Mt. Everest is an iconic mountain and the world’s tallest peak. To many, standing atop her summit represents the ultimate adventure & the crown jewel of climbing. Towering high above the Tibetan plains to the North and the lush green pastures of Nepal to the South, it is both breathtaking and challenging.
At CTSS we are creating a new paradigm in Mt. Everest and Lhotse climbing focused around:
1) A completely customizable expedition to fit your needs & price point
2) Fully internationally UIAGM certified Sherpa guides (beyond our trusted western guides), that offer the finest leadership at an accessible price point
3) New levels of service like our “Everest Executive” program and the highest quality food and amenities
4) An owner-run expedition
5) Exceptional price; In short, we are focused on the overall experience. We firmly believe that happy, healthy, comfortable, well-nourished climbers are successful climbers.
Don’t get stuck with an antiquated- one size fits all approach and be left wanting on the mountain. Rather, join CTSS and enjoy the finest service, customization, personal attention, and luxuries Everest has to offer, refined over countless expeditions, for less than many of our competitors’ basic models. While you can’t buy the summit but you can buy better odds.”
–Mike Hamill, CTSS Owner
- Watch the sunrise from the summit of the world’s tallest peak, peering down at both the Tibetan plateau and Nepalese lowlands at the same altitude that planes fly
- Experience Sherpa culture and hospitality
- Climb through the famous and rugged Khumbu Icefall
- Watch the sunrise over neighboring giant, Pumori, from the Western Cwm
- Experience Puja, the pre-climb blessing, with our Sherpa climbers
- Tour Kathmandu’s cultural sights and see a slice of Nepal
- See the Himalayas from the air while flying in to Lukla to start our trek
Mt. Everest is an exciting but serious undertaking meant for climbers with prior experience at altitude and sound climbing skills. Not for the faint hearted, it is a potentially dangerous mountain that requires a significant amount of time climbing in the ‘Death Zone’.
The ‘Death Zone’ begins with an imaginary line at 8,000m where the oxygen in the atmosphere is so sparse that the human body cannot stay for prolonged periods of time. In order to marginalize the risks faced by every Everest climber, we focus huge amounts of energy on strategy, planning our every move on the mountain in minute detail. We work with lightweight oxygen systems, state of the art equipment, a refined acclimatization schedule, the best weather forecasting available and employ a phenomenal Sherpa team to ensure our clients have the greatest opportunity for success.
All the CTSS Mt. Everest expeditions approach the mountain from the South Side using the South West Ridge route. We prefer the Nepalese side of the mountain for a number of reasons:
- Climbing Everest from the Nepal side is more affordable in relation to the North Side.
- The mountain environment is more hospitable to the wellbeing of our climbers as it is less dry, less windy and warmer than the North Side.
- The South Side terrain is more favourable as it allows you to gain and drop altitude quickly. This means you are able to drop back down to base camp much faster giving your body longer to recover at lower altitude between acclimitization rotations.
- The terrain on Summit Day is also more favourable with less traversing than the North Side. This means not only can you drop altitude quickly, reducing your time in the Death Zone, it also allows a better opportunity for rescue in the event of something going wrong.
- The South Side also offers access to state of the art helicopter services for rescue operations
- There is reliable infrastructure provided from an alliance of reputable guide services and the Icefall Doctors who fix brand new ropes through the icefall up the entire mountain every season making the route much safer, as well as easing traffic with separate up lines and down lines.
Our CTSS Everest expeditions are all overseen and led by Mike Hamill who is pleased to boast a 91% expedition success rate and an 83% climber success rate on expeditions he has led; this is more than double the summit success rate for all climbers, all while maintaining an unprecedented safety record.
Who you choose as the leader of your Mt. Everest expedition is a big deal. You need someone with sound leadership, who can draw on an enormous breadth of knowledge and experience to make timely and savvy decisions. Indeed, it can be the difference between a great, safe expedition and a miserable experience.
A Note from Expedition Leader Mike Hamill
Welcome to “Climbing the Seven Summits” Mt. Everest and Lhotse Expeditions!
Throughout time the human desire to explore new places has been part of our DNA and the world’s highest mountain, Everest, is an incredible draw. Climbing such a mighty peak is no easy feat and you are to be applauded for setting such a lofty goal. We look forward to leading you on the world’s highest peak.
As the premier high altitude guide service, CTSS is committed to your safety and success. We are not a huge “climbing factory” but a modestly sized, nimble guide service that prides itself in customizing our program to your individual needs.
In choosing us you are hiring the finest guides and logistical support in the industry. Benefiting from countless Himalayan expeditions and drawing on decades of first hand guiding experience, we have worked hard to refine our logistics in order to offer you the highest chance of success at an exceptional value. In fact, I personally lead all of our Mt Everest and Lhotse expeditions and am pleased to say that well over 165 climbers have stood on top on 8000m peaks under my direct leadership, perhaps more than any other guide.
We invite the climbers to ask their friends and family to join them on this exotic journey by jumping on our Everest base camp Trek, Lobuche climb, or Everest C2 and C3 programs. You will be able to share many of the cultural experiences together and they will even be able to spend some time with you at base camp and above. This time together often makes these long expeditions more “do-able” from a time away perspective.
We look forward to sharing a great experience with you on Mt. Everest. I look forward to communicating with you directly regarding the expedition options and providing you with the best Mt. Everest experience.
