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      • March 19, 2016
        Guide: Seth Waterfall

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Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest. The tallest mountain in the world soars almost five and a half miles into the sky and pierces the jet stream with its iconic summit. Embarking on an expedition to Mt. Everest can be the pinnacle of a climbing career and deserves all of the personal support and guidance that RMI offers.


  • Join a small and personal climbing team with a 3:1 climber to guide ratio and a 1:1 climber to Sherpa ratio.
  • Enjoy the best Base Camp facilities available.
  • Take comfort in the comprehensive medical support available through our unlimited access to Everest's Base Camp clinic and highly trained guides.
  • Navigate the Khumbu Icefall, cross the Yellow Band, and ascend the Hillary Step with the guidance and partnership of RMI's experienced Everest guides.
  • Take part in an RMI Everest Expedition and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.

RMI's small, exclusive team is led by tenured RMI Guide and Everest veterans. RMI's guiding approach on Everest differs notably from many other guide services as we intentionally keep our team small. Instead of running a large expedition with many climbers, we focus our attention on leading a more personal climbing team, concentrating our resources on each individual to ensure the safest, most enjoyable, and most successful experience possible for each one of our climbers. RMI's Everest Expedition has one of the best climber-to-guide ratios on the mountain. This lower ratio provides our climbers with many benefits including:

  1. Providing the flexibility to tailor climbing agendas and acclimatization schedules to individual needs.
  2. Giving climbers consistent guidance from our experienced western guides throughout the climb.
  3. Allowing our climbers to build solid rapports with their guides and fellow team members; we share our meals around one table, discuss route and weather conditions together, and plan and approach the climb as a close-knit team.
  4. Superior Sherpa support.

Having a smaller team facilitates stronger team dynamics, better communication, individualized attention, helps avoid the fragmentation inherent to larger expeditions, and we believe creates the strongest and most enjoyable climbing team possible.

With over four decades of mountain guiding experience RMI has rightfully earned our standing as one of the most distinguished guide services in the world: we maintain strict standards of safety, climb with small ratios, offer an unparalleled level of service, provide you with the best, most experienced Mt. Everest guides, and have an infrastructure that is entirely geared toward your individual safety and success on Mt. Everest.


Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America's oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Denali and a leader in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our experienced guides are some of the best in the world, more than 40 of whom have reached the summit of Mt. Everest, some multiple times. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge necessary to create the best possible trips. We work hard to live up to our reputation as an industry leader.

Our guides on Everest are some of the best on the mountain and bring years of Himalayan experience to the expedition. Working closely with the team is Mark Tucker, our Base Camp Manager. Mark's incredible depth of experience, patience, wit, and humor make him one of the most respected leaders in Base Camp. In addition, we are fortunate to have very experienced Sherpa teams on the mountain as our partners in Nepal. Our relationships there are the key to our trip's success. Experience and local knowledge are invaluable in the mountains and RMI's Nepali Staff is some of the best around. The unparalleled support our team has throughout the climb is one of the major factors behind our success.

During our trek into Base Camp we stay exclusively in teahouses that have been hand picked by our guides for their quality, cleanliness, and service. At Base Camp we enjoy comfortable accommodations with personal sleeping tents, storage areas, shower facilities, private toilets, and excellent heated dining facilities. Solar power at Base Camp keeps us connected to home via high speed internet, charges personal computers and other electronic devices, and allows us to maintain excellent emergency contact with the outside world. We receive up to the minute information from a weather forecasting service for safer, more successful decision-making.

RMI provides excellent food at Base Camp and on the mountain, keeping our spirits elevated and health in order. Consequently our groups don't suffer the physical deterioration seen in many Everest teams. Our professional, experienced cooks maintain the highest standards of hygiene and our diverse menu is complemented by a constant supply of fresh vegetables as well as luxuries and "comfort foods" brought specially from the United States. Our exceptional focus on detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine passion of these adventures are what make our programs truly memorable.


Safety has always been RMI's top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. Our experienced team of guides and Sherpa focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety.

Our climber-to-guide ratio is 3:1, and our Sherpa-to-climber ratio is 1:1. This low ratio increases our margin of safety on the mountain and improves your chances of success.

Our camps are stocked with comprehensive medical kits and we have two Gamow bags on the mountain throughout the expedition. Our guides and staff are highly trained in emergency mountain medicine and work to maintain our strict standards of safety. When problems arise on the mountain, away from medical facilities, the level of training and experience RMI's guides have makes them some of the most sought after guides in the profession. As partners with the Himalayan Rescue Associate (HRA) we have unlimited access to their doctors and clinic at Base Camp ensuring that we have the best medical professionals at our side.

