How Much Does it Cost to Climb Mount Everest? – 2023 Edition

2023 will be my 20th season of all things Everest: 15 times providing coverage, another four seasons of actually climbing on Everest, and two years attempting Lhotse.

I did similar coverage for the 200420052006200720092010, 2012201320142015, 2016, 2017201820192021, and 2022 seasons. In 2020, I did a fictitious Virtual Everest series available as an e-Book. I summited Everest on May 21, 2011, and have attempted Everest three other times – 200220032008, and Lhotse in 2015 and 2016.

2023 is my eighth year to blog “How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest?

So, how much does it cost to climb Mount Everest? As I’ve said for years, the short answer is a car, but the prices have skyrocketed, so now it’s a lovely car. Most people pay between $40,000 and $50,000, and some will pay as much as $160,000! But the prices are rising, and I don’t know where it will stop. So if you are on a tight climbing budget, go as soon as your skills, experience, and checkbook can support a safe attempt.

Here we go with a long and detailed look at Everest 2023. Please let me know if you see a mistake or want to add something.

Follow the 2023 Everest Coverage!

Preparing for Everest is More than Training

summit coach

If you dream of climbing mountains but are not sure how to start or reach your next level, from a Colorado 14er to Rainier, Everest, or even K2, we can help. Summit Coach is a consulting service that helps aspiring climbers throughout the world achieve their goals through a personalized set of consulting services based on Alan Arnette’s 27 years of high-altitude mountain experience and 30 years as a business executive. Please see our prices and services on the Summit Coach website.

There is a lot of detail here, and it is broken down by:


Big Changes

The traditionalist will pine for the good old days when climbers ascended daring new routes with no support, including supplemental oxygen and didn’t brag about their feat until they returned home, no selfies from the summit for them!

Well, those days are long gone except for a handful of people across the globe. Today, the slopes of Everest are filled with people who never imagined they could get the opportunity, style be damned. An entirely new generation celebrates the joy and satisfaction of what they accomplish. They don’t give the traditionalist any notice, only occasionally acknowledging that what the pioneers did in their day was truly special.

Climbing Mt. Everest has dramatically changed over the past several years. Today, Nepali companies dominate running commercial expeditions, hiring hundreds of Sherpas (and other ethnicities) to support a wide variety of customers. The traditional operators from America, Argentina, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, the U.K., etc., are still doing well. However, their teams are staying significantly smaller, having ten or twenty customers compared to 50, 60 or even 100 with the Nepali outfits.

The climbing model has completely changed. Decades ago, team climbers would contribute equally to carrying gear and establishing high camps. The use of supplemental oxygen was relatively low at two liters per minute compared to today’s of four, even six and sometimes up to eight lpm. Also, today’s delivery systems are much more efficient.

The level of support has changed. From 1990 to 2000, the ratio of support (Sherpas) to clients was 1:0.79. From 2000 to 2013, it increased to 1:1.09; from 2015 to 2022, it leaped to 1:1.31. In 2022, it was a staggering 1:1.62, with 415 Sherpas summiting with 256 clients on the Nepal side. Today more Sherpas and Tibetans have summited Everest than paying clients, 5,721 vs. 5,620.

I think it’s great to see Sherpas climbing for the joy and recognition of it, but we need to keep the criticism of the wealthy foreign lawyer paying to get dragged to the summit in check, given who is really climbing the peak today.

The demographic of those who are climbing has changed. While Americans, Britons, and Germans still flock to Everest, more Indians and Chinese are climbing the slopes. The Nepali companies have done an excellent job catering to this growing customer base.

The age of the average climber is growing. In 2008, the age group between 20 and 29 dominated those who summited at 29%. By 2019, the last ‘typical’ year on Everest, i.e., pre-pandemic, that group shrank to 13%, and the 40 to 49 group swelled to 32%. By the way, the 50 to 59 ‘old-timers’ went from 7% to 16% in that same timeframe! Also, female climbers have grown dramatically, with 14% of the 2008 summiters being female to 24% in 2019.

Finally, fundamental problems remain unaddressed and ignoring Leave No Trace principles leads the list. Like on Aconcagua and Denali, Nepal must mandate using WAG bags to remove ALL solid waste from anywhere on the mountain. If the government doesn’t step up, all the operators must enforce this simple, inexpensive method of not adding to the waste problem, especially at Camp 2 and the South Col. This also applies to the Tibet side. Other issues range from fair wages for all workers, excessive use of helicopters, removal of old ropes, and more. They are well known, and it’s up to the major operators to lead the way.

So, things have changed. Some call it progress as more people than ever enjoy the sport; others call it a disaster that is ruining the sport, and the mountain. No matter your side, it will never go back to what it was, so let’s examine how much it costs to climb Everest in 2023.


Big Picture – Higher Prices for Everyone and Deals for Some!

The headline for 2023 is that prices continue to increase from all operators on both sides, but the price range is the largest since I started this tracking ten years ago. The increases are due to inflation, labor wage increases, Sherpas with IFMGA certification receiving higher pay, more Nepalese regulations around minimum salaries and insurance, and a strong supply and demand environment from clients. As I said, there is an insatiable demand to climb the world’s highest mountain.

So, do you have to be rich to climb Everest in 2023? The Nepali operators have always been willing to deal, so take their list prices as an opening bid. With Nepal’s recovering tourism business and high demand, Nepali companies will still deal but not as aggressively as in prior years. You can get on a low-end, essential services-only trip for $30,000. As for dealing with foreign operators, don’t bet on a significant discount. It’s customary to offer a little off if you pay a year in advance, but that’s about it. They fill their teams months in advance, so there’s little incentive to discount.

