Everest 2024 Coverage: Are Luxury Operators Being Targeted by Nepal?

Seven Summits Treks Manaslu 2022 Base Camp. Courtsey of Pasang Rinzee Sherpa

Out of the blue, Nepal announced new policies limiting “luxuries” offered by operators at Everest Base Camp. The authorities cited environmental impact but still allowed an unlimited number of people on the mountain each season. Luxuries on Everest are nothing new and are offered by most operators, but some are more than others. The limits on luxuries apply to Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam and are effective for the spring 2024 season.

Flat Screen TV Inside the Tiger Dome - 2010 EBC
Himalayan Experience (HIMEX) Flat Screen TV Inside the Tiger Dome – 2010 EBC

Share a Toilet

It appears that authorities are focusing on the footprint of each team and its members. For example, the size of the sleeping and dining areas and the number of toilet tents. Remember that teams can range in size from under 20 to over 200, and many teams use a large amount of space at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall.

Everest Base Camp 2011
Everest Base Camp 2011

Each team usually has at least a tent for cooking, dining, sleeping and a toilet. Others will add tents for storage and other needs. However, the ones that are getting the most attention are large domes and personal toilet tents attached to smaller domes for sleeping. In the old days, pre-2015, most sleeping tents were three-person North Face VE-25s.

Sleeping tents at EBC
Sleeping tents at EBC

Today, large “Box Tents” are popular, allowing an individual to stand upright, and many have cots to sleep on and perhaps a work table and chair.

Single-person Member Tents at Everest Base Camp. Courtesy of Imagine Nepal
Single-person Member Tents at Everest Base Camp. Courtesy of Imagine Nepal

The new regulations recycle an old one that was unevenly enforced. They only allow climbers with permits to sleep at base camp, and a new rule prohibits tents for “commercial use.” This is most likely targeting massage parlors, cafes, bakeries, and art dealers that have previously popped up, including a museum one year!

One interesting ban is for toilet tents attached to a sleeping tent. Also, box tents are banned above the base camp. Helicopters are now restricted from flying gear to base camp, so yaks will be used as they have for decades. This alone might eliminate many of the large luxuries like big-screen TVs.

Dome Tents at EBC
Dome Tents at EBC
Dome Tents at Camp 2 on Everest
Dome Tents at Camp 2 on Everest

Top, Top End

A handful of operators offer very high-end services that could be put in the luxury category. By the way, they often fill this program with well-heeled clients each year. One of the concerns for some packages beyond the footprint at base camp is the environmental impact of frequent helicopter flights and the use of generators. Also, the increased level of support climbers, usually Sherpas, adds to the crowds and the feces problem on Everest unless the operator enforces the use of WAG bags.

Seven Summits Treks offers “VIP Everest Expedition 2024.” They no longer list prices on their website, but the last time they did, it was $130,000, probably higher now, closer to $200,000. Perks beyond a standard expedition taken from their 2024 website include:

