When people think of climbing a mountain, thoughts of the cost aren’t the first that comes to mind.
Most people consider the time, physical fitness, and equipment requirements before questioning the necessary fees. Unfortunately, the cost to climb climbs itself each year.
If you have ever wondered, “how much does it cost to climb Mount Everest?” you’ve come to the right place.
Below we have broken down the different variables that contribute to the final price.
How Much Should I Expect To Pay To Climb Mount Everest?
As of 2020, the average mountaineer will pay around $45,000 to climb Everest. This amount earns them a place on a commercial Everest team from Tibet or Nepal.
For a minimalist approach, you could pay around $20,000 — the high ended tallies in at $200,000.
If you want to pursue the lower price ranges, you’ll need extensive high-altitude experience. We’re talking about five miles above sea level, or 8,000 meters.
You’ll also need experience with solo-climbing, planning expeditions, and operating in the death zone.
The death zone is an altitude lacking enough available oxygen for humans to breathe.
Those who have died on Mount Everest were typically in the death zone, and going there inexperienced could be fatal.
For those willing to pay over $60,000, you can purchase a seat on a highly experienced team.
The Furtenbach team charges $60,900, and the US Alpenglow team charges $85,000.
For those who want a private climb option with a personal guide, you’ll have to pay over $100,000.
IMG charges $118,000, RMI charges $135,000, and Furtenbach charges $200,000.
The Furtenbach signature expedition includes a private guide, experienced Sherpas, pre-acclimation, oxygen tanks, nutrition guides, training plans, and more services to prepare you thoroughly for Mount Everest.
However, not all expensive tickets provide the most services. Make sure to check what they offer before booking your climb.
Services to consider are the number of Western guides, the number of Sherpas, how many oxygen bottles, dietary requests, tent size, communication equipment, and acclimation tents used before travel.
Factors That Affect Cost
When planning an Everest expedition, make sure you understand the cost of every decision you make.
One way to reduce the cost is by climbing the North end in Tibet rather than the South end.
A non-guided tour will also be cheaper, but you’ll need to spend a lot of time training to ensure you are thoroughly prepared.
Western guides cost more than local Sherpas, but your level of experience determines how much guidance you need.
Local companies in Nepal or Tibet charge less because they do not consider the price of a Western guide’s permit, salary, or trip.
Western companies often have a higher overhead cost, though many individual guides are self-employed and charge less for their services.
Depending on your experience climbing in death zones, you’ll probably need some bottled oxygen. Most mountaineers get a few bottles, but foregoing them will save you some money.
They cost about $465 each, and climbers usually use seven for a standard expedition.
Those who travel from the South end with a Western guide may spend about $90,000 for a standard trip.
You’ll be paying for the company’s reputation, the number of Sherpas, and base camp quality. Opting for a Nepalese company with a South end trip may only cost you $35,000.
Traveling from the less expensive North end costs about $45,000 to $60,000 for a Western company. Nepalese trips cost only slightly less, at $30,000 per person.
Since Nepalese trips cost significantly less than Western ones, you may have concern over the treatment of the Sherpas.
Maybe they aren’t paid enough, have less stringent safety standards, or have less training.
Not all Sherpas speak English, and communication is vital when climbing Everest. However, their wages, benefits, and safety standards shouldn’t cause worry.
Their salary is agreed upon universally, and the safety standards have improved over the years. Companies must provide life, medical, and helicopter rescue for all staff now.
The Nepali insurance agencies now cover the cost of a helicopter evacuation from base camp.
Nepal joined the International Federation of Mountain Guide Association (IFMGA), and now they can work with equal pay to tour guides from around the world and work globally.
With time, Sherpa-led tours’ price could increase, closing the price gap between Western and Nepalese companies.
Where Does the Money Go?
Now that you have an idea of how much does it cost to climb Mount Everest, you might be wondering where the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars go.
Below is a full breakdown of the cost to climb Everest for a person on a team of six people.