The following chart breaks down the current MEDIAN prices by style and route. I use the 2019 Tibet side prices since that was the last pre-pandemic year of climbing. I’ll go into more detail later in this post; however, you can quickly see how much the prices have increased on both sides for all styles. There are real costs the foreign operators have operating in Nepal that the locals don’t have, thus the major difference in the prices, but I’ll go into that later:

Nepal 2022Nepal 2023% ChangeTibet 2019Tibet 2023% Change
Nepali Guide Service$44,500$45,000+1.1%$35,000$45,500+22.2%%
Foreign Guide Service with Sherpa Guide$48,750$51,750+4.3%
Foreign Guide Service with Western Guide$67,000$70,000+4.3%$62,500$71,500+12.6%






As for safety, people die on both sides. Most of the deaths these days are due to inexperience and not who you selected as your guide. However, choosing a competent guide could save your life. 


Everest 2023 Outlook

I expect 2023 to be a big year on Everest-Nepal and a small re-opening of the Tibet side for selected operators.

With the COVID-19 pandemic letting up, Nepal is open. It expects many foreigners attracted by Nepali operators marketing low prices and requiring minimal climbing experience but providing tons of Sherpa support. China will open only to a few foreign operators and national teams. But you never know with China, so if you have plans to climb on that side, have a backup plan. The Tibet side prices have increased significantly from the foreign operators after China raised permits and other fees.

I expect almost 1,000 total summits broken out by 300-350 foreigners from the Nepal side supported by 450-500 Sherpas. And around 100 total summits on the Tibet side. We can anticipate three to six deaths on the Nepal side and one on the Tibet side.

Both countries reportedly still require a COVID vaccination to enter the country. I strongly advise checking with your country’s embassy in China and Nepal for the latest COVID regulations, even though both seem to have loosened them substantially.

Who’s Climbing and New Rules?

In keeping with the pre-pandemic years, look for more climbers from China and India than ever. As I’ve detailed in the past, China requires all Chinese Nationals to climb an 8000-meter peak before climbing Everest from China; thus, many go to Nepal, where there are no experience requirements. As for the Indian climbers, it’s folklore that if you summit Everest, you can leverage that into fame and fortune – a considerable miscalculation by many. But many Nepali/Indian guide companies meet this market demand, plus creating a profitable business running training programs for the under-20 crowd and then taking them to Everest. Unfortunately, this approach is a deadly gamble that may backfire one day.

Nepal announced no new rules – a pleasant change from their recent history of ginning up the climbing community with promises of a cleaner, safer environment with phantom new restrictions. There are multiple announcements of clearing trash from the mountains, but we will see if that materializes.

Also, there are persistent rumors that Nepal will increase permit prices, perhaps to $15,000 or more for Everest. I’ve heard this for many years, but it feels stronger these days.

The bottom line for 2023 climbers is to triple-check with the evacuation company that you have full coverage (evacuation, medical, and repatriation) plus are covered for COVID for the guide service you use; plus, get vaccinated. There were reports of Manalsu climbers in Autumn 2022 getting COVID.


Everest 2022 Review

2022 brought even more stable weather windows than during the great Everest 2018. In May 2022, a stalled high-pressure system made for horrendous temperatures in Northern India while paradoxically creating nearly ideal climbing conditions across much, but not all, of the Himalayas.

To sum up the 2022 spring Himalayan climbing season in a phrase, it is ‘low-drama, disturbing changes.‘ In 2022, Everest’s support-to-client ratio of 1:1.62 was the highest ever. And while impossible to fully quantify, anecdotally, more climbers across all six of Nepal’s 8000ers climbed this season and used higher supplemental oxygen flow rates starting at lower altitudes than in history.

According to the Himalayan Database, in 2022, there were 683 summits, including only 12 from Tibet, as it was closed to foreigners. All but five of the total summiteers used supplemental oxygen. 683 is on par with 2016/17 but lagged behind the record 877 set in 2019. 

The Everest-Nepal member success rate was around 78%, with 256 of the 325 permitted making the top. I estimate 392 total people summited the other Nepal 8000ers, including 192 members supported by 200 Sherpas. 

This season, we saw the continued trend of a very high member-to-support ratio. A milestone reached with more Sherpas (415) summiting than foreigners (256) since Everest climbing began in the 1920s. All in all, it was a year like we saw a decade ago. But, unfortunately, it was not without deaths, three deaths on Everest and three more on the other 8000ers.

In the good news department, for the first time in many years, the Nepal Ministry of Tourism seemed content to stay out of the way and the headlines. But, the spring of 2022 saw significant changes appear in mountaineering. These changes will disrupt decades of climbing norms on the 8000-meter peaks.

I expect 2023 to be a big year on Everest, with price increases across the board, more multi-8000ers attempts, more helicopters and more selfies. The climbing scene on 8000-meter mountains now resembles climbing the 7 Summits, more of an exotic vacation than exploration.

Read my Everest 2022 Season Summary


Where Does My Money Go?

There are four major components to any Everest climb, regardless of climbing from Nepal or Tibet: travel, permits/insurance, supplies/gear, and guides. For 2023, there will be no significant changes to this cost structure. The following discussion breaks down the expenses as if an individual wanted to climb without joining a team, but almost no one does this, as the numbers will show – it is just too expensive or risky.

I know a few individuals climbed on the cheap in years past, but few, if any, in the last five years. I usually get a reply to this article saying, “Alan you’re crazy. I climbed Everest and spent $5,000.” Congratulations if that’s true, but chances are it was in the last century, was illegal (no permit), or on the North before China raised their prices and put in team size minimums. If someone can tell me how to climb that inexpensively in 2023, don’t hesitate to contact me.


1. Travel $500 – $10,125

The travel costs entirely depend on where you live and how you like to travel. It can range from a few hundred dollars to over $7,000 to fly to Nepal from the United States in Business Class. Most people use Thai, Turkish, Qatar, Air India, or China Eastern to reach Nepal. Double-check that the airline you want to use has permission to fly to Kathmandu in this COVID environment. Be prepared to show your vaccination card.

Once in Kathmandu, it would be best if you flew to Lukla, Namche, or Lhasa to start the journey to base camp, so add a few hundred dollars for this airfare. But, of course, you can take a bus to Jiri and trek five days to Luka and then on to EBC to save a little money.

