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A professionally led expedition to the South Col Route of the world’s highest mountain.
Benegas Brothers Expeditions began guiding expeditions on Mount Everest in 1999. Along with our strong Sherpa team, we have proven ourselves to be the strongest, safest, and most respected guiding team on the mountain.
Every spring, we offer a full range of Himalayan opportunities. In 2018, we will run our Mount Everest South Side Summit Climb, and our really fun classic Everest Base Camp Trek, culminating with two nights of comfort at Base Camp!
We fill our trips, which gives us the luxury of screening our climbers carefully. We look for climbers who share our ethics: teamwork, shared responsibility, compassion, and fun!
Benegas Brothers Expeditions has long been a leader in mountain safety. We are known for our professional integrity and maintaining a strong safety ethic among our team. We believe it’s important for our support staff to be up to standard as well, so each spring you’ll see us training our Sherpas in crevasse rescue, mountain medicine, and first response. In fact, our training sessions have grown so popular that Sherpas from all across base camp come to us for training and safety skills.
With the experience of over a dozen summits and a strong and loyal staff of Sherpas, kitchen crew, and base camp support, climbing with Benegas Brothers Expeditions is an Everest expedition incomparable to any of the larger commercial operators. Our level of service is renowned, our base camp a true family experience, and our passion for the mountain unmatched.
As we prepare for 2018, we continue our tradition of leadership and attention to detail. We don’t cut corners. We conduct the absolute best program that we can, and you won’t be disappointed. For Everest climbers we are now offering pre-training for Everest with a day-10 course in Ecuador, and closer to home, on Mount Baker for 4 days.
There are innumerable books and articles published on the South Col route providing a surfeit of information, so we include here only a summary of the route. Base Camp is situated at 5,300 meters at the foot of the Khumbu Ice Fall. Above lies the famous constantly moving icefall, which needs to be fixed with ropes and ladders. A Sherpa team arranged by Sagarmatha National Park will equip the icefall for all teams to use.
Camp 1 is located at the top of the icefall at about 6,100 meters. The Western Cwm opens out in front of us with the South West Face of Everest and Lhotse coming completely into view for the first time. It is an easy but long walk up into the Western Cwm to Camp 2 winding our way around crevasses.
Camp 2 at 6,400 meters is on a patch of moraine under the imposing South West Face. This will be our Advanced Base Camp where members can stay for extended periods between rests at Base Camp.
Another gentle slope leads to the huge Lhotse face, an ice wall of about 30 – 40 degrees in angle. Rope will be fixed on this. Halfway up at about 7,400 meters we will place Camp 3.
Continuing up the Lhotse Face we pass the rocks of the Yellow Band then traverse left towards the South Col at just under 8000 meters where we place Camp 4.
Summit day follows the lower slopes of the South East Ridge climbing long snow slopes to reach the Balcony, a prominent feature on the route. Above this the route climbs the flank of the ridge to the South Summit, climbing occasional short rock steps. From the south summit the ridge is traversed to the foot of the Hillary Step. This famous obstacle must be overcome before the final gentle slope to the summit.
The Role of the Sherpa: on summit day Sherpas will be assigned to members to provide support and to carry additional oxygen for members.
The approach to Base Camp from Kathmandu is a time when team members can get to know one another and enjoy the comforts of the Khumbu region. An extensive network of high quality lodges means that it is now possible to trek all the way to Everest Base Camp without having to camp en route. The initial approach to Base Camp takes approximately ten days and allows us to acclimatize properly during the slow and gradual ascent. This walk up is extremely enjoyable and many of the most famous peaks of the Nepalese Himalaya are seen. After establishing Base Camp we will spend up to a further week static acclimatizing, during which the guides will review the procedures for climbing the ladders and ropes of the Khumbu Icefall.
This will also be a time when procedures for understanding and using the oxygen breathing apparatus will be explained and tested. The initial climb through the Khumbu Icefall to Camp 1 will be hard work. After the second visit to this camp it should be possible to move up to Camp 2 / ABC. Above Camp 2 the Lhotse Face rises up to the South Col. Midway up this huge face lies Camp 3 and all members will be required to sleep at Camp 3 and descend to Base Camp before a summit attempt will be permitted. Those who wish can descend at this time as far as Pheriche village at 4,300 meters and some may wish to go even lower. This descent allows the body to recover better than at the higher altitudes and after this period of rest we return to Base Camp to prepare for the summit attempt. Now suitably acclimatized we move through the camps in quick succession (weather permitting) and climb to Camp 4 at the South Col. Some members may wish to use supplemental oxygen for the ascent to the South Col.