  • MEMBER INSURANCE: Travel and high-altitude insurance, accident, medical & emergency evacuation for the climbing member.
  • INSURANCE: Medical & Emergency rescue Insurance for all involved Nepalese staff, Sherpas and UIAGM Guide during the trek and expedition.
  • DUFFLE BAG: Two Seven Summit Treks’ Duffle Bag.
  • MEDICAL CHECKUP: A medical checkup in Kathmandu before the expedition to ensure that the member is fit to climb and identifies any potential health risks.
  • MEMBER TRANSPORTATION: All Helicopter flights are as per the Itinerary. From Kathmandu – Lukla – Namche, Namche – Dingboche, During the expedition, return back to Kathmandu and after Expedition from Everest BC to Kathmandu.
  • REST IN KATHMANDU: Helicopter flight from Everest base camp – Kathmandu – Everest Base camp via Namche (1 time) if required. Full Board accommodation at a 5-star hotel in Kathmandu.
  • TREKKING LOGISTIC: All necessary logistic management during the trek, along with a UIAGM guide and private cook, who will cook food for a member. Overnight stay at upgraded lodges (attached restroom), and all members’ personal belongings will be carried by porters or helicopter.
  • PHOTOGRAPHER / VIDEOGRAPHER: One Personal Photo / Videographer during the entire trip, including a filming permit.
  • MEMBER LUGGAGE: Up to 200 kg of members’ luggage during the trek was carried by porters and helicopters.
  • FOOD AND LODGING : 3 meals (no limit) a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including tea and coffee) along with accessible accommodation at the Hotel/Lodge during the trek and at the Basecamp. Hygienic and fresh green vegetables, fresh meat, fruits, soft drinks, and juice will be served regularly during the entire expedition using helicopter flights. Well-managed base camp set up for members & Staff.
  • DRINKING: Hot water, tea, coffee, beer, wine, etc., during the trek, and the Expedition is of no limit.
  • BASE CAMP STAFF: Experienced and well-trained Base Camp Cook & kitchen Helpers as required.
  • PRIVATE COOK: A private cook is provided during the entire expedition to prepare a variety of European, Continental, Asian, and Chinese meals for the members during the trek and expedition.
  • BASE CAMP TENT: Each member will have an individual box tent in Base Camp.
  • BASE CAMP EQUIPMENT: Single Box Tent, foam mattresses and pillow per member, 1 dining Tent, 1 Kitchen Tent, 1 Communication tent, 1 Toilet & 1 Shower Tent, 1 staff tent, 1 Tent for Nepalese base camp staff, Store tent, Tables & chairs & all necessary cooking gears.
  • WHITE DOME TENT: One White Big Dome luxury tent for dining, coffee station, and relaxation.
  • COFFEE/SPARKLING WATER/ALL BEVERAGE: All kinds of hot and cold beverages will be served during the trek and at the base camp.
  • BAKERY AND BAR AT BASE CAMP: Bakery and bar for the team members of Seven Summit Treks.
  • HEATER: Heater at base camp in each tent for members.
  • SOLAR/GENERATOR/LIGHT: 1 Solar panel and Generator for lights at base camp, battery charge, laptop and other electronic devices.
  • TELEVISION: One 42’’ television set with satellite dish home antenna at the base camp with DVD player and projector set.
  • TRAINING: Oxygen, Mask Regulator, Ice wall, and Ladder training at Basecamp by UIAGM Guide.
  • LOBUCHE PEAK CLIMB: All necessary arrangements for climbing Lobuche Peak.
  • DOCTOR: One medical doctor is at the base camp, along with a comprehensive medical kit for the member.
  • UIAGM GUIDE: 1 UIAGM guide will be with you from Kathmandu – Basecamp – High Camps – Summit – Basecamp – Kathmandu all the time for your Guidance.
  • HIGH ALTITUDE CLIMBING SHERPA: 4 veterans and government-licensed climbing Sherpa per member during the entire climb from Basecamp to the summit and back and on each rotation. They will be helping in each step during the ascent and carrying all the member’s belongings, oxygen bottles, and necessary stuff for high camps till the summit and back to the base camp.
  • ASSISTANCE: Climbing Sherpa to assist in carrying your gear to the high camps.
  • UIAGM AND CLIMBING SHERPA SALARY & ALLOWANCE: Climbing Sherpa’s Salary, Equipment, Food, and Clothing.
  • BONUS: Carry Bonus of Sherpas and Route Fixing Charges.
  • NEW OXYGEN CYLINDERS AND MASK REGULATOR FOR MEMBER: 15 Bottles of (4 Liters) Oxygen to members and two sets of tested brand-new masks and regulators.
  • OXYGEN AND MASK REGULATOR FOR SHERPAS: 5 bottles of oxygen to each climbing Sherpa and to UIAGM guide and 1 set of masks and regulators for each of them.
  • HIGH CAMP SERVICE (INFRASTRUCTURE AND LOGISTICS): High Altitude Tent, Necessary cooking EPI gas, cooking pot, High food for a member, Sherpa, and other crews at (C1) (C2) (C3) and (C4). Group climbing gear and fixed and dynamic ropes during the climbing period as required.
  • HIGH CAMP KITCHEN AND DINING: Member will have Mountain Hardware Space Station Kitchen and Dining Tent at Camp II.
  • HIGH ALTITUDE TENT: Members will share tents in high camps (2 members: 1 tent).
  • SPECIAL CARE BY DIRECTORS: Guidance and instruction by Mingma Sherpa, 1ST South Asian, to climb all 8000m. peak, Chhang Dawa Sherpa all 8000er summiteer and Tashi Lakpa Sherpa Multiple Everest Summiteer, and many more 8000 M Mountain Summiteer.
  • GAMOW BAG: 1 Rescue sled (Gamow bag) for an emergency.
  • RESCUE TEAM: A team of Sherpa at Camp II and Camp IV for emergency and rescue purposes.
  • UNLIMITED INTERNET SERVICE: THURAYA IP+ or Available Internet service at base camp and Camp II on an unlimited-use basis.
  • SATELLITE PHONE TO CALL: Provision of a Satellite Phone to call family, friends, and Relatives 1 hour a day.
  • WALKIE-TALKIE: WalkieTalkie for communicating from Base Camp to Mountain and Mountain to Base Camp.
  • PERMIT: Satellite Phone/walkie-talkie permit for all members and staff.
  • WEATHER FORECASTER: Weather forecast report from Meteotest, Bern (Switzerland), and Local weather report from Nepal Government during the entire expedition.
  • 12 HOURS HELI SERVICE: In case of need, we have our Helicopter as the priority for your safety all day.
  • RELAXATION TENT: Personal relaxation tent at Basecamp for members, a serene space where individuals can engage in yoga, meditation, head and foot massage, reading, and other calming activities.
  • SUMMIT BONUS: Summit bonus for UIAGM Guide, climbing Sherpa, and all basecamp and high camp staff tips are included.
Seven Summits Treks Manaslu 2022 Base Camp. Courtsey of Pasang Rinzee Sherpa
Seven Summits Treks Manaslu 2022 Base Camp. Courtsey of Pasang Rinzee Sherpa

