How Much Does It Cost To Climb Mount Everest
Mt Everest is the tallest peak in the world standing at 29,029 feet above the ground. Every avid mountaineer has a wish to get at the peak someday. And every spring, thousands of climbers will arrive at the mountain all hoping to get to the top. But did you know getting to the peak doesn’t come cheap? Neither is it easy! To get to the peak of Mount Everest, you will need 2 months which may cost you $30,000-$85,000.
Many climbers will sign on a guide service that offers support through the entire tour. These professional tour operators will provide climbers with food, fuel and any other items that are required for the 6-8 weeks spend on the mountain. The tour operators also help with getting climbing permits, offering bottled oxygen for the summit push and hiring guides and porters and so much more. Since there are numerous operators, some may try to stand out from the competition by offering luxuries such as great food, extra Sherpa guides or internet while at the base camp.
So exactly how will spend all that money? Here is an estimate of the costs of climbing Mount Everest.
Climbing Permits and Insurance
You will first have to obtain a permit from the Nepal or Tibet government before you even set your foot on Mount Everest. The climbing permit is $11,000 per climber if coming from Nepal and $7,000 if coming from Tibet. The permit at Nepal just allows permission to climb while in Alaska for Denali or in Argentina for Aconcagua, the $365 or $800 permit, respectively, also caters for helicopter evacuation, cleaning the mountain, offering mountaineering information, taking care of high altitude ranger camps, and employing temporary staff.
There are some hidden costs when getting your permit from Nepal. You will be required to use a local company to sort out your permit at an extra cost of $2,500 for the team and a refundable deposit for removal of trash and human waste of $4,000 for the liaison office and the team.
Majority of guide companies will need at least evacuation and medical insurance. It’s also wise to add trip cancellation to the policy. In case the Everest season ends early, if you have trip cancellation policy, you will be reimbursed 100% of your trip expenses. The American Alpine Club provides $5,000 evacuation coverage via Global rescue. However, it’s important to adhere to their rules or you will not be covered. Just one mistake can cost you all your coverage benefits.
Traveling to base camp
Getting to the base camp on Mount Everest costs money and time. You will need to hire yaks and porters to help you carry your gear on the hike that takes a week. You will also need to eat and sleep in tea houses on your way. This may cost you up to $4,000 for the week long trek to the base camp.
Will I need a guide on the Everest?
The simple answer is yes. You will need a guide. In Nepal, lots of people will pose as guides, but there are three major categories for guided climbs: Sherpa supported, Sherpa guided and western guided commercial expedition. All the above have different costs and benefits. Here are the details:
Sherpa Supported Expedition
For $30,000, you can climb Everest on a Sherpa supported expedition on the southern side. This is where a company takes care of all the logistics: group gear, food, transportation and Sherpa support. However, there are no traditional western guides or even in some cases, lead Sherpa guide. These Sherpas may or may not fluently speak in English and often will follow your lead.
A Sherpa may climb with you only on summit night, but you will likely be on your own with teammates you have met on the trek for the rest of the acclimatization process which includes cooking at the high camps. In most cases, you will find yourself climbing with a Sherpa or even alone.
Sherpa Guided Expedition
International Mountain Guide’s (IMG) is a Sherpa guided hike that usually has skilled Sherpa steer climbers through the route. For this, you will have to pay $44,000. Often, they depend on a Sirdar (highly knowledgeable Sherpa) to make the final decisions such as when to go towards the summit or when to turn-back.
A difference in this approach is to get a personal Sherpa. These Sherpas are trained exceptionally well on how to deal with western clients. They have excellent English skills. This way, you will never climb alone.
Although they will not carry your luggage, they may help offload some items occasionally. They will be exclusively with you on your summit night even if you turn back before the summit. You will have to pay an extra $5,000 to $7,000 for personal Sherpa plus another 5% to 20% in tips and bonuses.
What are the extra benefits of hiring a western guide?
Western guided tours are full service trips and they are best if you are climbing Mount Everest for the first time or if you are looking for more support. In terms of cost, they range from $55,000 to $85,000. This usually includes all the services of a Sherpa guided climb in addition to sharing one or more western guides. If you want a personal western guide, you will have to pay $100,000, plus tips and bonuses.
The best thing about this method is that you will be climbing next to a western guide who in most cases has been to Everest summit several times. There’s never a language barrier and the guide makes all the decisions on emergencies, turnaround times and weather. Since this is a high end expedition, you will enjoy great food and open bars.
Most Everest climbers will need extra oxygen as they head to the summit. Averagely, they will use about 5 bottles to get to the top. Each bottle of oxygen is $550. They will also require oxygen masks and regulators with each costing about $500. All this may add up to $3,700.
There are several other expenses that accumulate quite fast. These include travel costs to Kathmandu, immunizations, tips for cooks and Sherpas and visas. You may need an extra $10,000 for such. Although this expenses may vary widely, they all add up to the price of the entire climb.
Majority of climbers will need to buy extra high altitude gear for climbing which may include a sleeping bag, down suit, boots and other equipment. This may cost about $7,000.
From the above, clearly getting to the peak of Everest is not cheap, but still thousands of people what to do it every year. This is evidence that people love the outdoors and would sacrifice so much to get to the top of Mount Everest.