Summit day starts at 9pm. The guides and Climbing Sherpas will lead out the route, climbing through the night on the easier lower part of the route. Members will be required to carry the oxygen cylinder in use, whilst Climbing Sherpas will carry two additional cylinders for members to change during the summit day.
The guides will nominate a ‘turn-around’ time and this will be strictly enforced.
Our guides are some of the strongest on the mountain, and their reputation is virtually unsurpassed amongst other guides, Sherpas, and climbing teams on Mount Everest. On the mountain, you’ll rest comfortably knowing you’ve got the safety, security, and professionalism of a world-class team. Our 2018 expedition will be lead by Willie OR Damian Benegas, the directors of Benegas Brothers Expeditions and veterans of Everest expeditions guiding there for over a decade. In addition to their reputation for first ascents around the planet as The North Face athletes, their success rate for guiding climbers up Mount Everest are legendary. Together, their ethic of guiding is not to climb with mega-sized, institutionalized expeditions, but to run specialty trips with personalized service tailored to individual needs.
In the spring of 2018, Benegas Brothers Expeditions will run their fourteenth expedition to Mount Everest. We’ll be offering a variety of trips, and the most ambitious will culminate in a summit attempt via the South Col.
In our expeditions, we bring together the best components of high altitude mountaineering. On a BBE expedition, you’ll benefit from our many years of experience, our world-class guides, and the most professional Sherpa team in the industry. We also work hard to utilize new technology and equipment advancements, including the latest weather forecasting facilities, safety equipment, and communications systems. We can confidently say that our expedition offers you the most respected staff, resources, food, and base camp support available.
Willie Benegas first stood on the summit of Mount Everest on May 12, 1999. Since then, he’s summitted a total of twelve times – the second most of any Westerner. Amongst the Everest community, Willie is known for his service on the mountain: fixing the route to the summit every year, performing multiple rescues of other teams above 8,000 meters, and supporting the Everest Cleaning Efforts, which encourages higher environmental standards amongst all climbers on one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Amongst the members of his expedition team, Willie is known for his energy and enthusiasm, his teaching skills, and the passion with which he builds his team into a group of strong and independent climbers. Whether Everest is your final goal or you’re hoping to pursue further high-altitude mountaineering, Willie will ensure that you return from the summit a stronger, more passionate climber than when you arrived.
Like his brother, Damian’s reputation for world-class climbing and guiding is virtually unmatched. He has made first ascents on alpine climbs around the world (including Nuptse, at 25,791 feet), guided on some of the world’s highest mountains, summited Everest five times, as well as Lhotse, and spent eighteen seasons on Aconcagua in Argentina. In addition to his passion for the mountains, Damian brings an acute attention to detail, which is clearly evident in the precision with which he organizes the logistics and communications of his expeditions. Most importantly, though, is the number of climbers who travel around the world for the chance to climb with Damian again, even after they’ve already stood with him at the summit of the highest mountain in the world.
Our Sherpa team is our Nepali family and can count dozens of Everest summits between them. Their knowledge and experience creates an atmosphere of cooperation and commitment to the expedition and its members, and our Sherpas are regarded as some of the strongest and most conscientious on the mountain. They feel a great sense of responsibility toward both their climbing team and the high mountain environment. Our reputation is so strong, in fact, that we’re proud to say that Sherpas from other expeditions work to pursue a future position with the Benegas Brothers Team.
Working closely with the team is Georgina Davenport, our Logistics and Base Camp Manager. She has been working with Damian and Willie on expeditions in Patagonia since 2008, where she previously lived and ran her own adventure travel company. This will be her fifth visit to Nepal, and her familiarity with our ‘family’, the Khumbu, as well as her passion for Nepal, adds a really personalized touch. She runs expedition logistics and base camp communications down to the finest detail, working closely with both our own Sherpa team and also all the other teams in Everest Base Camp to ensure the highest safety standards possible and maximize chances of a successful summit, with our weather forecasters, and with Raju Rai who runs our kitchen. (Have you ever had sushi at 17,500 feet? If you travel with us, you will!)
… Raju Rai has been working with Benegas Brothers Expeditions for many years, and he and his staff continue to spoil us with well-balanced and delicious daily meals that keep our camp healthy and energetic. He also works closely with Georgie to run communications between base camp and Climbing Sherpas on the upper mountain, with other Sherpa teams, and with other teams around base camp. His exceptional reputation is well-earned.