From Lukla, it takes a little over a week to trek to base camp, acclimatizing along the way, so add food and lodging along the way for you and your support team. The trek costs can range between $400 to $1,000 per person. But, depending on your travel style and how many beers you buy, you can save money. Remember that everything becomes more expensive the closer you get to Base Camp, so buy batteries, toilet paper, etc., in Kathmandu, Lukla, Namche, or, better, at home.

Teahouses have dramatically increased their prices in Khumbu. You can still find the $7 per night teahouse but expect to pay $5-10 for each meal. Climbers can always camp in tents and cook their meals to save money, but if you camp and eat in the teahouse, expect to pay four times the price if you don’t sleep in the teahouse, they make their profit from selling meals.

You must get yourself and all your gear – tents, food, oxygen, etc., to base camp. Most people use porters and yaks, costing at least $20 per day per load but usually higher, which usually totals over a thousand dollars. Large operators will hire helicopters and bundle the expense into the overall price. On the Tibet side, all transportation is included in your climbing permit and monitored by the government. In addition, the China Mountaineering Association (CMA) will meet you where you arrive in China and never leave you during the entire expedition.

Travel $2,450 – $8,350

  • Airfare is $1500 to $7000 depending on class and routing, and excess baggage
  • Transportation from Kathmandu to Lukla is $350 round trip per person
  • Hotel and food in Kathmandu are $300 to $700 depending on delays and quality level
  • Nepal Visa $100
  • Immunizations $200

Getting to EBC $1,240 – $1,800

  • Yaks to and from Base Camp $40 per yak per day carrying 120 lbs (4 yaks for four days minimum or $640)
  • Extra Yak in China is $300/Yak
  • Porters to and from Base Camp $20 per porter per day carrying 60 lbs (3 porters for six days minimum or $360)
  • Tea Houses and food on the trek to EBC $20 – $100/person/day – 7 days $140 – $700
  • Park Fee $100/team


2. Permits and Insurance $9,950 – $29,500


Nepal has an $11,000 permit fee per individual. It simply allows a climber to climb. In Argentina for Aconcagua or Alaska for Denali, the $800 or $365 permit helps fund high-altitude ranger camps, hire seasonal staff, provide mountaineering information, and keep the mountain environment clean. On Denali, the permit includes helicopter evacuation for life or limb emergencies but not for low-level sickness.

Nepal requires a local company to organize your permit at $2,500 for the team, a refundable trash deposit of $4,000 per permit, and a Liaison Officer costing $3,000 per team. These total $9,500 BEFORE the $11,000 per person climbing permit. So before you hire guides, yaks, food, or gear, you must come up with almost $20,000 in Nepal.

In 2013, Nepal implemented a new rule that requires every foreign climber to hire a local Sherpa Guide. It is still there for the 2023 season, but this policy is unevenly enforced, if at all. While very unclear how or if this rule is enforced for every operator, it would add a minimum of $5,000 to the absolute lowest cost. In 2017, one person who climbed without a permit was caught, deported, and banned from climbing in Nepal for five years by the Nepal authorities. Both sides are cracking down on unauthorized climbing, so beware.

Most guide companies on the Nepal side will require at least evacuation insurance, and most require medical coverage. One of the best investments you can make is to add trip cancellation to the policy, but it’s expensive. In both 2014 and 2015, when the Everest season ended early, those with trip cancellation/interruption coverage had 100% of their trip expenses reimbursed, some as high as $45,000.

Several companies provide coverage for medical evacuations from the injury point to a local or home medical facility. Some cover trip cancellations, and others offer medical insurance. These policies have become very expensive in 2023, so shop around. Many operators have discounts arranged with these companies if you reach their website through your guide’s website or call them. TravelexGlobal RescueRedpoint Ripcord Rescue Travel ProtectionAIG Travel Guard, and International Medical Group’s TravelLX are all good.

To save money, joining the American Alpine Club will provide $7,500 in evacuation coverage to a local hospital and $300,000 to get you back home. These are bargains at $65/year and $250/year, respectively. Most people upgrade that basic coverage for a few hundred dollars. Global Rescue and Redpoint’s Ripcord Rescue Travel Protection program are other popular evacuation companies but have become very expensive.

With all these policies, you must follow their rules strictly, or you will not be covered – and I mean precisely. One misstep, and you are not covered. Again, exactly. Also, most do not cover searches, and those who do, have low limits.


The Chinese increased climbing permits for Everest in 2019, eliminating a low-cost, single-person climb from Tibet for under $20,000. This change forces climbers to team up with at least three other members. This three-person requirement is not a big deal for independent climbers since many guides are glad to have you on their permit for a small fee and not provide any support.

An Everest climbing permit from the Chinese (Northside) is now between $15,800 and 18,000 per person for a team permit of 4 or more. This price includes transportation from the entry point in China (usually Lhasa or Zhangmu–Kodari) to base camp, hotels, liaison officer, trash fee, five yaks in, and four yaks out per member. In addition, there is an extra charge of $200 per day per person for time spent in Lhasa. If you want to bring a Nepali Sherpa to climb with you in Tibet, budget an additional $4,500 for each Sherpa’s “work permit,” as required by the CTMA, plus a salary of $5,000.

The Tibet side is more complicated for evacuation insurance since a centralized team performs all on-mountain rescues. The rescued climber is on the hook for an unspecified and unlimited fee. Helicopters are not allowed but are rumored to begin in the next few years, maybe by 2024. It would be wise to double-check everything with your provider to understand the details when climbing in China.

