The Costs of Climbing The Seven Summits

seven summits map3
The Outpost, the official blog of, has an interesting post up today that examines the costs of climbing the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on all seven continents.

The article looks at several broad categories and gives a good estimate of what each of them costs. For instance, they say that it’ll set you back roughly $1170 for training to ensure you know what you’re doing on those mountains, and another $9200 in airfare just to fly to the various countries that is home to one of these mountains. Throw in another $1500 for “incidentals”, which covers such things as visas and passports, and things start to add up quickly.

Of course, the largest category is for the guide services necessary to climb the 7 (+1) mountains. The Outpost says that you can expect to pay between $105,850 – $169,900 on guides depending on who you choose to go with. They do note that this is an area that can be highly customized, and that’s why there is such a large variance in the cost. Guide services are not all created equal, and sometimes you get what you pay for. Besides, do you really want to go cut-rate on this kind of trip?

The one category that I might disagree with their estimate on is gear, which they say will cost you $2000. In my opinion that is on the very low side, as I’ve seen down suits and thermal boots for Everest that will cost you that much alone. But I suppose, that this is, once again, an area that can really vary greatly, and you do indeed get what you pay for here as well.

So what’s the bottom line? Outdoorzy says that the grand total of making a Seven Summits bid is about $119,720 – $183,870. That doesn’t include the time you’ll need to get off work, as most of us aren’t sponsored climbers either.

Kraig Becker

4 thoughts on “The Costs of Climbing The Seven Summits”

  1. So, all these teenage "wunderkind" climbers who've finished the 7 summits at 18 years old must have put in a LOT of overtime at the local McDonald's/Burger King to earn the dollars for their climbs!

    At the low end of $120,000 for all 7 summits, and a minimum wage of $7.25/hour, that requires about 16,500 hours of work, which is about 400 weeks of 40 hour work weeks, which is about 8 years of work……

    How do these teenage superstar climbers manage to work 40 hours for 8 years, while still doing their homework?

    I say this with absolutely zero cynicism!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    If I'm lucky to stay healthy and make an attempt at Everest, I'll have to raid my retirement plan!!

    Or get a second job at Burger King!!!

    Or maybe just marry some wealthy 18 year climbing chick!!

  2. LOL! Great way to look at it.

    Maybe they spend all of their hard earned cash on lottery tickets, hitting the jackpot just in time to pay for their climbs. 🙂

  3. It's not that expensive.

    The toughest one to get the skills for is actually Carstenz, where you either have to be an OK climber with exceptional ideas about the route, or a very good climber or you have to have money to pay for someone who knows the route well and can show you, how to take the edge out of it.
    Fourth option would be "Go for a hike in Australia", just as everybody knows, who thinks about the seven summits.

    The most expensive one is actually Mount Vinson, since Flight + BaseCamp is an absolute monopoly and it's virtually impossible to get a permit + transportation cheaper.

    North side Everest packages start at around 9000 $, which includes climbing permit, acccess to the fixed lines, transport of equipment to BC and a couple more things, like walkie talkie to a different team.

    That means no Sherpa, no Guide, no Oz. Probably none of us would make that, at least not those, who think these mountains could or should be tackled with money.

    You can negotiate more than sufficient high-camp oz for a couple thousand.

    Do you want and need a guide? The death-ratio of guided climbers is slightly higher than the ratio of private climbers. And there is even more to it: Do you know, how the difference feels, whether you climb guided, or climb for yourself? You think a completely different way about the mountain and you will feel a different kind of achievement. A guide is going to take away most of that from you!

    There are other things you can do to better your chances: With time for acclimatization and required rest, the time-window actually is narrow, to have that perfect day and feel strong on it. There usually isn't a second chance to push. Buy yourself a low-oxygen tent or something to do altitude-training and then come up there pre-acclimatized. You'll feel stronger, establish your camps faster and you'll have better chances to hit the perfect day.

    I think it is great to climb independently and just pick the necessary extras, just as it's great to have a second or third shot if the first one doesn't succeed.

    If you don't agree with me yet, just go and climb Elbrus and Aconcagua unguided. You can go solo and meet people. It's great, it's fun, it's cheap and you will feel like, you made it yourself. Maybe you have to do one of them twice, but every single one will feel like a real achievement.

    Make up your mind about guides, when you actually get to everest or denali. If you really feel like needing a guide there… I'll tell you later – my youngest daughter just got up. I'll be back tongiht and rant some more.

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