Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, stretching up to a height of 8,848 meters (29,029 ft).
For many climbers, it’s a lifelong dream to ascend its slope. However, climbing Mount Everest isn’t easy nor cheap. It’s definitely no small feat to make it to the top. Some would argue Mt. Everest is the most expensive destination in the world, but climbing any mountain over 8,000 feet will always be an expensive undertaking.
But how much does it cost to climb Mount Everest? That’s exactly what we will be exploring in this article.
The overall price consists of 4 major components: travel, permits/insurance, gear, and guides.
The first component that determines how much it costs to climb Mount Everest is how far you are traveling. The cost of travel will depend on the country and city where your journey begins, how long you stay in each stop, and how many legs there are in your trip. Air travel to Nepal (Kathmandu) can cost anywhere from $500 to $5000, depending on where you travel from.
After arrival in Kathmandu, you will need to travel to Lukla, Namche or Lhasa from where your journey to base camp starts. This can be bus and a few days trekking, or just by airplane. Either way will set you back a few $100.
Not only the airfare determines the travel costs, you also need to account for the costs involved with getting from the arrival airport to Everest Base Camp (EBC) and transporting all your gear.
Besides, you also have to keep in mind the VISA, immunizations, food and hotel accomodation.
Overall, you should expect anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 in travel costs from where you live to the Mt. Everest Base Camp.
The second component is the permit cost.
The permits in Nepal to climb Mount Everest cost a whopping $11,000 as of 2018. Nepal also requires using a local company to organize your permit, a refundable trash deposit ánd a Liaison Officer. These totals about $9,500, and that’s before the $11,000 per person climbing permit. So before you hire guides, yaks food or gear you must come up with almost $20,000 in Nepal..
Since 2013, Nepal also requires every climber to hire a local Sherpa guide.
Climbing Mount Everest from the Chinese side now costs between $15,800 and 18,000 per person for a team permit of 4 or more. This price includes transportation from the entry point in China to base camp, hotels, liaison officer, trash fee, five yaks in and four yaks out per member. There is an extra charge of $200 per day per person for time spent in Lhasa.
If you want to bring a Nepali Sherpa to climb with you in Tibet, budget an additional $4,500 for each Sherpa’s “work permit” plus their salary of $5,000.
Another important factor here is insurance. Most guide companies on the Nepal side will require at least evacuation insurance and most require medical coverage. One of the best investments you can make is to add trip cancellation to the policy. In both 2014 and 2015 when the Everest season ended early, those with trip cancellation/interruption coverage had 100% of their trip expenses reimbursed.
To summarize, climbing permits will total about $20,000 to $26,000. Depending on the specific policies you are taking, insurance will set you back between $100 and $3000.
Some of the gear you need include supplemental oxygen (97% of Everest climbers use this), including bottles, mask and regulator. This will run about $4,500.
You will also need food for the entire way up, for which you should budget about $800 per person.
And course, there are the boots, suit, clothing layers, gloves, sleeping bag, tent and more. If you buy new quality gear, this will set you back about $7,000. Of course, you can also find some decent second-hand gear to save a bit on costs.
Overall, you need to account for about $10,000 to $30,000 in gear, depending on the specific gear you are carrying and their quality.
The final component that determines the overall cost of your Mt. Everest summit are the guides you hire for help and logistics. When you hire a guide company, either local (Sherpa) or Western, they help you with all aspects of the climb, including local transportation, permits and gear.
In the table below, you can see a concise overview of some of the actual guide prices in 2021, compared to 2020.
Mt. Everest Guide Service Prices
|Nepal 2020||Nepal 2021||Tibet 2020||Tibet 2021|
|Nepali Guide Service||$38,000||$44,500||$41,000||$42,500|
|Foreign Guide Service with Sherpa Guide||$44,500||$46,000|
|Foreign Guide Service with Western Guide||$69,000||$74,000||$62,700||$74,200|
The ultimate goal of any climber is to make it all the way up Mount Everest and see the breathtaking view from its peak. However, it’s definitely not an easy feat, nor does it come cheap. Anyone who has climbed a mountain over 8,000 feet knows that this type of expedition isn’t for the faint-hearted or those without deep pockets–and climbing Mt. Everest is no exception.
Taking all of the above costs into account, you should be prepared to spend anywhere between $45,000 and $100,000 for your Mount Everest summit (or attempt). However, this won’t guarantee you reach the top, as the investment is not just monetary, but also physically and mentally.
This article is based on Alan Arnette’s extensive guide to climbing Mt. Everest. Alan submitted Mt. Everest in 2011. You can read a much more detailed version on his website.