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. Furtenbach is one of the few large guide companies that cite specific steps on their website to ensure sustainable expedition techniques and have a high standard for a low or even negative carbon footprint.

  • 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
  • A 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

Climbing the Seven Summits‘ offers a high-end trip option 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 washbasin 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 managing work obligations or 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
CTSS 8848 Residence interior
CTSS 8848 Residence interior
CTSS 8848 Residence Tent
CTSS “Everest Associate” Tent
CTSS Everest exec
CTSS Everest exec

Many operators have environmental, sustainability, or humanitarian support programs listed on their websites, but we know that actions speak louder than words. Of course, if every operator followed what was on their sites, there wouldn’t be the magnitude of the issues we see today. Operators with written policies include but are not limited to Adventure Consultants, Alpenglow, Alpine Ascents International, Asian Trekking, Benegas Brothers, Climbing the Seven Summits,  Elite Expeditions, Imagine Nepal,  International Mountain Guides, Furtenbach Adventures, Jagged Globe, Madison Mountaineering, Mountain Madness, Rainier Mountaineering Inc., Pioneer Adventures, Seven Summits Treks, and Summit Climb.

An Operator’s Reaction

I reached out to Mike Hammil, who founded and runs Climbing the Seven Summits, for his thoughts because he offers some of the most high-end amenities on Everest. They also have a strong philanthropic effect with the Tiger of the Snows Fund. He told me in an unfiltered email.

As you know, we’re all for protecting the environment and culture in the Khumbu/Everest region. We pioneered using sustainable energy at Base Camp with our huge solar array and battery banks. We’ve always invested in Leave No Trace principles, both on the trek, at Base Camp and on the Upper Mountain. We’ve invested a lot of money into training for the local community and supporting families through our “Tiger of the Snows Fund” non-profit. We are one of the “good guys” and are constantly striving to do our bit for industry improvement, not only in our camps on Everest but across mountaineering in general, all over the world.

These ‘restrictions’ have been dropped on our lap with absolutely no discussion or consultation with us as a key player in the industry and absolutely no warning a mere six weeks out from the expedition. Unfortunately, the way the restrictions are structured, we can only take them as a direct attack on our business vs. a realistic, positive and constructive way to lessen the environmental impact of the industry, which we have always been at the forefront of.

It would be helpful for businesses like CTSS to understand exactly how these last-minute restrictions are going to preserve “the culture and environment” and how they expect us to implement them. Who is making these decisions for the entire industry without input from the operators they target, like ourselves?

Further, they aren’t practical; for instance, how does reducing dining tent space to an unrealistic size of 10 sqft per person work? Does that mean there isn’t even enough space for each person to occupy a single chair? Not allowing our barista to make coffee (included as part of our service at no charge; this is not commercial) just puts our locally employed Nepali team out of a job. How does having an attached toilet with waste being carried away and disposed of in exactly the same way as our team toilets make a difference? People go to the bathroom at the same frequency.

It doesn’t seem like the motives behind these proposed regulations are very clear or truly for the purpose they purport to be. To be honest, it seems a simple way to attack businesses like ours, which attract climbers/trekkers wanting more comforts, which in turn gives us the ability to bring more money to the local economy through greater employment and influence how our clientele interact with the environment in a positive, more sustainable way.