Climbing Fees $20,600 – $25,650 (Nepal)

  • The Nepal Agency fee is $2,500 per team (usually included in the total price from a guide)
  • Nepalese Liaison Officer $3,000/team (usually included in the total price from a guide)
  • South Base Camp Medical support from EverestER $100/person
  • Nepal permits $11,000 for each climber, regardless of team size
  • Chinese permit between $15,800 and 18,000 per person for teams of 4 or more. $4,500 for each Nepali Sherpa
  • Nepal garbage and human waste deposit $4,000/team permit (refundable but not always)
  • Tibet garbage and human waste deposit $4,000/team permit (refundable but not always)
  • Icefall Doctors to fix route $2,500/team or $600 per climber
  • Contribution to fixed ropes above Icefall $200/climber, higher on the Tibet side
  • Weather forecast $0 to $1,000
  • Puja $300

Insurance $70 – $3,000

  • Evacuation Insurance $70 (American Alpine Club) – ~$500 (Global Rescue/Travelex)
  • Medical only $500
  • Rescue Insurance for any reason with medical insurance and trip cancellation coverage – $3,000 to $15,000 (Travelex)
  • Private pay helicopter evacuation from Everest South – $5,000 – $20,000 depending on start and end locations (not available in the north, but planned)
  • All insurance figures are representative and will vary widely with age, length of trip, and total cost.


3. Supplies/Gear $ 5,000 – $30,000

You need to eat and stay warm, and 97% of all Everest summiteers use supplemental oxygen. You can cook your food, but most people use a cook and helpers, costing $5,000 for base camp and budgeting about $800 per person for food and fuel while climbing Everest over six weeks.

Supplemental oxygen runs about $600 per bottle with a minimum of 5 bottles totaling $3,000. But you will also need a mask at $500 and a regulator at $500. You can carry your extra oxygen to the high camps, but most people use the Sherpas to cache them at the high camps. When hiring a personal Sherpa, the standard is for him to climb on oxygen, albeit at a lower flow rate, so this will run between an additional $4,000 to $10,000.

Finally, you will need climbing gear, including boots, a down suit, clothing layers, gloves, sleeping bags, packs, and more. These items will cost at least $9,000 if you buy everything new. High altitude boots from La Sportiva or Millet run $1,200, a full down suit from Feathered Friends or Mountain Hardwear is over $1,200, and a sleeping bag rated to -20F is at least $800.

You can often find lightly used climbing gear on eBay or less expensive gear in Kathmandu. I recommend buying boots at home so you can get the correct size. Remember that feet will swell by at least a full size at high altitudes, so buy your boots and try them on at home with your climbing socks to test the fit before leaving for the climb.

Misc $14,450 – $23,000

  • Full Medical kit $1,000 – $1,500 – add $2,800 for Gamow Bag
  • Sherpas, cooks tips and a bonus of $450 – $4,000++ per individual depending on performance and summit
  • Personal Gear (down suit, high altitude boots, sleeping bags, etc.): $9,000
  • Satellite phone (own) $1,000 to $3,000 depending on usage
  • Gear allowance for Sherpas $3,000

EBC and High Camps $3,800 – $8,800

  • Tents $3,000 new (sleeping, cooking, toilet, storage at four camps for three people)
  • Cooks $5,000 per cook and assistant for six weeks
  • Food and fuel are $800 per person for six weeks

Climbing Support $4,000 – 15,000

  • Oxygen $600/bottle (5 bottles) $3,000 (doesn’t include costs to take to high camps)
  • Oxygen Mask (Summit Oxygen) $500
  • Oxygen Regulator $500
  • Climbing Sherpa $5,000 – $9,000 per Personal Sherpa with oxygen at $3,000

See my current gear list.

Preparing for Everest is More than Training

summit coach

If you dream of climbing mountains but are not sure how to start or reach your next level, from a Colorado 14er to Rainier, Everest, or even K2, we can help. Summit Coach is a consulting service that helps aspiring climbers throughout the world achieve their goals through a personalized set of consulting services based on Alan Arnette’s 27 years of high-altitude mountain experience and 30 years as a business executive. Please see our prices and services on the Summit Coach website.

4. Logistics (guide) $30,000 – $85,000

With all the previous costs broken out, it can be overwhelming. But don’t despair; you can join a fully supported or guided team that manages everything.

For decades, western operators like Adventure Consultants, Alpine Ascents (AAI), Jagged Globe, International Mountain Guides (IMG), and a new generation like Furtenbach, Madison Mountaineering and Climbing the Seven Summits have guided hundreds to the top of Everest for prices ranging from $49,000 to $85,000, all-inclusive.

But that is changing. There has been intense competition from Nepali-owned and operated companies in the last few years. With over 100 Sherpas having ten or more Everest summits, they advertise as Everest Guides and eliminate the traditional Western Guide, who earns between $15,000 and $25,000 for the season. This cost-saving is passed through to the clients. In 2023, lead Sherpas earn salaries similar to Western Guides, so the price gap is narrowing, but the Nepali companies are still less expensive, as we will discuss.

Some, not all, Nepali operators are well-known for underpaying their staff, thus charging half to a third of traditional western operators for a Nepal Everest expedition. In 2023, some Nepali operators are reportedly offering their Everest expedition for as low as $30,000 per climber. One common trend is that almost all Nepali guides will privately negotiate and discount, while most foreign operators will not.

Many of the lead Sherpas now have a subset (no ski qualification, for example)of the IFMGA certification with more summits than many Western guides. This certification allows the Sherpas to earn up to $10,000 for the Everest season compared to $4-5,000 previously. This trend will drive the cost of the Nepali companies up over time as more and more Sherpas become certified. One Nepali operator charges an additional $10,000 if you want to climb with an IFMGA-certified Sherpa guide.

With all this background, I used public websites and my research to compile the 2023 Everest fees from the major Everest guide companies. Then, I looked back at their latest (2021 or 2022) summit rates and historical numbers, if available, using my research, their websites, and the Himalayan Database. Remember, there were virtually no climbers on Everest in China in 2021 and 2022.

This list is not comprehensive of all guides, and I did not look at small one-person operations or those who do not run climbs each year for more than one or two members. I’m not making endorsements by including or excluding a company from the list. It’s for reference only. Check with the operator for details and questions.

