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It Costs At Least $30,000 to Climb Mt. Everest

On top of dealing with the physical challenges, climbers have to be loaded.

It’s hard to say exactly how many climbers have attempted to summit Mount Everest. As of 2011, 3,100 had logged climbs to the top of the 29,028-foot mountain. But it’s not a game from everybody. On top of dealing with the physical challenges, climbers have to be loaded. The average trip to the top costs at least $30,000.

The biggest ticket item on the bill is the permit. The Nepalese government charges $70,000 for a party of seven, and $25,000 for anyone who’s going it alone. After that, you pay camp fees to use the camps, and you pay a local government official to stay in that camp and make sure you’re actually supposed to be there.

The gear is the next big purchase. Oxygen bottles cost $500 a pop. Most climbers bring six. There’s all the normal climbing equipment, like shoes and hiking poles and tents. But in this case, climbers need a yak to get that stuff to Base Camp, which costs another $150 a day. That’s all without paying a guide and sherpa to help you along.

Interestingly, while climbing equipment (and, as a result, the safety of the climb) has changed, the cost hasn’t really. Outside Magazine writes:

The median cost hasn’t changed much over the years, despite more technology and rescue options, additional guide services, and increased government regulation. Many operations that were charging $65,000 in the ‘90s are still selling trips at that same rate in 2013. Cheaper expeditions have increased their prices due to legislation from the Nepalese government that mandated how much Sherpas and porters have to be paid, and there are more “budget” Sherpa-guided operations available, but, for the most part, Everest might be one of the few places in the world that has escaped inflation.

The ticket price of Everest is a big deal for the local community, too. Nepal makes about $3 million each year off the permits alone. And the influx of visitors helps to support guides, local food, companies, hotels and restaurants in the region. Oh, and if you want WiFi, that could cost another $4,000. But at a certain point, that’s just one more line item—and at least you’ll be able to live-tweet your trip.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Conquering Everest
Inside the ER at Mt. Everest

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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