Everest and Lhotse are not places to be with an organisation that is 'learning the ropes'—there is too much at stake for that. Adventure Consultants expedition staff, along with the operations and logistics team at the head office in New Zealand, provide the highest level of backup and support to the climbing team in order to maximise your chances of success. This is coupled with a very strong expedition guiding team and Sherpa contingent, who, you will come to see, are second-to-none in the industry.
With technology constantly evolving, Adventure Consultants have kept abreast of all the new techniques and equipment advancements, encompassing the latest in weather forecasting facilities, equipment innovations and communications system.
Guy Cotter, CEO / Mountain & Ski Guide
The 2020 expedition is being organised by Guy Cotter, director of Adventure Consultants and a veteran of 27 years of Everest expedition guiding and organisation.
Caroline Ogle, Operations Manager
Caroline has worked in Nepal as part of our operations and logistics team on a regular basis since 2009. She is the AC Operations Manager and plays an integral part in the planning and operation of our Everest Expeditions each year.
Our international guiding staff are the best in the industry. You will find the Adventure Consultants mountain guides companionable and strong expedition leaders with considerable abilities and a willingness to see you achieve your goals. The number of guides is determined by the team size but the normal ratio of guides to members is 1:4.
Some of our regular team include:
Mike Roberts, Expedition Leader
Mike Roberts has been guiding for nearly 30 years and during his career has climbed many of the world’s highest mountains including 9 ascents of Everest including back to back ascents of Everest and Lhotse.
He has also managed to fit in multiple seasons mountain and ski guiding in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, 18 seasons in Antarctica as a Field Leader / Guide to the USA and NZ Antarctic Programs, SAR Leader for the Joint Antarctic Search and Rescue team, has worked as a Professional Ski Patroller/Avalanche Forecaster and is a qualified Physiotherapist. Mike is also a fully qualified IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide.
Rob started climbing in 1989 and has been guiding since 2000. He divides his time between guiding during the summer Antarctic seasons and the greater ranges of the Himalaya. Originally from Omagh, Northern Ireland, Rob is now based in Fort William, Scotland. He has guided for Adventure Consultants for a number of years and his notable guided ascents include Everest, Vinson Massif, Cho Oyu and Elbrus amongst many others. In 2019, Rob successfully completed the Everest-Lhotse double.
Lydia was the first woman to ascend Mt Everest without oxygen in 1988 and after years of personal climbing is now mountain guiding with Adventure Consultants. She has since summitted Everest with AC four more times (2008, 2013, 2016 and 2018). As well as being a qualified IFMGA Guide she is also a qualified physiotherapist.
Ang Dorjee Sherpa
Summiting Everest initially with Adventure Consultants in 1992, Ang Dorjee has moved on to achieve 20 summits of Everest and 29 ascents of 8,000m peaks! His skills as a climber are legendary. Frequently we consult his mountain acumen to ensure the smooth operation of an expedition.
Our group of climbing Sherpas is enthusiastic, motivated and regarded as the strongest and most cohesive group of Sherpas on Mount Everest. They have dozens of Everest summits between them.
Da Jangbu Sherpa, Climbing Sidar
Da Jangbu Sherpa, our Expedition and Climbing Sirdar, has summitted Everest an impressive 13 times and brings with him considerable knowledge and experience. As a consequence of his leadership, we have a legendary group of Climbing Sherpas who operate in a harmonious atmosphere of cooperation and commitment to the expedition.
Base Camp Support Team
Annette Phillips, Everest Basecamp Manager
Annette will be known to many as a former Client Liaison for AC, although more recently she is found exploring the remote Southern Fiords of New Zealand and Stewart Island as Team Leader on multi-day adventure cruise boats. Annette knows how to make things happen in the great outdoors, having also worked as a Canyon Guide and Canyon Assessor for the NZ Outdoor Instructors Association. Annette brings a great blend of people skills, organisation and pragmatism and we were excited to have her back on the team for the 2019 season.
Dr Sara Gordon, Expedition Doctor
With a background in Rural Hospital Medicine and General Practice, New Zealander Sara first joined AC as Expedition Doctor on our 2017 Dhaulagiri team. Sara is no stranger to heights, having lived at altitude in North America and enjoyed trekking in the Himalayas, NZ and Japan. Prior to training in medicine, Sara worked as an outdoor instructor and river guide in New Zealand and now instructs in Wilderness and Polar Medicine. In her free time, Sara enjoys backcountry and mountain adventures in New Zealand, where she has been a Search & Rescue team member in Auckland and Nelson over the past 12 years.