Careful planning and vigilant care are taken as we venture into high altitudes. Our well-planned use of climbing oxygen dramatically improves a climber's chance of success on Mt. Everest. Our supply of oxygen is well stocked and designed to meet any climber's anticipated, and unanticipated, needs.


Participants on our Mt. Everest Guided Expedition must have a solid understanding of mountaineering skills. We require that each team member have previous high altitude experience, such as McKinley, Aconcagua, Cho Oyu or other 7,000 - 8,000 meter peaks. Screening and final selection will be done on an individual basis after we have reviewed your climbing resume and our veteran Everest Guides have spoken with you directly.

As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT at (888) 89-CLIMB or info@rmiguides.com.

  • Upcoming Climbs

      • March 19, 2016 Guide: Seth Waterfall
  • Price
    74 days
    Level 5
Table of Contents

Why Climb Everest With RMI?

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. is one of America's most reputable and long-standing guide services with over four decades of mountain guiding experience. Simply stated, we excel at bringing climbers to the highest mountains of the world. Our commitment to leading extraordinary mountain adventures, our unparalleled logistical support, and our world-class leadership make our Mt. Everest Expedition unmatched.

RMI's Approach

  • Safety is RMI's number one priority and nothing trumps its importance.


  • The most experienced and renowned guides in the profession.
  • Our guides are well regarded climbers and mountaineering instructors. They are highly trained in technical rescue and in wilderness and mountain medicine.

Climbing Ratios

  • Small team ratios of 3:1 climber-to-guide and 1:1 climber-to-Sherpa.
  • Small team ratios facilitate stronger team dynamics, excellent communication, and individualized attention.


  • RMI is involved in every step of the planning, preparation, and packing of our expedition.
  • Our behind-the-scenes logistics are not left to others, ensuring that each and every detail of expedition planning is addressed and met.

Expedition Execution

  • Small ratios and extensive logistical support give us a high level of flexibility and the individual focus needed on the mountain, from acclimatization scheduling to individual food preferences.
  • We intentionally avoid locking our expedition into predetermined itineraries and plans, choosing instead to tailor our climb to the needs of our climbers and the realities of the mountain conditions.


  • With years of experience, our phenomenal Sherpa staff are among the most experienced and well regarded in the Himalaya. They each have dozens of Himalayan summits and offer superior attentive support for our expedition.
  • Our Sherpa pursue ongoing technical training between expeditions under internationally accredited guide training programs.
  • All of our Sherpas receive equipment stipends as well as First Ascent down suits for each expedition and have complete access to medical consultation and care on Everest.

Base Camp

  • We outfit a comprehensive and comfortable Base Camp on the mountain, including heated dining tents, hot showers, communications tent with re-charging equipment, private toilets, individual sleeping tents, full-time cooks and great food, as well as a selection of entertainment and games.
  • We address all of the necessities, as well as luxuries, to keep our climbers comfortable and happy - and ultimately strong and healthy - throughout the climb.


  • Dedicated professional cooks at Base Camp and Camp 2 (ABC) who prepare excellent, healthy meals.
  • We have well-stocked inventories that include hundreds of pounds of specialty food brought from the U.S., offering excellent variety and selection.
  • A flexible and diverse menu accommodates our differing tastes and changing appetites.

Base Camp Manager

  • A full time, dedicated, experienced Base Camp Manager supports our team throughout the entire climb.

On-Mountain Camps

  • Our mountain camps are well stocked with emergency supplies, and medical and rescue equipment.
  • A full-time cook staffs Camp 2.


  • Our guides are highly trained in medical and technical rescue and carry medical and rescue equipment with them at all times.
  • As partners with the Himalayan Rescue Association's (HRA) Everest Base Camp Clinic, our entire team of climbers, guides and Sherpa has unlimited access to the Clinic and consultation with their full-time doctors.

Weather Forecasts

  • We use a private weather forecasting service with Himalayan experience to keep us current with the latest trends and developments in weather patterns throughout the expedition.


  • All of our climbers, guides, and Sherpa are outfitted with personal radios.
  • We provide access to phone, email, and satellite communications at Base Camp.
  • We can help arrange personal cell phone, email, and satellite communications equipment as needed.

Expedition Dispatches

  • RMI posts daily expedition updates to our blog, including photos and audio dispatches, to help keep friends, family, and general followers up-to-date with the latest progress of the climb.

