Tseten Sherpa, a 9-year-old boy from Nepal, plans to break a world record by becoming the youngest person to scale Mount Everest, the tallest mountain above sea level. But the 29,035-foot summit (8850 meters) might not be his biggest challenge: scaling the mountain\’s peak comes with a hefty price tag. Why does it cost so much to climb a mountain? \”The permit is issued, with about seven to ten people on each permit,\” said Dennis Broadwell, owner of Mountain Gurus, a company that offers guided mountain treks to Mount Everest. \”That way, the price comes out to $10,000 a person. \”
[Got a question? and we\’ll look for an expert who can crack it. ] If a mountaineer wants to buy a permit only for themselves, the price is $25,000. Money collected by the Nepalese government for the permit goes towards ensuring that Mount Everest is kept pristine, as it is considered holy by the local villagers. Last April, a team of 20 Sherpa climbers trekked to the mountain\’s \”death zone\” (26,000 feet above sea level and higher) to clean up the garbage leftover from decades of previous expeditions. While it may seem that the permit would include a guided tour and accommodations for that price, it actually only covers the cost of admission to the mountain. People buy the permit so that, if they manage to, they\’ll receive a certificate from the Government of Nepal acknowledging their achievement. The permit also grants them legal permission to be on Mount Everest, so that in the event of an emergency, Nepalese authorities will rescue the climbers in distress. However, those on the mountain without a permit are out of luck, since they are legally not supposed to be there and therefore won\’t be acknowledged.
The cost of the permit also goes towards paying for the liaison officers that stand guard at various camp stops along the trek. The officers monitor climbers\’ use of communication devices, help them get weather reports and make sure that mountaineers follow the strictly enforced climbing schedule, as no climbing is permitted on the mountain after 6 pm. Not counting the permit fee, the total price of climbing Mount Everest is staggering, with just the \”optional\” expenses round-trip transportation, mountaineering guides, tents and communication devices easily totaling over $200,000, according to the U. S. Federal Aviation Administration. \”A bottle of oxygen costs between $300 and $400, and each person should carry about five or six bottles during an expedition,\” Broadwell told Life\’s Little Mysteries. \”That\’s about two grand just for oxygen. The people that are seriously considering climbing Mount Everest are well aware of how much it will all cost. \” But even if Tseten Sherpa puts together these funds, there\’s a good chance it will be all for naught. Last June, the China Tibet Mountaineering Association, which regulates all mountaineering expeditions in China-controlled Tibet, anyone under the age of 18 from scaling the treacherous mountain. Climbers must be at least 16 years old to climb the Nepali side. At 29,029 feet in height, is the tallest peak on the planet and a formidable challenge for even the most experienced. Each spring, hundreds of climbers arrive with the hope that they will get the opportunity to stand at the top of the world for a few fleeting moments. But getting there isn t easy or cheap.
An Everest climb requires a two-month commitment to successfully complete and costs upward of $60,000. Where does all of that money go? The majority of climbers sign on with a guide service that provides support throughout their expedition. These professional operators provide food, fuel and other supplies that are needed for the six to eight weeks that are spent on the mountain. They also secure climbing permits, hire guides and porters, provide bottled oxygen for the summit push and more. Some will try to distinguish themselves from the competition by offering such luxuries as better food, more Sherpa guides or satellite Internet in base camp. So just what do climbers get for their money? Here s a rough breakdown of the costs. Climbing permits: $11,000 Before they can ever set foot on the mountain, a climber must first obtain a climbing permit from the government of Nepal or Tibet, depending on which route they re climbing. For logistical and support purposes, most people climb the south side of Everest, in Nepal, where the permit costs $11,000. However, they can save a bit of money by traveling to the north side, in Tibet, where the cost is about $7,000. Other climbing fees: $1,500 In addition to obtaining a permit, teams are required to pay a number of other climbing-related fees. These include hiring a liaison officer to join them in base camp, a basic medical-support fee (contributing to the cost of installing ropes on the mountain) and a refundable deposit for the removal of trash and human waste. Travel to base camp: $4,000 Just getting to base camp on Everest takes time and money. Porters and yaks are needed to carry the gear on the week-long trek, and climbers will need to eat and stay in tea houses along the way.
Sherpas: $5,000 each Most teams assign one climbing Sherpa to each of their clients to ensure they stay safe on the mountain, at a cost of $5,000 per person. A few teams will even provide two Sherpas for each climber as a safety measure. Additionally, clients must pay for the bottled oxygen used by their Sherpas, which can run upward of $3,000. Maintaining campsites: $2,000 The guide services operate a series of camps on Everest ranging in altitude. Keeping those camps stocked with supplies and support staff adds significantly to the price. Additionally, climbers pay roughly $800 each for six weeks worth of food for their meals. Bottled oxygen: $3,700 The majority of Everest climbers use supplemental oxygen on the way to the summit. On average, they ll use five bottles to reach the top, at $550 per bottle. They ll also need an oxygen mask and regulator, which cost about $500 each. Gear: $7,000 Most climbers will need to buy additional high-altitude gear for their climb, including a down suit, sleeping bag and boots. Miscellaneous: $10,000 There are a variety of other expenses that add up quickly too. These include travel costs to Kathmandu, emergency-rescue insurance, visas, immunizations and tips for the cooks and Sherpas. These expenses can vary wildly, but add significantly to the entire price of the climb. Climbing Everest is not an inexpensive undertaking, yet hundreds still do it each year. It is a testament to the allure of the mountain that so many are willing to sacrifice so much just to stand on top. More from GrindTV