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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

Expedition Highlights:

  • 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

Expedition Intro

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:

  1. Climbing Everest from the Nepal side is more affordable in relation to the North Side.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. The South Side also offers access to state of the art helicopter services for rescue operations
  6. 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.

Best regards,

Mike Hamill
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.

Mt Everest Team Climb Sample Schedule: (Day 1 is the day the team meets in KTM) This itinerary is only a rough estimate and will be determined by weather and acclimatization. This is adventure travel so the schedule will likely change and not everything will go as planned. People need to be adaptable and positive.

We always recommend people arrive in Kathmandu one day early to avoid travel delays or issues with lost baggage. Added expenses (hotel/food/sightseeing) of this extra day are the client’s responsibility. Please let us know if you want us to arrange logistics for you arriving a day or earlier or for a single rooming option.

Day               Itinerary

1                     Arrive KTM

2                    Obtain Climbing permits/Free Day/Team dinner

3                    Fly to Lukla/trek to Phakding

4                    Trek to Namche

5                    Rest/acclimatization in Namche

6                    Hike to Tengboche

7                    Rest/acclimatization in Tengboche

8                    Hike to Pheriche

9                    Rest/acclimatization in Pheriche

10                  Hike to Lobuche base camp

11                   Trek to Lobuche high camp

12                   Move to Lobuche high camp

13                   Rest/acclimatization above high camp

14                   Summit and descend to Lobuche base camp

15                   Trek to Everest base camp

16                   Rest/acclimatize

17                   Rest/acclimatize

18                   Train/acclimatize

19                   Rest/pack for first rotation

20                  Climb to C1

21                   Climb to C2 and return to C1

22                   Descend to base camp

23                   Rest

24                   Hike to Pumori C1

25                   Rest

26                  Climb to C1

27                  Climb to C2

28                  Climb above C2

29                  Climb to C3 and descend to C2

30                  Descend to base camp

31                   Rest

32                  Rest

33                  Rest

34                  Rest

35                  Climb to C1

36                  Climb to C2

37                  Climb to C3

38                 Climb to C4

39                 Summit and descend to C2

40                Descend to base camp

41                 Rest

42                Pack up base camp

43                Trek to Pheriche

44                Trek to Namche

45                Trek to Lukla

46                Fly to Kathmandu

47                Fly Home

48                Contingency Day

49                Contingency Day

50                Contingency Day

51                 Contingency Day

52                Contingency Day

53                Contingency Day

54                Contingency Day

55                Contingency Day

56                Contingency Day

57                Contingency Day

58                Contingency Day

Note: We recommend that you factor in the contingency days to your schedule for weather etc. and then move your flight up at the end of your trip before flying home. CTSS covers one night’s hotel at the end of the program. If you decide to stay longer those extra hotel and other expenses are your own cost.

1 Review for Everest Sherpa Supported Climb

Wayne

1 Reviews

Top notch expedition from start to finish

Year of Expedtion: 2019

View All

5.0

CTSS and their logistics partner TAG Nepal put on an amazing expedition, all the way from the insulated basecamp tents to the calibre of the climbing Sherpas to the high end oxygen systems. Basecamp was extremely comfortable with padded dining chairs, carpet, and heating, thick mattresses in the personal tents, and then there was the huge chillout tent known as the Big House. For those with extra Dollars an upgrade to exec level tents was possible bringing the comfort level up another notch. Intermediate camp 2 facilities also provided that little bit of comfort, with an insulated dining tent, decent food and a great placement high up in the Western Cwm. The higher camps were as expected, the Sherpas making sure that we wanted for nothing. Accurate weather forecasting ensured we eventually made the summit and as usual the highly qualified Sherpa team were faultless throughout. In my case, requiring a helicopter evac, the guiding team did everything necessary to get me off the mountain and on to Kathmandu for treatment. Wouldn’t hesitate to climb with Mike Hamill and CTSS in the future.

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Q Will I need to purchase insurance?

Yes, trip insurance is required for this program and it needs to cover the entire cost of the trip and include trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical expenses, repatriation, and evacuation for the entire length of the expedition.

