With the autumn climbing season already completed in Nepal, places on expeditions to the world’s most iconic mountain range are filling up quickly.
For many climbers with the requisite fitness and high-altitude experience, now may be the time to book that once-in-a-lifetime expedition to Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.
As with many things in life, the answer to this question is not so simple. However, climbers can expect to spend anywhere between $32,000 (USD) and $200,000 depending on the type of expedition, what is included in the price, and the level of luxury expected.
Keep reading: The Essential Guide to Mountaineering and Trekking in Nepal
According to pricing data from ExpedReview, the average price of an expedition to Mount Everest in 2023 is $58,069, and the median price is $50,000.
However, when private trips and flash expeditions are removed from the equation, both of which are considerably more expensive, the average price falls to $52,448, and the median price falls to $49,500.
By comparison, the average price to climb Everest in 2022 was $54,972, with a median price of $46,995. In 2021, the average price was $54,044, with a median price of $46,498.
While there is some speculation that China will open its borders to regular international travel in 2023, this has not been confirmed. Additionally, the country has rejected visa applications to climb in Tibet as recently as October 2022.
As a result, climbing Everest via the northeast ridge will not be possible for most foreigners, and we have not included those prices in this update.
Prices at a Glance
|14 Summits Expeditions||$33,500|
|360 Expeditions (Sherpa)||$44,995|
|360 Expeditions (Western)||$62,995|
|7 Summits Expeditions||$32,500|
|Alpine Ascents Institute||$70,000|
|Alpine Sherpa Guide Treks||$55,000|
|Asiana Nepal Treks and Expeditions||$33,450|
|Climbing the Seven Summits (Sherpa)||$47,995|
|Climbing the Seven Summits (Western)||$65,995|
|Elite Exped (with Lhotse)||$77,309|
|Everest Expeditions Nepal||$35,500|
|Friendship World Trek||$40,000|
|Furtenbach Adventures (express)||$100,095|
|Furtenbach Adventures (signature)||$199,388|
|Go For Nepal Treks and Expeditions||$38,999|
|High Himalayan Climbing and Expeditions (group)||$46,000|
|High Himalayan Climbing and Expeditions (private)||$125,000|
|Himalayan Glacier Adventure and Travel Company||$65,000|
|International Mountain Guides (hybrid)||$67,500|
|International Mountain Guides (Sherpa)||$49,500|
|Madison Mountaineering (express)||$85,000|
|Mountain Professionals (Sherpa)||$49,500|
|Mountain Professionals (Western)||$65,000|
|Pioneer Adventures (with Lhotse)||$66,000|
|Seven Summit Treks (Sherpa)||$34,000|
|Seven Summit Treks (Western)||$50,000|
|SummitClimb (Full Service)||$38,450|
|White Hill Adventure Treks and Expedition (Group)||$54,000|
|White Hill Adventure Treks and Expedition (Private)||$65,000|
Why would prices change from one year to the next?
There are many reasons why prices change from one year to the next when climbing Mount Everest.
According to Pasang Sherpa, the managing director of Kathmandu-based Pioneer Adventure, changes in permit fees, government taxes, logistics costs, inflation and the season in which the expedition is held all determine how its price will change.
“If the cost of the above-mentioned factors increases or decreases, there will be possible changes in the final cost we offer to our clients,” he told ExpedReview.
Caroline Pemberton, the managing director of Climbing the Seven Summits, added that mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas tend to increase in price incrementally each year.
“People can expect climbing in the Himalayas to get more expensive year to year, and prices generally go up industry-wide after the spring climbing season,” she told ExpedReview.
Keep reading: Comparing Everest’s Khumbu Icefall and K2’s Bottleneck
However, Pemberton added that the price jump from 2022 to 2023 would likely be more significant than in previous years due to global macroeconomic headwinds.
“Prices have most definitely seen huge pressure recently from inflation,” she said. “However, we have tried to keep them as steady as possible.”
Pemberton added that price ranges on trips are not unusual and reflect the diversity of services and new levels of customization that guides can afford customers.
“We are not a 'one size fits all' outfit,” she said. “Rather, we recognise that climbers come to us with differing levels of experience, different styles and different budgets, and therefore, we have accommodated by creating numerous expedition options to suit everyone.”
While all prices have generally gone up, not all price changes have been uniform. In general, prices of Western-guided expeditions have increased more than Sherpa-guided ones.
Ryan Water, the owner of Mountain Professionals, told ExpedReview that the rising overhead cost in Western countries partially explained this phenomenon.
Interestingly, the strength of the dollar compared to the British pound (GBP), the Euro and the Nepalese rupee (NPR) means that while some expeditions priced in those currencies are slightly more expensive, they cost less in dollar terms.
While most trips increased in price, Lukas Furtenbach, the owner of Furtenbach Adventures, said his company’s Signature and Flash expeditions, two of the most expensive, remained the same despite the increased costs of running expeditions. “We cover most of this loss,” he told ExpedReview.
What contributes to the price of an Everest expedition?
Four main factors contribute to the pricing of a Mount Everest mountaineering expedition: type of guide, travel, permits and insurance, and supplies and gear.
There are two types of guiding services usually offered for Mount Everest expeditions: all-inclusive or logistics only.
