Hard to find the words to describe how grateful I am for IMG. The trip was a success and all eight of the Everest and Lhotse climbers successfully submitted. The trip was not without its difficulties with a handful of clients getting sick but overall IMG handled the mishaps with Grace and ultimately nailed the timing of our rotations for all of us to summit in the opening windows of the season. I would absolutely climb with IMG again. The one thing that is far superior with their group than any other climbing group is the amazing Sherpa team. Every single climbing Sherpa had multiple summers under their belt and ample experience. That is what you were paying for
IMG has large Everest groups, but the smaller sub-teams helps. Their close working relationship with the high-altitude workers and their Nepal support partner, BEYUL, really make logistics smooth and helps solve problems. They protected and managed our expedition well, even when the unprecedented 2015 Gorkha quake changed everything.
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’ve done the Everest Base Camp trek with IMG twice (as well as other trek’s with IMG). They are simply the best. Nobody has the depth and support they have in the Khumbu Valley. As a consequence, they also have the best people working for them. I can absolutely recommend IMG to anybody who has an interest in visiting Nepal, and Everest Base Camp!
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.
I chose IMG for one reason, I wanted to return safely. IMG was referred to me on that basis, and they proved their reputation. They delivered me safely home through the 2015 earthquake, and again in 2016 when I was fortunate to summit, relying on their considerable expertise in every detail. Expedition leader, Greg Vernovage, and his team, both in Nepal, and in the U.S., have many, many years of combined experience that not only helps keep IMG members safe, but many others, as well. In both 2015 and 2016, many of the other respected teams looked to IMG for answers during critically important times. When there’s a “cluster”, you’ll be happy you chose IMG!
IMG are phenomenal guides. The safety, professionalism, preparation, and extra-mile effort shown by this group is constantly good, but was especially on display during the 2015 earthquake. IMG essentially backboned the medical and evacuation efforts of all basecamp and climbers. Can't speak more highly of everyone there especially Greg Vernovage, Jangbu Sherpa and all staff.
This was a custom climb of Forbidden's North Ridge, guided by IMG Senior Guide Justin Merle, in September 2018. 2 climbers... 1 guide... 4 days... a challenging and rarely-climbed route... spectacular conditions... laughter and good times all the way! If you are an advanced climber looking for the safest and best guiding available in the North Cascades, IMG is the way to go in my book. More details on my blog: http://pottinger.net/osm/2018/11/forbidden-peak-via-north-ridge-day-3/
Totally fun and fulfilling climb of Mt Vinson with IMG, summiting early January 2014. Greg Vernovage and Aaron Mainer guided us perfectly. Very safe, totally beautiful, really fun teammates. I just do not have enough good things to say about this expedition. It is cold down there... really cold... but all the systems are in place to deal with it. If you can afford Vinson, this is an option to consider very carefully. Summit day video here: https://youtu.be/3ZNNncOoh8Q
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.
This was an amazing expedition in all regards. Guides Mike, Josh, and Leo were top-flight. Everyone had lots of fun--before, during, and after the climb. Logistics were handled perfectly--we could enjoy ourselves and take in the spectacular scenery, rather than worry about nuts & bolts. Food was fabulous. And even when conditions were serious on summit day, everyone was well tended to and safe. I cannot recommend this expedition highly enough--definitely more fun than doing the usual Plaza de Mulas way, this was a fun traverse from the Plaza Argentina side.
This was the last of my 7 Summits quest... and it was an auspicious expedition. IMG handled the logistics very nicely, and guiding by Mike, Sasha, and Igor was great--attention to detail, always totally safe even when conditions were hairy, and everyone had a great time. On this outing, the food in Terskol was not great--although I think that was not IMG's fault. The food there is just not tasty and many of us developed mild diarrhea. So that sucked. But the trip overall was so fun and beautiful that it did not matter. For details, please see my blog: http://pottinger.net/osm/expedition/elbrus-2017/
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.
IMG once again having every aspect of the trip organised to a T. Using local guides along with one US based IMG Guide, it was a well run trip. The only qualm I have is the accommodation down in the town of Terskol is a bit run down. We visited a new hotel in the next village (Cheget I think) which would have been a much better choice. Aside from that, everything was great. Good fun climb. The City tours of St Petersburg and Moscow made the trip much more enjoyable as the climb itself it fairly straight forward and quick.
This trip was organised perfectly from the moment we met in the hotel to the summit of Aconcagua. Excellent food. Great Guides (Mike Hamill / Josh McDowell). Great support all the way and some amazing last minute weather forecasting which saw us thread the needle and get to the summit between storms. IMG deliver once again.