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“Standing on the summit of Everest is like being just one step away from outer space,” says Bill Allen. “The Himalaya are spread out at your feet while the earth’s horizon curves around you and the sky above is dark blue. Looking up is like peering into the abyss.”

Bill Allen, the owner of guide service Mountain Trip, knows a thing or two about climbing the world’s highest peaks. He’s completed the “Seven Summits” (the challenge of climbing the highest mountain on every continent)—twice. His guide service leads expeditions to some of the world’s highest peaks—including Mt. Everest. Now 45, Allen splits his time between Ophir, Colorado and Alaska—guiding heli-skiing and backcountry touring trips in the San Juans during winter, and running day-to-day operations for Denali climbs during the summer. Here he lays out the basics for tackling the mighty behemoth that is Everest.

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