I am gearing up for my second climb with AlpenGlow Expeditions and I am super excited. About five years ago I did the Mt. Pisco and Chopicalqui climb in Peru with AlplenGlow and it was great. A crazy work schedule has kept me from climbing as much the past few years but I am eager to get back into it full force. I recently got a job with a European company though and now I have enough holiday time to get out there and take longer vacations again. This time around I have decided to increase my levels and try something a little harder than Pisco and Chopicalqui. All of the big mountains are all reviewed online with a bunch of information over their difficulty and in which ways they are difficult. There are a lot of really good peaks in Peru that I was looking at but after a lot of consideration I have decided that this time around I wanted to go to a different country. Peru is amazing but if given the opportunity to explore something new I feel I should probably go for that option. So I started looking at different alternatives. I have heard a lot about Nepal and Tibet from other climbers so I started to poke around a bit for information about the mountains there. AlpenGlow also does a number of climbs with experienced climbing guides in both of those counties so I figured it would be best to just go with a company I know. I read all of the information on the AlpenGlow website about all of their climbs in both Nepal and Tibet; there were quite a few options: the Ama Dablam, the Lhotse Rapid Ascent, the Cho Oyu Rapid Ascent, the Makalu and of course, the Everest Rapid Ascent which there is absolutely no chance of me doing. The Ama Dablam in Nepal is 22,525 feet, (6,868 meters) and seems like it is maybe a bit too out of my difficulty range. They suggest to climb Ama Dablam you should have solid, multi-pitch climbing experience with both rock and ice. I am pretty good with rock but I think I haven’t brought up my ice skills enough for this one. The Lhotse Rapid Ascent is the fourth tallest peak in the world at 27,940 feet (8,516 meters) and shares some of its paths with Mt. Everest. Again, this might be too far past my skill level, just the mention of Everest makes me feel like it would maybe be too much. The Cho Oyu Rapid Ascent is 26,906 feet (8,201 meters) seems to be a pretty good choice. The climbing guides at AlpenGlow suggest that this climb is perfect for climbers who are wanting to tackle one of the famed fourteen 8,000 meter peaks. The routes are reasonably difficult with a few technical pieces but there isn’t too much risk of dangers common to other peaks such as rock and ice fall. Overall I really like the sound of this climb. The last option, the Makalu is on the border of the two countries and is 27,825 feet (8,481 meters) which makes it the fifth tallest mountain in the world. It is very close to Mr. Everest and the Khumbu Valley but the Makalu isn’t a popular climb because the trek into base camp is long and difficult. The climbing guides at Alpenglow went around this though by just hiring a few helicopters so now climbers can easily get into base camp and then be on their way up. This trek sounds like one of the best so far. If I go during the fall there should also be enough snow to make it safe from things like icefalls, rock fall and avalanches which is always a big hazard when climbing.
I still need to decide but I think either the Makalu or the Cho Oyu Rapid Ascent would be fantastic options. They can push me back up to building a better climbing skill level so maybe next time around I can tackle one of the more difficult climbs.