Nepal Cuts Climbing Fees for Spring 2020

A few weeks back we shared the news that China had raised the price of its climbing fees for 8000 meter peaks, bringing the cost of a permit for Everest up to a staggering $15,800. In that same article, we wondered if Nepal would follow suit, particularly since officials in that country are not usually ones to leave cash on the table. As it turns out, they aren’t raising prices — at least not for 2020 — but are instead slashing the cost of a permit in an effort to lure more alpinists and travelers.

According to The Kathmandu Post, the Nepal Ministry of Tourism has made the unprecedented move to lower the rates as part of the Visit Nepal 2020 tourism campaign. In fact, many of the rates for the “lesser” Himalayan peaks will actually be eliminated for the year, making them completely free. That includes the 8188-meter Cho Oyu, which is the only 8000-meter Nepali peek to be free. That said, the price of most of the others has been reduced to just $1800, while Dhaulagiri and Kanchanjunga will be 50% off.

Conspicuously absent from this list is Everest of course. It remains priced at its normal rate of $11,000 per person. That’s probably good news for some who have been planning on traveling to Nepal this spring and may have been anticipating a price hike to match the Tibetan rate. On top of that, one of the big goals of this campaign is to draw more people to other areas of Nepal where climbers and trekkers don’t necessarily go. Everest isn’t lacking in visitors, so the prices remain the same.

Considering that there are 414 mountains across Nepal that are open for climbing, there are plenty of options to choose from for any mountaineer looking to escape the hustle and bustle of some of the other peaks and do so on the cheap. Many of those mountains have yet to see their first ascent as well, meaning there is good challenge and value to be had.

The goal of the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign is to lure as many as 2 million people to the country next year. Lowering or eliminating climbing fees won’t dramatically increase the number of folks who are coming, but it is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to general good will.

Big thanks to my friend Rick McCharles of BestHike.com for sharing this story.