Dr Sophie Wallace, Medical Advisor
Sophie works for AC in the capacity of our Medical Advisor, as well as having been our Expedition Doctor at Everest Base Camp in 2014, 2017 and 2018. She is an experienced emergency physician, currently based at the Royal Perth Hospital in Australia. Originally from the United Kingdom, Sophie has a passion for the outdoors and has trekked, travelled, dived and worked in remote high altitude locations around the world.
Sarah Macnab, Base Camp Chef
Sarah is a talented chef who has amassed over 30 years experience in the food and hospitality industry around the world, from overseeing cruise ship catering in Antarctica, the Arctic and throughout the Pacific, to ski resorts, fine dining restaurants, coffee roasting, teaching and consulting. Sarah has also established and run successful businesses in New Zealand, where her coffee roasting skills are renowned! She joined AC as our Everest Base Camp Chef in 2014 and we are excited to have her back again this year, leading our talented Sherpa kitchen staff catering to our climbing teams, expedition staff and visiting trekking teams.
Head Office Support Team
Running successful journeys and expeditions is more about experience, knowledge and strategic management than any other factors. As an organisation, we place a substantial amount of time and resources into ensuring our trips are well planned and supported. You can be assured that the AC staff will provide you with friendly advice and knowledgeable support throughout the planning stages of your trip and we will be there to provide backup while the trip is running.
Amelia Crofut-Brittingham, Client Liaison
Amelia has been with Adventure Consultants since October 2017 in the role of Client Liaison. Having spent many years working in the ski industry, Amelia brings a wealth of experience to her role.
Adventure Consultants provides a dedicated doctor for the whole team. Most other teams use a generic medical provider whilst our doctor is there primarily for you and your teammates. The doctor will monitor your overall health throughout the expedition and our medical equipment and provisions are there to provide for your healthcare needs.
Ample resources will be on call to support each and every climber, not just the first team or fittest members. Remember, this is an expedition led by experienced guides whose job it is to look after your interests. This should not be confused with a "professionally led" expedition where often you may be buying a place in a team with fewer support services and led by climbers who are attempting the summit primarily for themselves. There are also “Sherpa led” expeditions where you are placed in the hands of a Sherpa for the climb. This can seem alluring, especially when some expedition operators will encourage you to join so they can fill their available spaces but too often these are expeditions with over 20 members! The Sherpas are not trained in medical techniques and are often reluctant to act effectively in situations requiring urgency. This is where the skills and experience of your Western guide become invaluable. Too often expedition members learn about the deficiencies of their guides/operators when things begin to go wrong and that is usually too late.
Level of Experience Required
There is no definite measure for assessing the required skill level to climb Everest and Lhotse. We prefer to discuss this on an individual basis. However, there are some broad guidelines that can be applied from the outset.
A successful team member will have been visiting the mountains for at least five seasons and made ascents of peaks up to 5,500-6,000m/18–20,000ft. It is quite common for members to have previously climbed Denali in Alaska, Aconcagua in South America and various Mexican volcanoes as training for Everest.
Prospective climbers should be familiar with crevasse rescue and glacier travel techniques and have a good overall standard of fitness. Climbers will ideally have a broad set of climbing skills from basic rock climbing to advanced cramponing on snow and ice and strong rope skills such as rappelling and rope ascending.
Age itself is no barrier. To date, we have succeeded on Everest with members aged from 20 to 66 years of age.
A fierce determination and a burning desire to climb the mountain are essential prerequisites for this expedition. The guides and other expedition staff will provide the leadership, tactics and overall decision-making required during the climb but you will still have to physically put one foot in front of the other to make it to the top and back.
We recommend that prospective members undertake another expedition with us before attempting this expedition. Your ability to summit may be dictated by your understanding of how your body responds to very high altitude and ascending other, less demanding, peaks at high altitude will increase your confidence and enhance your judgement during your summit days. For example, Cho Oyu from Tibet is an excellent venue to learn about the problems of extreme high altitude, without the time or the financial commitment that this expedition requires.
