Considering the high risk level involved with mountaineering climbing a peak can be incredibly expensive. The price is usually well deserved though. Tour operators are in charge of your safety when climbing a mountain and most do everything in their power and take every precaution necessary to ensure your safety. This means the best equipment, proper communications tools, and the background knowledge of the history of a particular peak and knowing how others have failed. Your best chance to climb a difficult peak is with the best operators.
Like most other excursions there is a wide variety of mountaineering tours. The quality of tours differs tremendously. Some might have gourmet meals and the latest high-tech equipment, while others include just the bare necessities. For safety concerns you should always check out every operator, perhaps contacting previous clients. An operator’s past safety record should be inspected thoroughly, particularly when mountaineering is involved.
Mountaineering Tour Operators
- 7 Summits (http://www.7summits.com)
- Tour Company that focuses on ascents of the highest summits on all seven continents.
- Alpine Ascents (http://www.alpineascents.com, Tel. +206-378-1927)
- Seattle based mountain guides and climbing school that leads ascents all over the world.
- Aspiring Guides Mountaineering (http://www.aspiringguides.com, Tel. +64-3-443-9422)
- This Kiwi based operator leads ascents all across New Zealand, their main focus, as well as across the world.
- Jasmine Tours (http://www.jasminetours.com, Tel. +92-51-589-5333)
- Pakistan based operator that organizes ascents of the many high peaks, often over 22,965 feet, in Pakistan’s Himalayas.
- International Mountain Guides (http://www.mountainguides.com, Tel. +360-569-2609)
- Named by National Geographic as the world’s best mountaineering operator. Leads ascents to many of the world’s highest peaks and classic summits from Antarctica, Nepal, Alaska, and many more. The best guides, top of the line equipment and excellent customer service.
- Peruvian Andes Adventures (http://www.peruvianandes.com, Tel. + 51-43-421-864)
- This well-known Huaraz, Peru based operator has been leading climbs in the Cordillera Blanca for decades.
Rarely if ever is climbing a mountain a do-it-yourself option. Most peaks need guides or Sherpas to even attempt. Some smaller peaks can be ascended on their own. These are usually at altitudes below 13,123 feet.
You can hire guides and Sherpas on your own to get a trip together, although the price may not differ much and cause added headaches. Some places are easier than others. Katmandu, Nepal and Huaraz, Peru, where there are extensive climbing communities it may be quite easy to get a group together, along with guides and equipment in a relatively short amount of time.