Almost all guides increased their prices, but non-Nepali operating with a Western Guide on the Tibet side increased their fee an average of 22% from 2019, the last full year of climbing that included foreign expeditions. New Chinese rules and increased permit fees primarily drove the cost increases. The Nepal side operators increased by between 1 to 4%. Without a doubt, climbing with a Nepali-owned company is half the price of a foreign operator with multiple western guides. However, some foreign companies offer Sherpa lead trips that can be very price competitive.

Prices usually include full logistics support, gear, food, Personal Sherpa, oxygen, mask, and regulator. You can see my thoughts on Everest guides on my main site Selecting a Guide.

2023 Expedition Price Chart

Unlike the majority of foreign operators, most of the Nepali companies no longer list their prices claiming there are too many options and need to speak directly with the potential client.

 2023 Everest Expeditions Prices
Everest 2023 Prices
Everest 2023 Prices



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Who Guides on Everest?

There are no enforced requirements to call yourself a guide in Nepal. In fact, the Nepal Ministry of Tourism calls every Sherpa a ‘Sherpa Guide’ regardless of their training or experience. However, this is slowly changing as more Sherpas attend basic climbing and first aid courses at the Khumbu Climbing Center.

There are three options for supported climbs: Sherpa-supported, Sherpa-guided, and Fully-guided commercial expeditions. I have changed from using “Foreign Guide” to”Fully Guided” as several of the Nepali guides are doing an excellent job, so the term “fully” is more inclusive. All leverage groups cost such as deposits, cooks, and tents across multiple climbers.

All teams on both sides use the same ladders and ropes installed by dedicated Sherpas, Tibetans or a joint effort by commercial teams. Some outfits will market that their price includes ladders and ropes, but it’s not a difference when everyone has access to it at the same prices.

In comparing prices, note that any non-Nepali company must buy an $11,000 climbing permit for each person on the team, and that includes guides. Nepali citizens pay $750 for a climbing permit, thus saving thousands of dollars for the overall expedition. Many times those savings are passed on as lower expedition prices.

One final thought, I think all these models can get the appropriately experienced client safely to the summit of Everest and back home; however, your experience and style may differ dramatically. I always suggest obtaining references from someone similar to you in climbing experience, age and budget. I regularly recommend all of these models to my Summit Coach clients.

Let’s look at them in detail:

Sherpa Supported Expedition

Please note this is Sherpa-supported, not guided and what most Nepali-owned companies offer.

For about $45,000, you can climb on a Sherpa-supported expedition. The cost is roughly the same as last year. The company organizes all the logistics: permits, food, group gear, transportation, plus Sherpa support but does not provide western guides. Sometimes, there will not be a lead Sherpa guide or a Personal Sherpa who will climb with you throughout the expedition but only be with you for the summit push. 

The Sherpas may or may not speak English well, and some will likely follow your lead to push forward or turn back. You are fully responsible for your safety and life.

You must be extremely careful when selecting among these companies as some are excellent and others lacking. A Sherpa will climb with you on summit night, but you might be on your own with random teammates throughout the rest of the acclimatization climbing process, including preparing meals at the high camps. It is common to find yourself climbing only with a Sherpa or by yourself. The Sherpas may have attended a climbing school, like the Khumbu Climbing Center (KCC), which is excellent. Still, they may lack suitable medical training and not be of significant help in a health crisis other than getting you lower, which is substantial and often life-saving.

Asian Trekking specializes in this style of climb and is outstanding. 8K Expeditions, Thanserku, Pioneer and Seven Summits Treks are good options at a lower cost. Many small one-person Nepali companies offer even lower prices. Look to pay between $35,000 and $45,000 for this option. This option is suitable for climbers with significant high-altitude experience, including other 8000-meter peaks. It is not for the novice or first-timer on an 8000-meter peak.

Sherpa Guided Expedition

Please note this is Sherpa-guided, not supported.

International Mountain Guide’s (IMG) Classic Everest climb is a Sherpa-guided expedition that has an experienced Sherpa lead climber throughout the route. IMG charges $49,500 for this model. Climbing The Seven Summits offers a similar program for $48,000. Nepali operators like 8K Peaks, Expedition Himalaya, Imagine Nepal, and Dreamers Destination are good local options. Usually, this model depends on a highly experienced senior Sherpa, or Sidar, to make big decisions, such as when to go for the summit or turn around. Also, there is often a Westerner or extremely experienced Sherpa overseeing the expedition in Base Camp, but not climbing.

An option is hiring a Personal Sherpa for an additional $5,000 to $10,000 plus 5% to 20% for tips and bonuses. These Sherpas have gained significant experience and training in dealing one-to-one with western members. Their English skills are usually excellent, but similar to a Sherpa-supported climb, they may lack formal medical training but have tremendous real-world experience, and you will never climb alone.

While they will not carry all your gear, they may offload some items from time to time. They will be with you exclusively on your summit night, even if you turn around before the summit. This style is appropriate for climbers with 8000-meter experience and strong climbing skills but not for novices. I used this model with IMG and Kami Sherpa in 2011 for my summit and was very pleased.

Fully Guided

Fully guided expeditions are ‘full service’ trips and are most appropriate for first-time Everest climbers or anyone looking for more support. The cost varies widely, ranging from $65K to $100K. The fee includes all the services of a Sherpa-guided climb plus sharing one or more extremely experienced Sherpa and/or western guides. Usually, they have IFMGA certification. If you want a personal western or high-profile Sherpa guide, expect to pay $120K or more, plus tips and bonuses close to $175K. A few are asking for several hundreds of thousands.

The primary point of this approach is you are climbing close to a highly qualified guide who most likely has summited Everest, and other 8000-meter mountains, many times. There are usually no language barriers, and many will have, at minimum, Wilderness Medical Training (WMT) or better. The guide will make all the decisions about turnaround times, weather, and emergency management.

