Climbing Mt. Everest is without a doubt one of the most demanding undertakings in all of mountaineering. It requires months – and sometimes years – of training. It takes weeks of preparation before even traveling to the Himalaya, and once there it requires upwards of another two months to actually complete the expedition. Climbers have to put their lives on hold, and often sacrifice relationships and vast amounts of personal time in pursuit of a potential summit of the tallest mountain on the planet. Of course, there is a steep monetary cost as well, with that price continuing to increase on a yearly basis.
Each spring, mountaineer Alan Arnette diligently reports on all of the action that unfolds on Everest. He closely tracks the movement of teams climbing on both the North and South Sides of the mountain, and writes regular updates on events as they transpire in the Himalaya. His website is one of the most popular places on the Internet for Everest junkies, and Alan’s accumulated knowledge from four expeditions to the mountain provides very insightful commentary for readers. One of his most-read posts each year is the annual look at the costs of climbing the mountain. Arnette does an excellent job of breaking down all of the options and explains exactly what climbers get for their money. Earlier this week the 2014 edition of that post was published online, detailing some changes for the spring season ahead, when the price of an expedition will range from between $30,000 and $100,000.
The quality of services offered to climbers accounts for the vast difference in the range of those prices. On the lower end of the spectrum, mountaineers receive a level of support that usually includes services in Base Camp, and perhaps even further up the slope, but little beyond that. Sometimes those cut-rate expeditions don’t even include bottled oxygen, tacking that on as an additional cost should the climbers request it. On the high end of the spectrum is a full service expedition that typically includes personal Sherpas assigned to each climber, western guides, and a surprisingly comfortable Base Camp experience that includes great food, a communal tent complete with a home theater system, and even satellite Internet.
Alan goes into far more detail on the options that are available, weighing the pros and cons for the various choices. He also lists the top guide services on Everest, sharing their pricing, previous summit success rate, and more. If you’ve ever considered attempting such a climb, or just have a curiosity about the breakdown of the cost of an expedition, this will certainly be an eye-opening read.
Alan notes that while high end expeditions remain largely unchanged in pricing, the lower end has creeped up in costs this year. Like everywhere else, the costs of doing business on Everest continues to increase on a yearly basis, but the bigger guide services are finding ways to absorb those costs in an attempt to keep their pricing structure lower. The smaller companies are having a harder time doing that however, which is causing the “cheap” climbs to rise in price. Of course, that begs the question – do you really want to go cheap on the world’s tallest mountain?