Owner and Lead Guide, Climbing the Seven Summits
How Is Our Everest Expedition Unique?
Why Is CTSS’s Everest Expedition Different and why choose us?
1) Customization: We firmly believe that climbing Mt. Everest should not be a cookie-cutter “one-size-fits-all” approach or even a “two-sizes-fits-all” approach. We offer the largest variety of expedition options (see “expedition options”) and have created new and novel approaches to climbing Everest so that you can have the expedition that fits your needs and your budget. Please look closely at out expedition options and contact us directly for more information. We want you to have the best complete Everest experience from start to finish. As a smaller team we can fully customize your expedition to you, and in fact we encourage you to customize your program. Our personalization and client care are second to none. DON’T get lots in the numbers and join a large team where quality and personal attention suffer. You and your Mt. Everest climb are too important.
2) Best Value: We are confident we offer the best expedition at the best price. We implore you to do your homework and look closely at what others offer in terms of customization, base camp accommodations, quality of food, guide experience, logistics, hotels, acclimatization schedule, Sherpa expertise, personal service and professionalism. We firmly believe that comfortable, well-nourished, healthy climbers are strong and successful climbers on the mountain. A Mt. Everest climb is too important to not look closely at the details and we are here to answer your questions. We want you feel 100% confident in joining our expedition. We have created an expedition that incorporates everything that will make you successful and have stripped it of every aspect that could hinder your success. We have spared no expense and yet still offer you the best rates in the industry. You will NOT find a better value.
3) CTSS Owner Mike Hamill leads the expedition: Mike Hamill, 6 times Everest summiteer and leader of 25 X 8000m expeditions is one of the only owner-expedition leaders. The only way for a company owner to ensure that a trip improves every year and is led to the highest standards, if for them to personally lead the expedition.
4) The best guides: This is hugely important- please research the quality and experience of your guides thoroughly. All of our Everest guides have stood on top, often numerous times. They have proven themselves at altitude time and again. Last year our Mt Everest guide team averaged 5 summits each.
5) “Everest Executive”: We are redefining what the Mt. Everest experience is, from start to finish. Some climbers will choose our traditional service option and will no doubt live in excellent style and comfort as an equally valued part of the team. Those who choose our ‘Everest Executive” option will enjoy added comfort and luxury – the best Mt. Everest has to offer- all for less than most other company’s base models. This extra can be added on to any of our climbing options. (Please see our “Everest Executive” option for more info) Don’t go with another outfitter and be left wanting. We firmly believe that comfortable, well-fed climbers perform much better at altitude and are more successful.
6) Highest Paid Sherpa: We purposely pay our Sherpa more than anyone on the mountain so that they are happy and take care of our clients, and so we can attract the best talent. Our world-class team of Sherpa are hand-picked by Sirdar Tendi Sherpa and CTSS owner Mike Hamill to ensure we have the cream of the crop. They are all close friends who we have complete confidence in. Because they are paid well they go the extra mile to make sure base camp is exceptional and that our clients are extremely well taken care of. Once they’ve been selected for the team, they go through intensive training and a 5 day review process which includes mountain medicine, client care, technical rescue, and guiding principles before being ok’ed to work. We believe in our Sherpa and know that they will do a great job for you and become friends for life.
7) The Best Food: CTSS has the best chefs and food, hands down. Our teams are consistently blown away by the quality of food and hygiene at base camp. Our head chef trains at 5 star restaurants during the off season. Think lemon crepes, cheese omelets, chicken cordon bleu, pizza, fresh fruit almost daily, fresh salads, steaks, apple pie, fresh croissants and cinnamon rolls, and moist chocolate cake. We get shipments of fresh meat, fruit, vegetable, and other supplies weekly. We can keep quality high because we are a smaller team- in a larger team, quality suffers.
8) Lobuche Peak climb and acclimatization: We always incorporate a Lobuche climb into our acclimatization schedule. This unique approach keeps you safer by avoiding one rotation through the rugged Khumbu ice fall, allows the team to train on terrain very specific to Mt. Everest in a safer environment, and for proper acclimatization. Don’t join another expedition that doesn’t incorporate a Lobuche climb as the bottom line is likely their main priority, not your safety. We encourage our climbers to comfort their loved ones back home by mitigating the risks of climbing Everest as much as possible.
9) We believe in Team: Part of what makes us successful is our team mentality. We strongly believe working together, supporting each other, and climbing as a cohesive group, both climbers and Sherpa, helps each individual stand on top. To foster this team mentality our Everest and Lhotse climbers are invited (not compulsory, but encouraged) to join our trip to Mexico for an ascent of Orizaba in January a few months before Everest. This helps the team bond prior to their big climb and acts as an assessment to ensure the team is well adjusted to climb Everest. Further it allows the guides to check in with clients on gear and training, and let’s the clients make necessary adjustments over the remaining few months before heading to Nepal.
10) Low Attrition Rate: A great way to assess various operators and expedition companies is to look at their attrition rates. How many climbers leave the expedition from the time the team shows up in Kathmandu to how many stand on the summit is a very important indicator of the quality of an expedition. A high attrition may suggest that something is going wrong, whether it be hygiene & illness, base camp comfort, nutrition, acclimatization schedule, guide:client ratios etc. We believe that marginal gains accumulate over the course of an expedition and add up to success. That is why we have tried to perfect every aspect of our expedition and why we have such a small attrition rate.