As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Mount Everest has been a matter of great interest to mountain climbers and adventurers for nearly a century. In 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay proved that reaching the peak could be done, but it remains to this day a dangerous and death-defying undertaking. And an expensive one. Depending on the package, climbing Mount Everest can cost on average anywhere between $35,000 and $65,000.
Mount Everest is a part of the Himalayas, a mountain range located on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Chomolungma, its most common Tibetan name, means “Goddess Mother of the World.”
From summit to sea level, Mount Everest is approximately 29,000 feet, making it the highest mountain on Earth. While this honor is not contested, experts do dispute exactly how high it measures as variations in snow and other ever-changing factors impact the final number.
Climbing Mount Everest is not a cheap endeavor. Most people who purchase western commercial packages will pay approximately $65,000. It is far less expensive to hire a local Nepali Sherpa to lead the expedition, but it will still cost anywhere around $35,000.
Depending on the desired comfort and ease of experience, prices can be significantly higher than $65,000. For example, Seven Summit Treks charges $130,000 per person for one of their luxury bundles. Such a package includes a stay in a five-star Kathmandu hotel, a bakery and bar at base camp, a private shower and toilet, and a personal photographer. And yes, it comes with unlimited tea and coffee.
For many thrill-seekers, prices are so steep they try to get sponsored for the climb. Other hidden costs include gear. While it might not seem like much given the price already, suits, sleeping bags, backpack, and an ice axe can cost up to $8,000 alone.
Distribution of Money
Just as many countries rely on tourism to feed their economy, Nepal is largely supported by Mount Everest expeditions. The government earns around $3.25 million from climbers every season. That evens out to approximately $11,000 per person.
Sherpas get paid, but considering their efforts, it is quite a small sum. They earn anywhere between $3,500 and $5,000 per ascent. That might sound like a lot, but the season is only three months long and this money has to last until the following year. For comparison, a western guide can earn up to $20,000 per climb.
The Dangers of Everest
Climbing Mount Everest is more popular than ever. A record-breaking 381 people were granted permits to climb in 2019. However, because of this high number, it is also more dangerous than ever. Overcrowding creates bottlenecking and long wait times in the mountain’s “death zone” where there is very little oxygen. In just a single week, eleven people died. It is costly to climb Everest, but be warned, not all costs are financial.