We may be just a week into 2014, but it is never too early to start thinking about the spring Everest climbing season. As many of you already know, year-in and year-out, one of the best sources of information on all things having to do with Everest is Alan Arnette. Each year, Alan provides excellent insights into what it takes to climb the mountain, while providing regular updates on conditions on both the North and South sides, while closely tracking the locations of the numerous teams attempting to scale its impressive slopes. Over the past few years, Alan has kicked off his annual coverage by first giving us a run down of just how much it costs to undertake an Everest expedition, and each year it is an interesting read. Yesterday, he posted the 2014 version of that report, and for those unfamiliar with the expenses of a major climb in the Himalaya, it can sometimes cause sticker shock.
As usual, the costs for climbing Everest have increased on both the North and South side of the mountain this year. But what’s different for 2014 is that while the guide services at the high end of the spectrum have mostly held steady, it is the low-end companies that seem to have hiked their rates for 2014. He is also quick to point out that this type of expedition is not one in which you want to go cut-rate, but with prices ranging from $30,000 – $100,000 it can be confusing to decide to who to go with.
Alan breaks down the costs into different categories, giving readers estimates on climbing solo vs. as part of an organized team. He also discusses the differences in teams as well, which include Sherpa supported climbs, Sherpa guided expeditions and Western guided options. Each of those provides a different level of service, with some willing to spend less to do more on their own, while others pay considerably more for a safer, more full-service attempt on the summit.
With guided climbs costing in the neighborhood of $40,000 to $65,000, it is sometimes tough to see where the cost differences come from. Alan points out that sometimes it is just in the form of profit to help pay the overhead required to operate on the mountain, but it also often comes at the expense of services such as Sherpa support on the upper slopes or no bottled oxygen included in the price.
One of the more interesting elements of Alan’s report is his comparison chart of the companies that operate on Everest. It gives the name of the organization, average team size, types of guides, previous summit success and of course the costs. The prices range from as low as $28,450 for an expedition on the North Side with Summit Climb, to $89,000 with AlpenGlow on the South Side that includes Western guides.
If you’ve ever considered climbing Everest yourself, then Alan’s Cost to Climb guide is a must read. It’ll give you all the information you need for selecting the right guide service for your own climb, while weighing in all the factors to think about, including safety considering, which route to take, which company to go with and much more.
It also serves to get the adrenaline flowing for a new Everest climbing season. For fans of the mountain, April can’t come fast enough!
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