Over the past few years, Adrian Ballinger’s Alpenglow team has set down the ground work for what has become known as “flash” expeditions to Everest and other big peaks. These climbs take a fraction of the time that more traditional expeditions require, but cost considerably more as a result. Now, another outfitter is getting into the fast-climb game, and they’ve set an unprecedented price level too.
Alan Arnette has all the details on the new Furtenbach Adventures Everest Expedition, which promises to get climbers to the summit in just four weeks time, and offer them unlimited oxygen along the way, all for the low, low price of just $95,000. Yep, you read that right. In an era where more Nepali companies are leading teams to the mountain at a discounted price, this new experience from Furtenbach will set you back nearly $100k.
So how do they do it? Both Alpenglow and Furtenbach get their clients set up with a proper fitness program to prepare for the climbs, but more importantly they use oxygen tents prior to departing for the Himalaya to start the acclimatization process long before the mountaineers step foot on Everest. As a result, they arrive in Nepal and Tibet much better prepared for the altitude, cutting down on the number of trips up and down the mountain and even the trek to Base Camp.
Alpenglow has had good success with this strategy in recent years, so it only seems natural that someone else would emulate it. In contrast to the 4 week climb offered by Ballinger, now Furtenbach Adventures, most people looking to summit Everest spend about two months in the Himalaya. The pitch here is that time is money, and that these expeditions save their clients as much as four weeks away from home. They also pitch these trips as being safer, since they don’t spend nearly as much time climbing to high camps to acclimatize.
Alan goes into more detail on these types of expeditions, sharing his thoughts throughout the article. He also interviews Lukas Furtenbach about this new venture as well, with the German offering his thoughts on the science behind the use of oxygen tents, how it helps his clients to prepare, and much more.
Is this the future of mountaineering? Only time will tell. But, that future is starting look more fragmented with the rich client paying exorbitant fees to reach the summit, while an increasing number of climbers choose the “budget” route instead.
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