April 7 – Kathmandu Arrivals (Two nights Yak & Yeti Hotel included)
April 9 – Fly to Lukla
April 10 to April 17 – Trek to Base Camp
April 18 to May 4 – Establish camps and acclimatize
May 5 to May 12 – Rest Period
May 13 to May 26 – Summit Climb windows
May 27 to May 29 – Clean up and depart Base Camp; trek to Lukla / Namche Bazaar
May 30 to June 1 – Fly Lukla / Namche Bazaar to Kathmandu (One night Yak & Yeti Hotel included)
June 2 – Depart Kathmandu
Khumbu Himal, Nepal
April 7 – June 2 2018
$ 65,000 3 minimum
3:1 – 3 to 6 climbers with 1-2 western guides plus Sherpa guides support; 1:1 climber-to–Sherpa ratio
Multiple successful ascents of 6000 meters peaks. experience in cold-weather expeditions. Excellent physical condition; fundamental alpine skills; glacier climbing experience with and ability to perform cramponing and ice axe skills well; and a good understanding of glacier travel procedures including crevasse rescue
To Summit the Roof of the World!
Meanwhile, in an era where most Everest guiding companies focus on gigantic expeditions for maximum profit with huge numbers of clients, BBE’s focus is on small teams and creating a tight knit group.
As such your experience from arrival, to summit, to departure, will be TOTALLY different from what it will be with a large company. Small numbers allow us to focus on making every member of the team a better climber. This allows our team to be self-reliant and independent of all the other groups on the mountain. Your summit push is not going to revolve around the plans of tens of others, but at the most opportune moment for a successful and safe summit.
Our level of service is unmatched, making our time in base camp a fun, family-oriented, and positive experience as we ready ourselves for the ascent. Our team at Everest Base Camp is always small with a true family atmosphere, staffed by our Base Camp Manager, and our long-term kitchen crew.
We know we’re not the cheapest deal around, and we certainly don’t want to be. We spend more providing the best leaders, the best guides, equipment, logistics and safety measures – things that many lower-cost programs cannot afford and do NOT have. We don’t cut corners.
• BBE leaders are professionals, and are great teachers as well as strong climbers. All have done numerous high-altitude expeditions, including numerous expeditions in the Himalaya. Our clients enjoy the immense benefit of a core group that has climbed together extensively, producing a team that knows how to work well together. We do not think you will find any other Himalayan climbing or trekking programs that will be led or staffed by persons of the caliber we boast for Everest each and every season. We challenge you to try!
• BBE always complies with all local, state, federal, and international regulations for the countries in which we climb. This includes proper visas and climbing permits, full insurance and equipment for our employees and Sherpa support teams, and complete adherence to all environmental regulations. We take our business and responsibility as an employer seriously!
• BBE Sherpas are top-notch. We hire the same great Sherpas every year, we treat them with respect, we pay them well and they like working with us. Most of them have been on many climbs with us over the years and many of them have multiple Everest summits. Our enthusiastic cooks do a great job and our menus are the BEST in base camp. We also make sure our kitchen and base camp support staff is the best in the business, and well paid, way beyond normal Nepali standards. We take a huge responsibility towards looking after our local staff. It makes a difference!
• BBE Base Camp is fully stocked with double-walled wooden-floored dining tents, carpets and heaters, top notch food, propane heated hot and strong showers, individual Base Camp personal tents you can actually stand up in! Solar power at Base Camp quietly supports our satellite communications, allowing us to maintain excellent emergency contact capabilities and keep friends and family informed of our progress during the long weeks away from home. BBE posts regular internet dispatches all season. We have a generator for backup on the inevitable snowy/cloudy days which we never need, and as such unlimited 110v power for charging your electrical devices.
"Willie Benegas is the king on Everest's south side. He is extremely strong, experienced and he cares about you at all times. It is impossible not to feel happy and confident in Willie's team and I would without hesitation go anywhere in the world with him."
Successful Everest Summit in '07
Want something special? Filming? Want to add Lhoste?
We can organize this expedition on a ‘tailor-made’ private basis for groups of friends, families, clubs, charities or any other group. Depending on your mountaineering experience, you may want a BBE leader or go ‘self-led’ with the assistance of local guides. The cost of going private can be surprisingly reasonable, particularly if you take the self-led option. Please contact us to discuss the itinerary and your preferred dates. We will then send you a quote, with no obligation.