People are paying up to $130,000 to climb Mount Everest with personal photographers and private bars at base camp
DOMA SHERPA/AFP/Getty Images
- At least 11 people have died climbing Mount Everest in the past week, drawing attention to how severely overcrowded the mountain has become.
- Upwards of 700 people climb the mountain each year, most within a narrow time frame of decent weather.
- Most people hire commercial expedition operators, which usually charge between $60,000 and $65,000, according to The British Mountaineering Council.
- Some people pay up to $130,000 for "VVIP" expedition packages.
- Climbers also need to spend between $6,000 and $8,000 on gear such as a down suit, sleeping bags, boots, a trekking backpack, and an ice axe.
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A record 381 people were granted permits to climb Mount Everest in 2019, according to The Washington Post, and the number of guides can easily double the number of people on the mountain.
Many of these climbers are on Everest at the same time, in a narrow time frame when conditions are best. This results in bottlenecking and queuing in the mountain's "death zone," where there's simply not enough oxygen for the body's cells to survive.
But the crowds aren't stopping climbers from dropping some serious cash to summit one of the world's most famous mountains.
Most people who climb Everest hire commercial expedition operators, which usually charge between $60,000 and $65,000, according to The British Mountaineering Council (BMC). This includes a guide and "a high ratio of support climbers, usually Sherpas," Tina Gardner wrote for the BMC.
One company, Seven Summit Treks, charges $130,000 per person for a "VVIP" Mount Everest package that includes a welcome dinner, a stay in a five-star Kathmandu hotel, a private bakery and bar at base camp, private heated kitchen, shower, and toilet tents at base camp, a personal photographer, meals, and unlimited tea and coffee, plus a private helicopter service. The package doesn't include international flights to and from Nepal, required gear, or tips for the crew.
It can be cheaper to hire a local expedition in Nepal, but that will still cost you around $35,000.
And then there's the gear you'll need to buy.
Garrett Madison, an Everest guide at Madison Mountaineering, which charges $65,000 for its standard package, told The Manual that someone who wants to reach the summit of Mount Everest should plan to spend between $6,000 and $8,000 on items such as a down suit, sleeping bags, boots, a trekking backpack, and an ice axe.