Trekkers are required to have the same coverage. Unforeseen hiccups are part of adventure travel both before and during the expedition and it can be very expensive. Every effort should be taken to account for them in advance. Please forward a copy of your insurance for our records so that we can help you in the event that it need to be used during the expedition. Most insurers require us to contact them immediately.

For more information on trip insurance please visit the “Trip Insurance” page on the website.

Q What’s the deal with Extra Oxygen?

We give you plenty of oxygen to run a comfortable oxygen flow (3L/min or so) throughout the climb. As standard we give you 10 bottles (7 for your and 3 for your Sherpa). If you would like extra oxygen we encourage your decision and are happy to arrange an additional 3 bottles. With the extra Os you can run high flow (4 – 5L/min) throughout summit day, start oxygen at Camp 2, and have a bit extra in case of delays at the South Col etc. Extra oxygen can help keep you warmer and moving faster so it’s a great safety margin. You certainly don’t need the extra oxygen but I’ve always seen it as a good on-mountain insurance policy as such.

Q What is the food like on the climb?

At Base Camp 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 considering where we are in the world. Our head chef trains at 5 star restaurants during the off season. Think lemon crepes, cheese omelettes, 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. Dave Hahn, non-Sherpa Everest summit record holder with 15 summits said about our head chef Kumar, “A real pro. Kumar is the reason I kept climbing in the Himalayas as long as I did.”

Q Will I be sharing a tent?

No, for the majority of the climb you are not sharing a tent. We stay at the famous “Yak and Yeti” hotel in Kathmandu and in the finest teahouses while trekking to base camp. While at Everest base camp you will have your own tent to spread your gear out and call home. There will be times on the mountain where you will need to share a tent with another climber to reduce the number of dangerous loads the Sherpa need to carry through the treacherous Khumbu Ice fall. It’s also a lot warmer and safer when you can keep an eye on each other.

Q How heavy will my pack be?

In general, climbing packs on Mt. Everest are relatively light. You will likely be carrying 15lbs – 30lbs (7kg – 12kg) most of the time while climbing and less on the trek into base camp. While climbing you should be prepared to carry your gear for the day and some of your personal gear for the mountain. Sherpa will carry all of the group gear and help with personal gear where possible.

Q What program upgrades are available?

The main add-ons for the Everest programs are extra oxygen, the Everest Executive Option (upgraded tent accommodation, single supplement etc) single rooms upgrades and/or deluxe rooms in the trekking lodges. If you are climbing Everest you may choose to add on an ascent of Lhotse. Please discuss these add-ons with us and we can help you decide if they are right for you.

Q In the Khumbu, what's not included?

We cover almost everything in the cost of the trip once we fly into the Khumbu valley so there shouldn’t be too many other expenses that you need to worry about. The biggest expense is tips. The Sherpa tip pool is $600 and I will collect that at the beginning on the climb to disperse amongst the entire team at the end of the climb including cook staff and dining staff. People sometimes tip their individual summit Sherpa a bit more than this and it seems like people have been tipping their guide about 1k-2k on the Western Guided option. The other personal expenses people accrue are wifi (through third party operators) additional personal snacks, drinking, charging of devices & toilet paper. We suggest you bring a portable charger and pack a few additional rolls of toilet paper for the trek in.

Q How much gear can I bring?

Please stick to 2 X 20kg duffel bags.

If you want to bring an extra duffel of gear then we will charge you $250 usd each way to and from base camp.

Q What's the best climb to prepare for Everest?

Hands down I think that Cho Oyu is the best, most specific Everest prep. You get an understanding of how your body does at altitudes over 8000m and get familiar with the oxygen system and climbing with the Sherpa.

Q It's a long time away from home - can my family and friends join me?

Yes, your family and friends are more than welcome to join us on the trek in to base camp and even climb Lobuche peak if they like. (Our standard treks stay a 2 nights in Base Camp before departing but we have had people stay longer and this can be arranged by chatting to us directly) Please let us know immediately if you have people who want to join us so that we can make arrangements for them. Space in hotels in Kathmandu and in the teahouses is limited during climbing season so we need to know final numbers asap!

