Year of Expedtion: 2016
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.
Successful and Safe Trip – With Bad*$s Guides
Year of Expedtion: 2016
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.
Year of Expedtion: 2016
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.
IMG are the best!
Year of Expedtion: 2015
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.
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Does the Hybrid program have extra oxygen?