AC provides a high flow oxygen package for all team members included in the expedition fee. Many have found this critical to their success and we have seen our summit rate increase dramatically with its use. The response from our team members has also been phenomenally positive. Climbers have reported having better energy levels, a better appetite, more warmth, a higher degree of strength and greater enjoyment on summit day.
We also ensure we have enough oxygen to wait a day at the South Col and Camp 4, before attempting the summit.
Our recent experiences show that for those who really want to maximise their chance of success, then these high oxygen flow rates allow the best option for ensuring you only need to attempt Everest and Lhotse one time!
Preparing for Your Trip
The South Col route on Everest is not an especially technically difficult climb - nor is it the "Yak Route" which some non-Everest climbers have termed it. However, it is imperative that expedition members are well versed in the latest techniques and have experience in the high mountain environment.
What the photographs do not show are the difficulties of operating at these extreme altitudes. It is a physically demanding ascent, requiring enormous determination and stamina. An expedition to Everest and Lhotse is not a place for those who will give up when the going gets uncomfortable or strenuous. Days can be up to 15 hours long and although we have lightened the loads you personally carry by having enough Sherpa support to carry your equipment, the days are still arduous and taxing, especially over the 7–9 weeks of the expedition.
The outcome of the expedition will be determined by three broad groups of factors. The first is environmental (weather and snow conditions, etc). The second is the logistical approach taken by the expedition leaders and the strategies employed to embark on a summit bid. The third is your own preparation in the years prior to the expedition and how you perform whilst the expedition is underway. We can help design a training program that will both physically and mentally prepare you for the climb but you need to commit the time and energy to ensure you attain the correct conditioning. Read our AC Blog article 'Fit to Climb' for more information on how to physically prepare for your expedition.
We know that the success of an expedition is determined by factors that are planned well in advance of the outset of the actual climbing. During our 26 previous seasons on Everest, we have observed many other groups attempting to climb the mountain. Many try to emulate our strategies without committing to the level of resources that we provide.
Every step of the way, our office staff will be there to answer your questions. If they can’t, they will be happy to put you in touch with one of our Senior International Guides who will have first-hand knowledge of the climb.
We recognise that no amount of finely tuned organisation will guarantee anyone the summit of Everest or Lhotse. However, we do believe that our experience, combined with your enthusiasm and determination, will provide you with the best possible chance of standing on top of the world. Our track record on Everest is unmatched with 360 summits to date!
Our expeditions are renowned for the quality of the food and the expertise of our cooks. AC will import Western food for the expedition and supplement this with Nepalese products. Don't be surprised to see sushi, roast duck or fresh salmon on our menus! Snacks and hot and cold drinks are available around the clock to ensure that you maintain the strength required for the summit bid.
Our Base Camp menus are planned and overseen by Western chefs and our busy kitchen Sherpa team have been working together for AC for many years. At Camp 2 we have a dedicated team of mountain cooks who produce a mind-boggling array of culinary delights at 6,400m/21,000ft.
Hygiene is paramount to an expedition's success and we ensure a high level of food safety throughout the expedition.
Clothing & Equipment
Expedition members will be sent a list detailing all necessary clothing and equipment to be individually provided, contained within a set of Expedition Reference notes with all the details for the trip. These notes provide extensive information on everything from suggestions of what type of camera to bring, to training advice for your expedition preparation.
Base Camp Facilities
The Adventure Consultants facilities are hailed as the best appointed and most comfortable in Base Camp. We recognise that the more comfortable and better rested you are during your rest at Base Camp, the better you will perform on the mountain. While climbers on every other expedition are crawling in and out of a tiny mountain sleeping tent and enduring more hardship than is necessary in Base Camp, team members with Adventure Consultants are living in virtual luxury.
On our expedition you enjoy a very high standard of expedition accommodation featuring a 'walk-in' tent with bright LED lighting, a carpeted floor, a chair and a comfortable cot bed; essentially a hotel room in base camp!
Meal times are a pleasure in our heated dining tent that is insulated and fully carpeted. Here you get to enjoy our meals that are famous for the quality that feature fresh local foods and specialist imported products prepared by our trained chefs. Outside of mealtimes we have a lounge area where you can watch movies projected onto our full-sized screen or lounge around on one of the couches to read or have a catch-up with team mates.