Q How Much Cash Should I Bring?

It is better to have more money than you need than not enough, while most things are covered on the trip once you land in Kathmandu (check what’s included/what’s not included list for details) you will still need cash. The cash that you need to bring includes money for visas ($100 for 1 single entry 90 day), Sherpa tip pool ($600 for climbers and $300 for

trekkers), money for staff tips (customary but optional) $200 for potential consultation and treatment by the doctors at base camp, $500 to cover expenses for a potential early departure (not often, but sometimes this occurs) and $1,500 – $5,000 if you think you’ll want a helicopter ride out, $300 for miscellaneous expenses like non-group meals, shopping, drinks around Kathmandu and while on the trip to base camp if you want wifi, sodas, specialty coffees, bottled water, charging of devices or snacks (meals are covered),

Generally we recommend bringing $2,000 – $3,000 USD plus a credit card to cover all potential expenses including an early departure but it is unlikely that you will need all of this. Small denominations (1’s, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s) are better and although American dollars are accepted, you can change money into Nepali rupees at change houses when you arrive. Rates are generally about the same and I’ve never encountered one that isn’t legitimate. Also, there are now quite a few ATM’s around town where you can use your card to take out local

cash at a good rate. It is much more difficult to change money, especially large sums, once in the Khumbu Valley. Please let your credit card company know you will be traveling so you can use your card (and not set off the fraud alert due to using the card in a foreign country)

Q How To Navigate Arrivals

Often just getting to Nepal can be the hardest part. Once you’re on the ground it’s time to relax. Upon exiting the plane walk to the left of the customs area and have your passport, photo, money, and visa form handy. You must pay for your visa first at the desk straight ahead and to the left before getting in the “Visa Upon Entry” line (far left of the large room). Purchase the $100, 90 day for Everest and Lhotse climbers or the $25, 30 day visa for trekkers and Lobuche climbers single entry Nepali visa.

Q How Should I Pack?

For the trip to base camp climbers will need to pack in two separate duffels: a base camp duffel and a trekking duffel. Climber’s base camp duffel will not be accessible while on the trek to Lobuche en route to base camp and should contain all of your climbing gear (crampons, axes, down suit etc) and items you won’t need until Lobuche.

Your trekking duffel will contain everything you will need for the trip to base camp including your trekking gear, rain gear, street clothes, and a light sleeping bag. Trekkers will have everything with them in one duffel. Please keep everything you will need with you such as medications and medical supplies. What will go in your trekking and base camp duffels will be covered in more detail in Kathmandu.

Pack an additional small lightweight duffel in your luggage to leave street, travel clothes and things you won’t need on the expedition at the hotel in Kathmandu

Q How safe is the food and water?

As in Kathmandu, once on the trail in to base camp it is highly recommended that you stick to treated rather than tap water. Properly boiled water is available in all the teahouses and bottled water is readily available in stores en route but to reduce the amount of trash and pollution in the valley we encourage you buying boiled or UV treated water from teahouses. You can also bring your own water treatment solution.

We will provide some teas and coffees at meal times but if you want sodas, bottled waters, specialty coffees, or drinks outside of meal times we ask that you purchase them yourself.

Nepal isn’t known for its cuisine. The food on the trek to base camp can become a bit monotonous but it’s energy dense and fufilling. Asian inspired, there is a lot of fried rice, rice based meals, soups, omlettes etc. Stick to meals where the food is obviously local and sourced from the valley. We stay in reputable teahouses who have a good understanding of food hygiene so our climbers and trekkers rarely get sick. It’s ok and somewhat expected to get a slightly upset tummy as you’ll be eating food that is different to what you are used to.

At Base Camp, we have our own chefs who are incredible and take every precaution, in a full catering kitchen. They also cook Western foods, have fresh food including fruit, vegetables and meat resupplied regularly and serve a good variety. CTSS is known to have the best food on the mountain and given where in the world we are, that’s a remarkable feat.

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