As you know, we cater to a wide range of clientele by offering different levels of service and have long used the airplane analogy. The same plane is going to the same destination; we just have different cabins that appeal to different markets inside that plane, allowing us to attract more people to experience this beautiful country enjoyably.

My understanding is that much of this is being lobbied for by teahouse owners in Namche, who are afraid not as many climbers will drop back down the valley to use their services before the summit rotation, and by local outfitters that don’t want competition from higher-end services that they find it difficult to compete with so resort to guerilla tactics.

To be honest, it just feels like a slap in the face and makes us question operating in Nepal, where attacks, disguised as regulations, are imposed arbitrarily at the last minute. This seems to be a common tactic used by Nepali operators to hinder competition.

Sustainable Tourism

In 2017, the World Travel & Tourism Council launched a campaign to encourage sustainability in travel [https://www.dangerous-business.com/sustainable-travel-tips/]. The campaign “Is It Too Much to Ask?” outlines the best practices with the following ten pledges. Thanks to Maddison Mountaineering for this information.

Pledge 1 ›

I pledge to demand to see the environmental and social policies of the companies I book my travels with.

Pledge 2 ›

I pledge to read up on and understand the local culture in the destination I am traveling to, and I promise to respect my hosts, their way of life, and their way of dress by packing appropriately.

Pledge 3 ›

I pledge to limit myself to a 3-minute shower per day in areas where water is scarce.

Pledge 4 ›

I pledge to minimize my use of plastic and to dispose of it appropriately: never on the street and never in the ocean.

Pledge 5 ›

I pledge to buy local, including food, experiences, and guides.

Pledge 6 ›

I pledge to never take part in activities that will cause harm to animals.

Pledge 7 ›

I pledge to never visit sites of religious and cultural importance to local people if they do not wish it. If I am allowed to visit these places, I am committed to showing my respect and behaving appropriately.

Pledge 8 ›

I pledge to offset the CO2 impact of my holiday.

Pledge 9 ›

I pledge to educate myself, my family, and my friends based on my experiences and my knowledge of responsible travel and to talk to other experienced travelers in an effort to learn more about the world and sustainable best practices.

Pledge 10 ›

I pledge to give feedback to travel providers, to establish demand for sustainable practices and responsible travel, and to ask for more sustainable travel options in my recommendations. If a travel provider does not provide me with sustainable options, I will demand to know why and endeavor to change.


In my mind, I’m thinking about the free market and how airlines have different levels of service, and if there’s someone wants to pay for it, they can get it. That’s how the free market works. However, in my opinion, there are rational limits regarding luxuries on a mountain. I fully support smaller footprints in the mountains. For example, eliminating large dome tents at Camp 2 and having a personal dome sleeping tent and personal toilets at base camp seem unnecessary. Still, there is a market for this level of services, and operators should have a choice to meet that market request or not, as long as it is done in a sustainable manner.

Here’s to a safe season for everyone on the Big Hill.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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13 thoughts on “Everest 2024 Coverage: Are Luxury Operators Being Targeted by Nepal?

  1. About staying at EBC: several operators offer treks where clients sleep at the BC and are able to climb up to Camp II with the Everest hopefuls. This is relatively cheap as a bogus Nuptse expedition is simply set up using the same camps as Everest and Lhotse teams up tp C2 or even C3. Nuptse permit is only $600 per person, so no need to fork out Everest permit amounts for a trek.

  2. I think the problem is people who want a resort experience, instead of a climbing experience. Seems to me they would be better served by going to an actual resort, rather than tackling one of the most major climbing experiences in the world.

  3. I’ll be climbing with CTSS on their 3-peaks program in 2025. I’m a bit dismayed about the requirement that a stay at EBC would require a full Everest permit. How would this be enforced?

  4. Mike Hamill is an outstanding individual. Having trekked with CTSS, I know first hand his commitment to his clients and to Nepal. He would not make statements of the sort quoted in this article without careful consideration and thoughtful purpose. Both he and his company deserve better.

  5. This is an informative and interesting read. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Thank you for your thoroughness.

  6. More last minute insanity from the Nepal government. You would think they would understand how much they are embarrassing themselves. How about a few regulations that address real problems like incompetent climbers with inadequate experience or local Nepali operators cutting their names off tents at C2 and leaving them there?

    1. Hi Robert, this is very important concern. Do you have any bitter experience earlier? Can you explain little more about the concern you raised? Thank you.

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