On these higher-end expeditions, you should have high-quality food ranging from better prepared to exotic. For example, one operator likes to promote its sushi and another 5 Star chef. Then there are espresso machines and open bars – in other words, the sky’s the limit, all at a cost. The most expensive guide companies (Adventure Consultants, AAI, Alpenglow, Elite, Furtenbach, CTSS, Madison, etc.) always come with several highly qualified guides, and you never climb alone.

Top, Top End

Seven Summits Treks, which caters to the China market, offers “VVIP Everest Expedition 2023.” They no longer list prices on their website, but the last time they did, it was $130,000, probably higher now. It includes:

  • Training: Ice wall and Ladder training at basecamp by UIAGM Guide.
  • Base Camp: Personal the North Face / Kailas Tent for Member, Private Kitchen tent, Private Dining Tent, One Communication Tent, Private Shower tent, Private toilet tent, and Kitchen Utensils. Also, private camp at each high camp.
  • High Camps: High Altitude Tent, Necessary cooking EPI gas, cooking pot for a member, High food for a member, Sherpa, all climbing and cooking crew at (C1) (C2) (C3) (C4). All climbing gears, fixed and dynamic rope during the climbing period, as required.
  • Helicopter Service: All Helicopter flights are as per the Itinerary. From Kathmandu to Namche, Namche to Dingboche, During the expedition, return to Kathmandu and after Expedition from Everest BC to Kathmandu. Helicopter flight from Everest base camp – Kathmandu – Everest Base camp via Namche (1 time).
  • One UIAGM-certified Guide.
  • More than three times or equivalent 3 Everest Summiteer Sherpa.
  • 12 bottles supplementary Oxygen (02) cylinder.
  • 24 hr Personal mountain medical doctor for any injuries during the expedition.
  • Rescue Team of Sherpa at Camp 2, for emergency and rescue purposes.
  • 24 hr satellite phone and internet facilities.
  • Unlimited Internet
  • Additional Lobuche Peak Climbing Package inclusive.
  • One Personal Photographer during the trip.

Another top-end option is from Austrian-based Furtenbach Adventures with their Signature Everest Expeditions. For $217,000, you add to their high-service standard trips:

  • All services of our Everest Flash™ Expedition North or Everest Flash™ Expedition South i.e., a minimized expedition duration of just three weeks through pre-acclimatization, as well as the following private services:
  • Full support (including throughout the pre-expedition preparation phase)
  • Private mentoring from Lukas Furtenbach
  • Personalized training plan put together by a professional Sports Physiologist
  • Personalized nutrition plan and consultation with a certified High-Performance Sports Dietician
  • Pre-expedition medical consultation by a High-Altitude Doctor
  • Private IFMGA / AMGA mountain guide for the duration of the whole expedition
  • 2 personal Climbing Sherpas with a minimum of 5 Everest ascents to their name
  • Premium accommodation in Kathmandu/Chengdu and Lhasa
  • 80 m2 heated dome tent with private bathroom in basecamp
  • VIP transfers
  • Unlimited supplemental oxygen
  • Unlimited medical advice from the team doctor
  • Video footage and photographs of your expedition

And not to be left out is Climbing the Seven Summits’ high-end trip notion they call the “8848- The Residence” There is an unspecified additional fee on top of the standard fees that range from $50,000 to $120,000.

  • Private ensuite with hot shower
  • Private WC and wash basin with mirror
  • Personal stove heater
  • A King sized bed with a comforter & pillows
  • CTSS unichill onesie PJs
  • Personal charging facilities, overhead lighting*
  • Table and chair to create a private workspace that allows professionals and business executives to productively use valuable downtime at base camp to continue to manage work obligations or to simply keep up with friends and family and update social media.
  • A chest of drawers and a clothes rack
  • Raised, carpeted flooring to insulate from the glacier
  • Personal humidifier
  • Morning beverage service
  • Shoe rack
  • Single rooming throughout the expedition in Kathmandu & teahouses

Note that almost every foreign guide company offers multiple options today, from Sherpa-guided/supported to Western-guided to private climbs. Also, most companies now offer climbs to Camp 2 or the North Col and not to the summit. Some are supplying oxygen and a person Sherpa for each climber.

Rapid Climbs

A relatively new option offered by many foreign guides and a few Nepali ones is the fast climb of two to four weeks. The primary market is people with can spend over $100,000 but cannot be away from work for more than a month. Alpenglow and Furtenbach have been the most aggressive with this model, but others offer it.

The rationale is that you conserve energy and reduce the risk of illness by minimizing your time on the mountain. Using an altitude tent 30 days before leaving home, you arrive at base camp acclimatized to at least 17,000 feet. Thus you eliminate one or more acclimatization rotations and increase your chances of summiting. And, of course, you can hurry back home and get back to work as soon as possible.

The package usually includes pre-acclimatizing in an altitude tent a month before leaving home, an IFMGA guide, virtually unlimited oxygen flowing up to 8 lpm in some cases, and plenty of Sherpa support. Unfortunately, this extra support drives the price to $100,000 or more.



Let’s look deeper at a few questions.


Do I have to take the standard routes?

No. You can get a permit to climb any of the 20 named routes on Everest or make up your own. If you want to traverse Nepal to Tibet or the other way, you will need to get permits from both countries; however, China has refused to issue permission from their side for many years. In 2017 a climber illegally made the traverse and was deported and banned for five years. He claimed it was a medical emergency.

Can I Climb Everest Alone?

Officially no. The Nepal Ministry of Tourism requires every climber to hire a Sherpa guide. The CMA has a similar requirement. But like everything around Everest, there are exceptions, and most rules are never enforced. In my opinion, the only actual solo ascent of Everest was by Rhinehold Messner on the Tibet side in 1980, but even he had a base camp cook.

Climbing Everest alone on the standard route is almost impossible due to the crowds, especially in spring. Perhaps a quiet climb in summer or winter, when few people attempt Everest, would work; however, the Sherpa requirement is theoretically still in place.

What is the minimum I can spend to climb Everest?