Logistics-only guides offer the bare minimum and are best suited for experienced mountaineers who are willing to take on Everest on the mountain's own terms. Very few people are cut out for this type of expedition. Most climbers who choose the logistics-only option to climb will spend between $32,000 and $60,000 depending on the types of expenses they incur along the way.
Keep reading: A Comparative Analysis of High-Altitude Mountaineering Expedition Costs
By law, every foreign climber in Nepal is required to hire a local Sherpa guide. A logistics-only option means that climbers must arrive at Everest Base Camp (EBC) on their own and would later hire a local company to provide all the necessary camping and cooking gear as well as support staff for the summit ascent.
However, most climbers will opt to avoid all the headaches and paperwork involved in a logistics-only climb and instead opt to pay for an all-inclusive expedition. These expeditions cost anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000, depending on the service.
Traveling to EBC
Climbers traveling to EBC on their own should expect to spend up to $10,000 from their point of origin to the base camp.
Before arrival, climbers will need to obtain a Nepali visa and the necessary immunizations, which cost $125 and $225, respectively.
Once all the proper documentation is collected, the next step is to fly to Kathmandu, which can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $7,000, depending on the airline and how many layovers are involved.
Once in Kathmandu, climbers who do not have an approved Covid-19 vaccine will need to take a mandatory PCR test. Vaccinated travelers do not need to take the test.
Keep reading: Everest Base Camp Guide: What to Know Before You Go
From Kathmandu, climbers can expect to spend anything from $300 to $500 for roundtrip tickets to and from Lukla. To save some money, it is possible to take a bus to Jiri and trek five days to Lukla and then on to EBC.
From Lukla to EBC, climbers can expect to spend between $400 and $1,000 per person for food and lodgings. The amount spent will depend on the quality of the places in which the climber stays.
It is possible to save quite a bit of money on this step of the trip by camping in approved places instead of staying in teahouses.
Away from eating and sleeping, climbers also need to transport all of their gear to base camp. A combination of yak and porters usually does this. Climbers can expect to spend between $20 and $40 per day per load for yaks and $20 per day per porter. The total cost of transporting gear usually comes out to at least $1,000.
Permits and Insurance
The permit cost in Nepal is fixed at $11,000 per climber.
However, this does not include the cost of a local company to organize the permit (required by Nepalese law), which is $2,500 per expedition. It also does not include the costs of a non-refundable trash deposit ($4,000 per permit) or the payment for a liaison officer ($3,000 per team).
When all is said and done, climbers will spend about $20,000 before setting foot in Nepal.
Keep reading: What is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)?
In terms of insurance, most guiding companies require a minimum of evacuation insurance. However, many others require medical insurance too.
Trip cancellation insurance is also a smart investment in case the climbing season ends abruptly due to natural disaster.
It is very difficult to give price estimates for insurance as these are highly variable and depend on age and trip length. However, expect to spend anywhere from $70 to $5,000.
Supplies and gear
Climbers heading to Mount Everest should expect to spend up to $30,000 on gear and supplies during an Everest expedition.
This includes about $5,800 for food, fuel and a local cook for a six-week trip. While $5,000 can be saved on the cook, it is generally a good idea to hire one.
Virtually all climbers – 97 percent – require supplemental oxygen for the ascent, which costs $550 per bottle. Most climbers will require at least five bottles, along with a mask ($450) and regulator ($450) for the ascent and descent, totaling $3,650.
Strong and experienced climbers may opt to haul their supplemental oxygen up the high camps on the mountain, but many will use Sherpas instead. Furthermore, it is customary to provide Sherpas with supplemental oxygen, which will cost an additional $2,000 (they use less oxygen).
Away from food and oxygen, climbers will also need all the proper gear to climb. This includes boots, crampons, down suits, clothing layers, gloves, sleeping bags and backpacks, among other things. Buying all the proper mountaineering gear new will cost about $7,000. This price can be cut down by buying some of the equipment lightly used online.
Many climbers will opt to avoid all the headaches and paperwork involved in a logistics-only climb and instead opt to pay for an all-inclusive expedition. These expeditions cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000, depending on the service.
Nepali operators tend to be the cheapest. According to data from ExpedReview, the median cost of these expeditions is $39,499. They tend to be led by experienced Sherpas, many of whom will have no formal guiding qualifications. A number of the cheaper options also do not include any expenses prior to arrival in Lukla.
The mid-range option is to book a Western guide service that employs a Sherpa guide. The median price for these types of expeditions is $47,995. This option usually includes all of the aforementioned costs (except personal gear) from the previous sections.
Keep reading: Rolfe Oostra on the Hidden Costs of Low-Budget Operators
The main difference between this and the Nepali operators is the Sherpa guide will have a partial UIAGM certification (usually without the ski touring part), which is more expensive than a non-certified guide but less expensive than a fully-certified Western guide.
The most expensive option is the Western guide service with a Western guide, which has a median price of $65,000. This option also tends to include all of the aforementioned costs (except personal gear) from the previous sections. While it is the highest price, there are certain advantages of traveling with a Western guide.
All guides from these types of agencies will have an IFMGA/UIAGM-certification. This is likely to increase your chances of making it to the top and minimises the risks involved with climbing at extremely high altitudes.
Now you know before you go!
Compare prices, itineraries and certified reviews of many guides that lead trips up Mount Everest on ExpedReview. Begin planning your trip to the top of the world today!