How much does it cost to climb Everest?

An Everest expedition does not come cheap.  With a host of commercial operators arranging  expeditions from the North and the South side’s of Everest these days, choosing which operator to work with can be a difficult decision.

You only need to spend 15 minutes on Google to find some of these operators and see the huge price differential, with some operators charging around US$20 – 30,000, and others as much as US$70 -80,000. 

So why the big difference?  Well, choosing an operator is basically like choosing from a menu.  You have a number of options which you need to consider depending on such factors as:

–          How much money do you have?

–          How much climbing experience do you have?

–          How much support on the mountain do you want?

–          Do you want to be guided or do you prefer to climb independently using the services of operators for base camp support only?

–          How much comfort do you want on the mountain? E.g. internet/heating/showers at basecamp etc etc…

I contacted three operators before settling on the one I will be working with.  Initially upon contacting an operator they will ask you a series of questions to gauge your experience levels and what kind of climber you are.  The less experience you have, the more support you need on the mountain and the more expensive your trip will be.  The options vary widely between fully supported expeditions with 1:1 client to guide ratio, where all climbers need to do is follow their guide without needing to do any expedition ‘work’ e.g load carrying, cooking, decision making etc.. to bare bones expeditions where climbers are given basecamp support only and left to themselves to climb the mountain unsupported.   

The normal route from the South side of Everest in Nepal is traditionally more expensive than the North Side.  This is mainly due to the fact that the Nepalese charge more for peak fee’s than the Chinese do from the North. 

I have chosen to climb with a non-guided, commercially organized and lead expedition.  I do not want or like to climb guided, so this is the best compromise that I could find, where I can retain some independence and still have the support of climbing with a team of around 6 – 7 other climbers and a number of Sherpa’s supporting.  Add in the cost of airfare’s, equipment, training and preparation costs, and my total budget comes out to close to US$ 50,000.

Of the 30+ mountains that I have climbed in the past – almost all of them I have climbed independently and therefore very cheaply.  The most money I can ever remember paying for a climb (barring airfare’s) was around $700 dollars, and this was in Argentina on Aconcagua where I hired a mule to carry my pack 30km in basecamp and the peak fee’s to climb the mountain.  A typical climbing trip to my regular climbing ground – the Southern Alps in New Zealand, would typically cost a few hundred dollars, with the highest expense being the occasional helicopter flight in or out of the mountains.  This jumping to US$50,000 for Everest is a real shock to my system!

The good news is that I  have so far managed to raise around US$20,000 through generous support of expedition sponsors Fitness First, Balanced Living, UFIT, thePRelement, 1-Altitude and Everest Motivation.  There is obviously a lot of work to do to raise the remaining US$30,000!

The PR campaign for the expedition is coming along well with a great 4 page spread in EXPAT LIVING published last week, a new ESPN video blog coming out this week and more EXPAT Living to come in the following weeks also.

I am happy to report that training is going very well.  I am getting stronger week by week in the gym, my times for my stair sessions are getting faster and I am about to start longer endurance training sessions this week.  Attached are some photo’s taken by Danon Gabriel The from last week’s training activities.

Stair sessions in Bukit Timah. Photo: Danon Gabriel The 2010

Trail running in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Photo: Danon Gabriel The 2010

Rockclimbing at Dairy Farm Quarry. Photo: Danon Gabriel The 2010


Gym training with UFIT instructor Darren Blakeley. Photo: Danon Gabriel The 2010

Gym training with UFIT instructor Darren Blakeley. Photo: Danon Gabriel The 2010


Posted on November 14, 2010, in Everest 2011. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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