24 March 2019 Kathmandu 25 March 2019 Phakding 26 March 2019 Namche 27 March 2019 Namche 28 March 2019 Namche 29 March 2019 Phortse 30 March 2019 Pangboche 31 March 2019 Pheriche 01 April 2019 Pheriche 02 April 2019 Lobuche BC 03 April 2019 Lobuche BC 04 April 2019 Lobuche BC 05 April 2019 Everest BC 06 April 2019 Everest BC 07 April 2019 Everest BC 08 April 2019 Lobuche BC 09 April 2019 High camp 10 April 2019 Summit day 11 April 2019 Back to EBC 12 April 2019 Everest BC 13 April 2019 Everest BC 14 April 2019 Everest BC 15 April 2019 Everest BC 16 April 2019 Camp 1 17 April 2019 Camp 1 18 April 2019 Camp 2 19 April 2019 Camp 2 20 April 2019 Return 21 April 2019 Everest BC 22 April 2019 Everest BC 23 April 2019 Everest BC 24 April 2019 Everest BC 25 April 2019 Everest BC 26 April 2019 Camp 2 27 April 2019 Rest 28 April 2019 Camp 3 sleep 29 April 2019 Camp 2 30 April 2019 Everest BC 01 May 2019 Everest BC 02 May 2019 Everest BC 03 May 2019 Everest BC 04 May 2019 Everest BC 05 May 2019 Camp 2 06 May 2019 Camp 2 07 May 2019 Camp 3 08 May 2019 Camp 4 09 May 2019 Summit 10 May 2019 Camp 2 11 May 2019 Everest BC 12 May 2019 Everest BC 13 May 2019 Contingency 14 May 2019 Contingency 15 May 2019 Contingency 16 May 2019 Contingency 17 May 2019 Contingency 18 May 2019 Contingency 19 May 2019 Contingency 20 May 2019 Contingency 21 May 2019 Contingency 22 May 2019 Contingency 23 May 2019 Contingency 24 May 2019 Contingency 25 May 2019 Contingency 26 May 2019 Contingency 27 May 2019 Contingency 28 May 2019 Contingency 29 May 2019 Contingency 30 May 2019 Contingency 31 May 2019 Contingency 01 June 2019 Pheriche 02 June 2019 Namche 03 June 2019 Lukla 04 June 2019 Kathmandu
Does the Hybrid program have extra oxygen?
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IMG is the gold standard for climbing Everest. The provide all the resources necessary to summit and get down while at the same time minimizing the risk. The expense of climbing Everest has less to do with getting to the top but having the necessary resources when something goes wrong,. IMG has huge number of resources to deploy in terms of manpower, both Sherpas and Guides, O2, and Experience. This was on clear display in 2015 during the Nepal Earthquake and when I returned and summited in 2019
I was not technically with either a Classic or Hybrid group. I set up a personalized fast ascent for both Everest and Lhotse working closing with Greg Vernovage. Greg's professionalism, mountain logistics and personal insight are the best in class. And during the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake his leadership brought us off the mountain and to our respective countries in a controlled, safe manner.
IMG has hands down been my go-to guide company while completing the Seven Summits. My first Everest expedition ended in an earthquake in 2015 and the excellence in safety and professionalism of IMG was magnified. The Sherpa staff and guides kept my team safe and assisted in coordinating rescues and first-aid for any and everyone on that mountain. IMG not only kept us safe during the expedition but they were instrumental in assisting with recouping equipment left behind and navigating insurance claims. I returned in 2016 with a successful summit and all of my fingers and toes :) The elite track record IMG has on this mountain was apparent in the successful summit rate. IMG is a large operation that breaks things down into smaller teams. I chose to go on the Hybrid team which was comprised of a 1:1 client/Sherpa ratio and 1:4 client/western guide ratio. I chose the Hybrid team over the Classic team because I wanted more oversight by a western guide and I preferred the camaraderie associated with a smaller team. (Going back again wouldn’t be an option so I wanted to give myself the best odds for success). From the moment you put your deposit down IMG arranges everything from permits, airport transfers, hotel and even travel itineraries should you want. I will say the hotel arrangement isn't my favorite but IMG has a long standing relationship here so they accommodate us well. I prefer the Yak and Yeti hotel (they are also known for working closely with climbers). Flights out of Kathmandu are always a hit or miss due to weather. On both of my expeditions I had to take a helicopter instead of our scheduled flights to Lukla (which is an added cost). This of course is out of the hands of any guide company. Trekking to BC takes about 10 days to allow for appropriate acclimating and along the way we stay in tea houses. Once at BC all teams dine in separate dinning tents to help stop the spread of germs.. Every person has their own personal tent at basecamp with access to hot showers about once a week and a charging tent. The charging tent wasn’t an ideal place to hang out as it was very cold and lots of people were using it at once. It was not uncommon to come in and find your electronics unplugged and someone else’s plugged in. Having learned this in 2015 I brought my own solar panels to charge my stuff in my personal tent. Overall IMG was the best choice because in my opinion, it has some of the best guides. Greg and Ang Jangbu run a tight ship as expedition leaders and you would be lucky to climb next to Justin and Andy.
I climbed Everest with IMG in the spring of 2015 and 2016. Our expedition was cut short in 2015 due to an earthquake, and thus the need to return a year later. These are the best guides in the world, full stop. Deep roots in Nepal, respectful collaborations with the Sherpa mountaineers from Phortse, logistics dialed in to a T. Although IMG runs large expeditions, they break the trip into sub-groups that helps keep the vibe intimate and friendly. Safety is always top priority, and in fact they are so well regarded among the other guiding outfits that IMG's HQ becomes the de-facto HQ for all of EBC, especially in times of crisis such as the '15 quake. If you are a serious mountaineer who wants to climb Everest safely and have a blast doing it, this is a must-consider company. Details of every day on both expeditions on my blog, pottinger.net.
I have been on two Everest Expeditions so I have the benefit of being able to compare. The IMG Hybrid programme for the Everest South Col climb is a perfect balance of value, quality, safety and fun. At no time during our exped did I feel unsure. Every aspect of it was perfectly managed from start to finish. IMG take the standard route through the Khumbu to get to Everest Base Camp which in comparison to other routes in, is maybe not the nicest way to Base Camp but they have a tried and tested method which they have fine tuned over the years so it is a small price to pay for the level of quality and assurance they provide. Even though we could not get to the top in 2015 due to the devastating earthquake which occured when we were at Camp 2, IMG ensured alll climbers and sherpas were accounted for, safe, had resources available and had a way out - this is even for climbers with other guiding companies. They handled the whole evacuation with military precision were a beacon for all other expeds during this trying time. My only regret is not going with them in 2017 when I returned for a second time (I chose cheap the second time and got what I paid for). IMG are true leaders in their industry. Every expedition I have been on with them has been nothing short of perfect. IMG are the benchmark for other mountaineering companies to aspire to.