You can climb independently without oxygen, Sherpa, or cook support, only paying for ropes on the south side to save money. Avoiding using the ladders in the Khumbu Icefall would be almost impossible, but you could climb to the Western Cwm on Nuptse’s lower slopes and bypass the Icefall. 

For one person, this would cost at least $31,000 from Nepal. See “Permits and Insurance” above in this piece. With the minimum rules on the Tibet side, it would be challenging to climb alone. Even splitting group expenses, the base costs add up to $26,000 each for a seven-person team. When you add in oxygen and base camp support, a one-person climb with Sherpa support approaches $45,000, and a seven-person team leveraging the group costs comes in at $37,000.

Old-timers will brag about climbing Everest in the early 2000s or before for $5,000. Even then, this price assumed no support, no oxygen, no contribution to the fixed ropes or ladders, no weather forecasting, etc. This post takes most people who want to climb relatively comfortably and not eat rice every meal for six weeks.

What is the difference between a $30K and a $65K Everest Climb?

There is a real difference in offerings by some companies and very little with others, so it’s up to the climber to shop wisely.

The general rule is that the lower the price, the larger the team. A high-volume team may have 50 clients at $30,000 each compared to a small team with 10 clients at $75,000 each. In other words, $1.5M vs. $750,000 – it’s all about the business model, similar to airlines.

At the high end, it is often profit, overhead, and the number of western or highly qualified IFMGA guides. Also, how many services are bundled into one price versus offered as options? The lowest price outfits promote a low price and offer “options” such as oxygen, Sherpa support, or even food above base camp. One UK-based outfitter provides a low price for the north side but does not include oxygen, summit bonuses, or other options that almost everyone has at their base price.

Another common practice to keep expedition costs low is to pay support staff the absolute minimum, whereas fully guided expeditions usually pay a livable wage for their entire team. But often, it is the availability of resources:

  • Extra Sherpas
  • Backup supplies (ropes, tents, oxygen bottles, etc.)
  • Medical facilities
  • Communications and profit
  • Overhead for the operator

One well-known low-cost operator had their tents destroyed one year, had no backup, and had to beg other operators for spares … they also ran out of food.

An example of price confusion is Sherpa’s bonuses. A low-price service may not include a bonus, whereas another may. For instance, one Nepali company asks the climber to pay $1,500 to their Sherpa if they reach the South Col and another $500 if they leave for the summit. The tips are in addition to the base price. But a different company includes these bonuses in their overall package. Tipping your Sherpa and western guide an additional amount is customary in both cases.

Cure Alzheimer's Fund on EverestHow many people have summited Everest?

Statistics Updated through December 2022

The Himalayan Database reports that through December 2022, there have been 11,341 summits (5,620 members and 5,018 hired) on Everest by all routes by 6,338 different people. 1,487 people, including 1,048 Sherpa, have summited multiple times for 5,003 total summits. There have been 822 summits by women members.

The Nepal side is more popular, with 7,695 summits compared to 3,646 from the Tibet side. 35 climbers have traversed from one side to the other. Member summit success stands at 40%, with 5,620 who attempted the summit, making it out of 14,187 who tried. About 62% of all expeditions put at least one member on the top. 668 climbers have summited from both Nepal and Tibet. 140 climbers have summited more than once in a single season, including 70 who summited within seven days of their first summit that season.

Kami Rita Sherpa (Thami) holds the record for most summits at 27 and Kenton Cool, UK, at 16 for a non-Sherpa. Six other Sherpa have 20 or more summits, and an astounding 115 people have ten or more Everest summits.

How Safe is Everest?

309 people (199 westerners and 110 Sherpas) died on Everest from 1924 to December 2022, about 2.7% of those who summited or a death rate of 1.11 of those who attempted to make the summit. Of note, 73 Everest member climbers out of 188 members deaths died descending from the summit or 38%. 13 women died.

The Nepal side has 199 deaths or 2.9%, a rate of 1.12. The Tibet side has 110 deaths or 3%, a rate of 1.09. Most bodies are still on the mountain, but China has removed many bodies from sight on their side. On the Nepal side, most bodies are retrieved and returned home in modern times. The top causes of death are avalanches (77), falls (72), altitude sickness (37) and exposure (26).

In 2022 there were 683 summits, including only 12 from Tibet as it was closed. All but 5 used supplemental oxygen. There were three deaths.

Everest is actually getting safer even though more people are now climbing. From 1923 to 1999: 170 people died on Everest, with 1,169 summits or 14.5%. But the deaths drastically declined from 2000 to 2022, with 10,171 summits and 139 deaths or 1.4%. However, three years skewed the death rates, with 17 in 2014, 14 in 2015 and 11 in 2019. The reduction in deaths is primarily due to better significantly higher Sherpa support ratios, improved supplemental oxygen at higher flow rates (up to 8 lpm) gear, weather forecasting and more people climbing with commercial operations.

Of the 8000-meter peaks, Everest has the highest absolute number of deaths (member and hired) at 309 but ranks near the bottom with a death rate of 1.11. Annapurna is the most deadly 8000er, with one death for about every four summits (72:395) or a 3.59 death rate. Cho Oyu is the safest, with 4,038 summits and 52 deaths or a death rate of 0.55, with Lhotse next at 0.69. K2’s death rate has fallen dramatically from the historic 1:4 to around 1:8, primarily due to more commercial expeditions with huge Sherpa support ratios.

Which side should I climb, north or south?South Col Route

Both sides have a lot to offer: the Mallory and Irvine mystery in 1924 in Tibet and Nepal, with the first summit by Hillary and Norgay in 1953.

The comparison between sides is pretty simple. The north is colder, windier, and dustier; some feel technically harder since you climb on more exposed rock. The south has the Khumbu Icefall, which some now fear. The Nepal side is more popular, with 7,695 summits compared to 3,646 summits from the Tibet side. 

