But he has gained a reputation (and quite a lot of criticism) for his ‘flash’ mountaineering style. This season he bested his own record by taking 17 clients from Europe, USA, and other places of the world up the mountain in just 16 days after acclimatising in the Alps in special hypoxic tents with depleted oxygen before even arriving in Nepal.
He denies dragging clients with little experience up the mountain on fixed ropes, and providing them high flow bottled oxygen. Furtenbach admits his climbers use up to 8 litres of oxygen per minute, but only on technical sections at higher altitudes so as to avoid bottlenecks.
Besides Mt Everest, Furtenbach also works with Nepali guides on Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and Annapurna, among others. As a foreign expedition operator, he said having good local partners has been the key to his success.
“I am still working with my Sherpa partners from 22 years ago, connection with good people is really important,” said Furtenbach, but added that the bureaucracy and over-regulation by the government was discouraging foreign expeditions.
Furtenbach charges a steep €95,000 to get his clients to the top of Everest, and has also been criticised for the lavish accommodations. But he says he is just making sure that those who pay him to get to the summit are safe and taken care of.