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Squaw Valley guide summits Everest, Cho Oyu in 23 days
SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. (KOLO) Squaw Valley’s Adrian Ballinger has grown accustomed to conquering Mount Everest, making it to the summit eight times already.
“We certainly have hairy moments most years,” admitted Ballinger. “This year actually was one of my most challenging as a guide.”
It’s due to both a setback and a challenge that’s unthinkable to most people in the world.
“We wanted to see how fast we could actually climb in Tibet, and we decided why climb one mountain, when so much of the work that goes into climbing one mountain if you’re strong enough, can utilize the same climatization to try a second.”
So he, four others, and five sherpas set out to try to hit the summit Mount Everest and Cho Oyu in back-to-back climbs.
“A little above 28 thousand feet, our oxygen system started to fail,” added Ballinger. “It was difficult to get everyone off alive.”
They were just about an hour from the finish line; instead having to turn back. What’s believed to be a record could have been even quicker.
“So that 23 days actually included a failed summit bid,” lamented Ballinger. “We should have been done in 17 days.”
You heard that right. It only took the group 23 days total to climb both Everest and Cho Oyu. Everest typically takes 70 days by itself; with Cho Oyu usually a 45-day trek. They used special hypoxic tents to help their bodies acclimate to the high altitude, shaving off several weeks of natural acclimation.
“One of the main things we took out was any recovery days,” added Ballinger. “We just put day after day after day of climbing together.”
The ultimate goal is to streamline the time it takes for people to experience conquering Everest.
“We really want to prove it’s possible to climb Mount Everest, the tallest peak in the world, in less than two weeks.”
Ballinger’s Alpenglow Expeditions is based out of Squaw Valley. They offer a wide range of activities, from the most extreme athletes in the world to weekend warriors.
“Even here in Tahoe, we have programs for the very experienced climber; things like self-rescue courses and how to lead your own climbs. All the way down to half-day family rock-climbing,” added Ballinger. “Plus back-country skiing in the winter.”
People interested in outdoor adventures are invited to go to https://alpenglowexpeditions.com.