Environmental Impact

  • RMI has pioneered and championed Leave No Trace ethics on mountains all around the world and we hold ourselves to the same high standards on Mt. Everest.
  • We remove excess packaging before the trip to minimize waste and carry all of our trash and unused supplies off of the mountain.
  • We use biodegradable bags to ensure proper human waste disposal.
  • Our custom-built solar photovoltaic power system supplies 100% of our electric needs. We have not used the standard noisy generator on Everest in over two years!
  • Our efforts keep camps clean and quiet, preserve the Khumbu's water supplies, reduce our use of fossil fuels, and minimize our overall environmental impact.
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Day 1


Most climbers and trekkers fly to Kathmandu (KTM) via Thailand with a possible overnight in Bangkok. During your flight you will cross the International Date Line and travel time is approximately three days.


Day 2




Day 3

KATHMANDU  •  4,383'

Arrive in Kathmandu. We are transferred to our hotel for some rest and recovery before our evening reception and welcome dinner. Overnight in Kathmandu. (D)


Day 4

KATHMANDU  •  4,383'

Situated in a bowl shaped valley in central Nepal, Kathmandu is the largest city in Nepal and the cosmopolitan heart of the Himalayan Region. Today the itinerary focuses on a thorough team meeting / orientation and equipment check, fitting for oxygen masks, and any other last minute preparations.The rest of the day is spent enjoying the city and local cuisine. Overnight in Kathmandu. (B)


Day 5

PHAKDING  •  8,700'

Lukla (9,350') to Phakding (8,700'). Trekking time is approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Today we fly to Lukla, the village where our trek to Everest Base Camp begins. The airport in Lukla is the Tenzing Norgay Airport, and landing on the STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) runway is an experience in itself. It is usually very busy in Lukla as different expeditions are getting everything organized for the trek. From here on out, there are no more vehicles or roads, just a network of villages connected by footpaths. After we meet our Sherpa team we start trekking along the Dudh Kosi River as we travel to Phakding. We spend the night at a small teahouse on the bank of the milky-blue Dudh Kosi. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)


Day 6

NAMCHE BAZAAR  •  11,300'

Phakding (8,700') to Namche Bazaar (11,300'). Trekking time is 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

Hike to historic Namche Bazaar, the gateway to the high Himalayas and the Sherpa community's central meeting place. Namche is where lowland porters bearing supplies meet the highland Sherpa and Tibetan people who have journeyed over high passes from many miles away to trade food and supplies for their home or village. Namche's busy shops, delicious bakeries, and jovial feel are a welcome sight after making the long climb up from the valley floor below. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)


Day 7

NAMCHE BAZAAR  •  11,300'

Today is an acclimatization day in Namche. We wander the narrow, stone-lined streets of Namche, visiting the village's small museums, monastery, stupas, and stop in for a treat at one of the cafes (known locally as bakeries). There are also well-stocked shops to meet any last minute needs. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)


Day 8

NAMCHE BAZAAR  •  11,300'

We build upon our acclimatization by going for a short hike to the surrounding villages of Khunde and Khumjung to visit the historic Hillary School and Hillary Hospital. Our hike takes us along the more remote paths between the villages, offering glimpses of the peaks higher up the valley, before returning us to Namche for the evening. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)


Day 9

DEBOCHE  •  12,325'

Namche Bazaar (11,300') to Deboche (12,325'). Trekking time is approximately 4 to 5 hours.

We leave Namche and climb up the valley to Tengboche, the largest Sherpa monastery in the Khumbu area. From the monastery's front steps we have excellent views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam. We descend from the ridge where the monastery is located into the quiet forest of fir and rhododendron forests below that surround our teahouse at Deboche. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)


Day 10

DEBOCHE  •  12,325'

This is an acclimatization day and an opportunity to explore the Deboche area. We make the short walk back to the Tengboche Monastery to wander its grounds and sit in on the monks' daily prayers. There are many cozy spots amongst the trees to relax in the sun and read, making Deboche a favorite resting place for climbers preparing for their summit bids later in the spring. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)


Day 11

PHERICHE  •  13,950'

We hike to Pheriche via the small village of Pangboche. We follow the Imja River which flows directly east of the village to Pangboche, a large Sherpa village at the foot of Ama Dablam. In Pangboche we visit Lama Geshe, a renowned spiritual leader of the area, to receive a blessing for our travels in the mountains before continuing along the river to Pheriche. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)

Day 12

PHERICHE  •  13,950'

We stay another night in Pheriche to continue our acclimatization. We will visit the clinic of the Himalayan Rescue Association and take a day hike up the Imja Khola valley toward Chukkung, offering spectacular views of Ama Dablam's seldom seen north side. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)


Day 13

LOBUCHE  •  16,175'

Pheriche (13,950') to Lobuche (16,175'). Trekking time is approximately 4 to 5 hours.

