Climbing Everest is an elitist sport in Nepal. Per person the permit is $30,000, and to join a climbing team led by experts, another $35,000 – $50,000 per person. One needs to add extra equipment travel costs and insurances too. Most climbs cost around $100,000 per person.
Until a few years ago, no one could attempt the summit until they had already climbed three other peaks over 6,000 metres (Everest is 8,840 metres). These days however, with the increasing lucrative commercialisation of the climb, this has been laxed and anyone can attempt it, provided they have sufficient funds.
To climb the mountain you first have to fly (20 minutes) to Lukla from Kathmandu, a small town in the lower Himalaya, followed by a trek to Everest Base camp. The trek to base camp is around 37 miles, but can take over two weeks to allow for acclimatisation and stops between walks.
Base camp is around 5,600 meters above sea level, leaving a further 3,200 vertical meters (around 2.4 miles) to Everest’s summit. In walking distance (climbing approximately 1 metre in every 3) it is around an 8 mile walk. The summit itself is around 10 feet by 6 in dimension.
The most dangerous part of the climb, known rather crudely as the ‘death zone’ is the initial descent after the summit. With modern breathing equipment, deaths are extremely rare these days.
A friend of Angel Holidays takes groups of wealthy clients, around three times a year, to climb Everest – which is a very lucrative business. The only way to climb Everest more cheaply, is to gain sponsorship or ‘climb for a cause’ offering some kind of publicity.
On our Angel Holidays tour of Nepal, we may not climb the mountain, but we certainly give you the chance to fly around it by light propeller aircraft – which is quite an experience.