- Everest climbing permit from Nepal – $11,000
- Permit application fee – $600
- Nepalese liaison officer – $500
- Nepal tourist visa – $100
- Refundable waste fee – $650
- Personal climbing gear – $6,000
- Airfare to Nepal – $2,000
- Kathmandu hotel – $500
- Airfare to and from Lukla – $350
- Equipment transport from Lukla to base – $600
- Food and lodgings on trek to base – $350
- Food and fuel above base – $750
- Personal tent at base – $400
- Food at base – $2,500
- ER fee – $100
- Rope fixing fee – $750
- Oxygen tanks – $5,000
- Oxygen mask and regulator – $2,000
- Oxygen transport – $1,000
- Mountain tents – $3,000
- Load Sherpa – $3,000
- Sherpa cooks – $2,000
- Climbing Sherpa – $5,000
- Western guide – $6,000
- Mountain cleanup – $500
- Sumit bonuses – $1,200
- Trip insurance – $600
- Medical insurance – $400
- Spending money – $1,000
The base cost in this estimate is $55,850. Adding the optional fees brings it up to $57,850. Having more team members can lower the cost, and fewer can raise it.
Some prices vary depending on the number of Sherpas, oxygen tanks, time spent at base camp, the location you fly from, and the price of climbing gear.
The permit costs a maximum of $11,000 per climber for the pre-monsoon season in Nepal and $8,000 if you get it from Tibet.
You’re required to have a liaison officer who monitors the expeditions to ensure everyone has a permit and complies with the rules.
You’ll need help from Sherpas along the way. If you break your rope or ladder, the climbing Sherpa can fix it.
The Sherpa cooks prepare your food for you and transport it from base to where you are on the mountain. Load Sherpas help you carry your equipment.
A Sherpa can earn around $6,000 per expedition, while Western guides earn around $30,000. The pay for cooks and helpers depends on where they work.
Staff can earn money by performing “carries” to and from the base and the summit of food, equipment, and oxygen tanks.
You’ll have to pay a summit bonus as well to all the Sherpas that help you — the bonus price increases as you reach milestones in height.
The base can get pricey.
Between the tents, cooking equipment, climbing gear, generators, showers, toilets, communication equipment, heaters, flooring, fuel, flags, tables, mattresses, shovels, and chairs, you’ll be paying a lot.
More luxurious camps obviously cost more, but even simple ones don’t come cheap.
Unless you are highly experienced, it is not recommended to go for a barebones camp.
For those climbing Mount Everest for the first time, you’ll want some home comforts for the long voyage.
Is Climbing Mount Everest Worth the Cost?
If you are an experienced mountaineer who has climbed in high-altitude zones, you should consider tackling Everest.
Keep in mind that you will go at least a month without making money, and it costs more than some people’s salaries to afford a cheap expedition.
If climbing Everest will put you in a shaky financial situation, don’t do it. Climb some cheaper mountains until you save up for the big trip.
Successfully making it to the top of Mount Everest is the experience of a lifetime. For passionate mountaineers, it is well worth the cost.
However, only go once you’re well prepared, physically, financially, and mentally. Not everyone conquers Everest on their first try, especially if they’re unprepared.
Only go in if you are fully confident in your capabilities.
It costs a lot to climb Mount Everest. You’ll need a good deal of help and plenty of preparation to tackle the famous mountain safely.
Make sure to get in excellent mountain-climbing shape by climbing other high-altitude mountains, pre-acclimating yourself in special tents, and eating simple, clean foods. Don’t forget your mental health, either.
If you have the money and the skills necessary to make a successful expedition, go for it. Even if you don’t reach the top, it’s the experience of a lifetime, and something not many people have accomplished.
Climbing Mount Everest doesn’t have to seem like an impossible pipe dream as long as you take your time when preparing. It’s not a goal that should be rushed towards, and building an impressive mountaineering resume first will help you in the long-run.
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