We ascend to the village of Lobuche, tucked below Lobuche Peak. Our trail takes us past the memorials for climbers made up of dozens of large rock stupas and strings of prayer flags at the top of Thokla Pass. Along the way we leave the last of the large vegetation and enter into the alpine zone and our trail may have a covering of snow from here. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)


Day 14

LOBUCHE  •  16,175'

During our acclimatization day we take a short walk to visit the Italian Research Pyramid that conducts altitude research and helps track the current weather conditions on Mt. Everest. There is ample time to play cards, read, and take it easy - a little rest and relaxation before moving up to 17,000'. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)


Day 15


Lobuche (16,175') to Everest BC (17,575'). Trekking time is approximately 5 to 6 hours.

We complete the last stretch of our trek, leaving the dirt and grasses of the mountainous valley and setting out across the ice and rock of the Khumbu Glacier into Everest Base Camp. We move into our tents and home fore the upcoming weeks at the RMI Everest Expedition's Camp, admiring the stunning panorama of peaks surrounding us. Overnight in tents. (B, L, D)




Once at Everest Base Camp the itinerary can vary greatly, this is only an outline of the expedition's movements. If weather and conditions allow for all team members to summit earlier, then the program schedule will be moved accordingly. Similarly, if the summit attempt is delayed we will arrange for extra days.

Day 16 to Completion


Upon arriving at Base Camp several days will be spent resting and acclimatizing with short day hikes to several spectacular viewpoints around the area such as Kala Patar and Pumori Camp 1. We will use the giant pressure ridges of ice around Base Camp to practice our climbing techniques - becoming comfortable on fixed lines, steep, icy slopes, and ladder crossings. Within a few days of our arrival at Base Camp we will also have our Puja Ceremony, a deeply meaningful and very exciting Buddhist ceremony led by a local lama before the start of any climbing expedition.

With our bodies acclimating to Base Camp, our Puja ceremony completed, and our training accomplished, we begin our acclimatization rounds on the mountain. Over the next weeks we will slowly work our way up the mountain, acclimatizing to higher and higher elevations and becoming familiar and comfortable with the terrain. Our first efforts will be short trips into the Khumbu Icefall, reaching Camp 1 at almost 20,000' where we will spend a few nights. We will then push up to Camp 2, at the head of the Western Cwm at over 21,000' where additional nights make our bodies stronger in the thin air. On our next round our goal is Camp 3, perched at 23,750' on the Lhotse Face. There, we will perfect our climbing with fixed lines and familiarize ourselves with our oxygen systems. Finally, after resting back in Base Camp we will embark on our summit push, climbing to Camp 4 at 26,000' on the South Col. From the South Col we will climb up the Triangular Face to the Balcony, over the South Summit, up the Hillary Step, and to the top of the world!

The number of days this will take our team will vary due to weather, acclimatization, team strength, the number of acclimatization rounds we make, and other circumstances that will affect our progress. Our guides will use their vast mountain experience, knowledge, and decision-making abilities to maximize each climber's chance of reaching the summit of Mt. Everest.


PHERICHE  •  13,950'

Everest Base Camp (17,775') to Pheriche (13,950'). Trekking time is approximately 5 to 6 hours.

We leave Base Camp and trek back along the Khumbu Glacier down to our lodge in Pheriche for some "thick" air and a good night's sleep. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)


NAMCHE BAZAAR  •  11,300'

Pheriche (13,950') to Namche Bazaar (11,300'). Trekking time is approximately 6 to 8 hours.

The downhill trek along the river allows for breathtaking photos of Ama Dablam as it towers ominously above us. As we descend the smells of the pine forests and blooming rhododendrons overwhelm the senses after so many days up high. In Namche we treat ourselves to much deserved yak steaks, beer, and pastries. After Everest Base Camp, the narrow streets of Namche feel like a big city! Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)



LUKLA  •  9,350'

Namche Bazaar (11,300') to Lukla (9,350'). Trekking time is approximately 5 - 7 hours.