When choosing sides, remember that as of 2023, China does not allow helicopter rescues on its side. However, that might change as they are building a massive Mountaineering Center at base camp to cater to tourists and have said they will start helicopter rescues as part of the center.

One can cherry-pick the numbers to prove almost any point on which side is safe. The death rate in Nepal is 1.12, and in Tibet is 1.09. The bottom line is death happens on both sides of Everest, and it often comes down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A lot comes down to the experience you are seeking. 

Should I Use Supplemental Oxygen?


It is rare to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen; 221 climbers summited without supplemental oxygen, about 1.9%. Digging deep into the data reveals that of the 309 deaths, 170 were not using O’s when they perished, but this is a bit misleading because many of the deaths, 121 to be precise, were doing route preparation, primarily by Sherpas. Most would not have used Os because they were low on the mountain. A case in point was the 2014 ice serac release and the 2015 earthquake that killed 31 people in all, and they were below Camp 1 and not using oxygen.

If we look at climbing in modern times, i.e., from 1990 to 2021, we can see that 133 members (not Sherpas) summited without supplemental oxygen, and 39 died, or 30%. This rate compares with the 5,132 members who summited with O’s, saw 133 die or 2.5%

Supplemental oxygen gives the body a 3,000-foot advantage. In other words, when the climber is at 28,000 feet, the body feels like 25,000 feet. The main benefit of supplemental oxygen is that you feel warmer, thus allowing the heart to pump blood and oxygen to fingers and toes, thus reducing the risk of frostbite.

While climbing without Os is a serious accomplishment, it is not for everyone. Many try, and few succeed.

How Do I Pay for an Everest Climb?

Getting the money is almost always more challenging than climbing Everest. People become very creative when finding money. Some take out loans and refinance their home mortgage; others have the infamous “rich uncle.” Then some set up a website to sell t-shirts or ask for “donations” from strangers. Believe it or not, this works to raise some money but rarely enough to cover all the expenses.

But the most common way to fund an Everest climb is to make it a priority in your budget by setting money aside each month for as long as it takes. This approach is how I funded 26 of my big climbs since starting at age 38.

The question of obtaining a sponsor often comes up. Unfortunately, getting sponsored by a large outdoor gear or other company is extremely difficult. People have more success with large corporations like insurance or banks. There are ways to obtain a sponsor, but it takes years of work, a solid plan, and proven experience, and it often comes down to who you know and a lot of luck.

Climbing for a charity or a cause is popular, but be careful not to use your cause to fund a climb. In my opinion, asking for donations to pay for a climb is a poor practice.

You can read more about my own experiences with The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything and thoughts for sponsorship at this link.

What are my Chances?

Be wary of claims of 100% summit success. Recently, operators have calculated success by counting only those who left the High Camp for the summit. They don’t include anyone who paid to climb Everest with them, arrived at Base Camp and didn’t leave for their summit bid from the High Camp. In other words, they may have started with 20 people, had 5 drop out before the summit push, and another three give up before reaching the South Col, leaving 12 to go to the top. All ten made it, so they claim 100% when it’s 60%.

Historically about 62% of all expeditions have put at least one member on the summit. In recent years, long-time western operators like Jagged Globe, Adventure Consultants, Furtenbach, Madison Mountaineering, and others regularly put almost every member on the summit.
Today operators use the standard routes, so there are fewer unknowns. That, along with improved weather forecasting, extra supplemental oxygen, and generous Sherpa support, has made Everest one of the safest 8000-meter mountains and the most summited 8000er by a considerable margin.

Why Everest?

Let’s wrap up with why even climb Everest at all. It is trendy to criticize anyone who has or is planning a climb. Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air set a negative tone and profiled climbers as rich, inexperienced, and selfish after his one climb in 1996. In my experience with six climbs on Everest or Lhotse, the opposite is today’s reality.

To be fair, in recent years, the marketing of low-cost expeditions is attracting inexperienced climbers. This price move is all about supply and demand. All the puffery from the Nepal government about making Everest safer will have zero impact on this because all involved, government officials to guide companies to guides, benefit from the profit.

If you want to attempt the world’s highest peak, do the work:

  1. Get the proper experience, train your body to be in “Everest Shape” and prepare your mind to push yourself harder than you ever thought possible.
  2. Earn the right to climb Everest, don’t just expect money buy the right.
  3. Select a team that matches your experience, be smart, be humble and savor every moment.

Preparing for Everest is More than Training

summit coach

If you dream of climbing mountains but are not sure how to start or reach your next level, from a Colorado 14er to Rainier, Everest, or even K2, we can help. Summit Coach is a consulting service that helps aspiring climbers throughout the world achieve their goals through a personalized set of consulting services based on Alan Arnette’s 27 years of high-altitude mountain experience and 30 years as a business executive. Please see our prices and services on the Summit Coach website.


My Thoughts on Everest?

I summarized my thoughts in a post, “I want to climb Everest.”

Climbing Everest is not easy. It is not for beginners. It is not to be rushed. Climbing Everest is a privilege. It is a right that should be earned. When you fly into Kathmandu, you may see Everest out your window. It is at the same level as your airplane is flying. Let that sink in.

Climbing Everest is hard. It tests you in ways you never knew possible. You will understand that several months after you get home – regardless of your result. So, yes, climbing Mount Everest, Chomolungma, Sagarmatha, or Peak XV is life-changing. Climb with confidence that you are prepared, knowledgeable, and with a clear sense of purpose.

If you summit, it will change your life. If you attempt it, it will change your life. But no matter the results, the experience is what you take away – not the summit. Research, train, prepare and climb with confidence. The reward is worth the pain. The summit is worth the cost.

Climbing Everest can change your life.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything


Everest Pictures and Video

© all images owned and copyrighted by Alan Arnette unless noted

A tour of Everest Base Camp 2016

Alan Arnette is the oldest American to summit K2 in 2014 and has six expeditions on Everest or Lhotse, with a summit of Everest in 2011. He climbs to raise money and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease.

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