Late last week, the Tourism Ministry in Nepal cut prices for climbing permits in it’s Himalayan peaks for off-season climbing in an effort to bolster the sagging tourism trade there. The new fees will be in effect from September to November of this year, and cover 326 mountains, including Everest. Teams looking to climb during this time frame will be issued permits at half the typical rate.
Due to political unrest in the tiny country, many climbers and trekkers have stayed away from the more remote regions. Maoist rebels were notorious for shaking down foreign visitors for cash, and occasionally kidnapping them, although generally they were released in short order and in good condition. When those same Maoist rebels reached a cease fire with the Nepali government in 2006, things began to improve in the rural regions, and now that the Maoist party is running the country, Nepal should continue along the path of stability.
But tourism is an important part of the economy in that country, and in order to get climbers and trekkers back, fee cuts were deemed necessary for most of the year. The exception being the Spring Season, which is when most climbers come to the Himalaya to challenge Everest and the other big peaks there.
If neither the Spring, nor Fall, climbing seasons appeal to you, there are further reductions for climbing in the Summer and Winter. Those permits are cut by 75% over normal fees. Of course, summer climbing could be hampered by a little thing called The Monsoon, and winter climbers would have to deal with… well, the winter! The extreme cold on these tall peaks is bad enough during warmer months, I can’t imagine what it’s like on the summit of Everest in February.
If you’re looking for a bargain in climbing however, book an Everest climb for Fall. The place will practically be deserted, and very different from the Spring.
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