Our last day on the trail. We hike down from Namche to Lukla, crossing the eleven swaying suspension bridges over the Dudh Kosi and re-entering the fertile valleys of the lower Khumbu. Overnight in lodge. (B, L, D)



KATHMANDU  •  4,383'

The scenic morning flight back to Kathmandu gives us one last chance to say farewell to the mountains. The afternoon in Kathmandu is open for exploring or just relaxing. (B)




This day is available in case of delayed flights in or out of Lukla or if weather postpones our trip at any point.




Depart Kathmandu. Most climbers and trekkers fly from Kathmandu to Bangkok and then onto the United States. An overnight in Bangkok is standard for most flights.




Flight: Bangkok to USA. Arrive home.



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What You’ll Need

The following is a list of required equipment. We may encounter a variety of weather conditions throughout our climb, including rain, wind, snow, sleet and extreme heat. Skimping on equipment can jeopardize your safety and success, so we want you to think carefully about any changes or substitutions you are considering. If you have questions regarding the equipment needed for your upcoming climb, give us a call and speak directly to one of our experienced guides.

Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering. This offer excludes sale items.

  • RMI Climbers Get 10% Off
    All New Equipment At
    Whittaker Mountaineering

Shop Your Equipment List // Rent new equipment for your climb

Equipment List


      An 80 - 90 liter bag. One duffel bag will be used for your second checked bag for the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. The second bag is needed to store gear in Kathmandu.

    • ICE AXE

      The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5'8", use a 65 cm axe; 5'8" to 6'2", use a 70 cm axe; and taller, use a 75 cm axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground.


      The 12-point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. We highly recommend anti-bot plates to prevent snow from balling up underfoot.


      A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well. If you rent a transceiver, one set of new batteries will be provided.


      For traveling on fixed ropes. Most people prefer an ascender designed for their weak hand, leaving their strong hand free to hold their ice axe. For example, a right-handed person would use a left-handed ascender.


      You will need protective sunglasses, either dark-lensed with side shields or full wrap-around frames. Almost all sunglasses block UV-A, UV-B and infrared rays adequately. Pay attention to the visible light transmission. The darkest lenses (glacier glasses) only allow approx. 6% visible light to get through, while lighter lenses (driving glasses) let in as much as 20+ %. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the wearer’s pupils through the lenses, they are too light for sun protection at altitude.


      Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.


      Bring two headlamps for the Expedition. The second is for use around camp and to serve as a backup. Be sure to begin the program with fresh batteries.

    • Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.


      Medium weight insulated gloves for climbing and working around camp. These should be both durable and dexterous enough to allow you to perform activities like setting up or taking down tents while wearing them.

    • We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.

    • We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.


      A pair of jeans or cotton pants. Great for wearing around camp or teahouses.


      The function of footwear is of crucial importance. Select a brand's "top of the line" model and it should be sufficient. The boot needs to be roomy enough to allow for good circulation. Anticipate a sock combination when sizing them (single sock, liner and sock, or two heavy socks on each foot). Wear the boots as often as possible before the climb, to determine proper fit, comfort and performance.


      These are not necessary with all-in-one boot / gaiter models. Expedition overboots add significant warmth, especially at high altitude and need to be compatible with the style of crampons used.


      A knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots, will be needed for protection from snow, mud, and catching your crampons on loose clothing. These are not necessary with all-in-one boot / gaiter models.


      We recommend small tubes of SPF 15 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

    • MEALS

      See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.


      Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required. Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content and BPA-Free are recommended.


      Chlorine Dioxide water purification drops.


      We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.


      For avalanche transceiver.


      For your duffel bags. Must be TSA approved.

    • CAMERA
    • SHORTS
    • SHIRTS

      For hotel dinners and while traveling.


      Pee bottle should be 1 to 1 1/2 quart size.


      Broad spectrum antibiotics for Traveler's Diarrhea.


      Antibiotics for upper respiratory infection.

    • TYLENOL #3

      Tylenol 3 for pain


      For Altitude Illness

    • iPOD

      A small solar panel is a great way to charge your iPod or camera.


      Valid for six months beyond your return date.


      The first two pages of your passport.

    • Purchase travel insurance.

    • Purchase airplane tickets.

    • Reserve rental equipment.

    • Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!

Provided Equipment

RMI provides the following equipment for your program: group and personal tents, stoves, group cooking equipment, fuel, upper mountain community sleeping bags and pads, climbing ropes, climbing anchors, fixed ropes, shovels, route wands, radios for on-mountain communication, and comprehensive first aid and repair kits.

Six bottles of climbing oxygen will be provided. Additional bottles are available upon request.

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