As the highest mountain peak in the world, Mount Everest in the Himalayas attracts many climbers from around the world who try to fulfil their desire of summiting a Himalayan peak, especially the Mount Everest. Nepal is a premier destination for climbers with 8 out of 14 highest peaks in the world. As of now, there are 326 mountain peaks that are open for climbing and mountaineering in Nepal. Mount Everest has always represented the ultimate challenge for mountaineers and there has been an increasing number of mountaineering enthusiasts wanting to attempt a summit of Everest.
Climbing Mount Everest is no easy task, to say the least. There is a great price involved, monetarily, physically and mentally. The real costs involved in climbing Mount Everest are quite high and have drawn criticism that the high charges allow only the very rich to climb the peak. There are fees that every climber must pay such as for travel, food, climbing permit, insurance and so on. When you look at the cost breakdown of an expedition to the Everest, it will include personal travel expenses, visa fee and immunizations. There expenses getting to base camp such as porters, yaks to carry luggage, food and park fee. Then there is the climbing fees and medical support fee and additional costs for the support staff including their travel and insurance. At a minimum, all of this works out to a total of $25,000 for one person alone. Under existing rules, a group of seven pays $70,000 but with the new fee structure in place, the same group will pay $77,000 as the government has started charging a flat per person fee irrespective of the size of the group.
However, there has been a move by the local tourism authorities to drop the fees, to make the adventure more accessible to mountaineers. The fee has been brought down to $11,000 and in off peak months, the fee drops to $2,500 to attract more mountaineers. This move has come in for a lot of criticism by people who are concerned about overcrowding on the mountain. However, discounted fees for group expeditions will be discontinued, to discourage large numbers of people climbing together, to reduce tensions on the mountain during the peak months. This way, it will be easier to manage the climbing teams, giving them more freedom. There are serious concerns about the environmental and safety implications of thousands of climbers who crowd the mountain in high season. The downside of this is the issue of safety of climbers, with smaller groups being more exposed to the dangers of climbing Everest. For the same reason, proper checks are done to ensure that climbers are capable of the expedition and sanctions are placed on companies that allow people to get into dangerous situations.
Though climbers can put together their own expedition with help with logistic help, it is wise to join a fully guided team. The majority of climbers join commercial expeditions as the costs are distributed among multiple climbers, reducing expenses and also improving safety. Because once a climber is up on the mountain, he will probably experience avalanches, hidden crevasses and extreme weather conditions, all of which are beyond his control.
Over the past few years, insurance companies around the world have been noting the increasing frequency and expense of evacuating climbers from Everest and its surrounding mountains. Typically, mountain rescues in the Himalayan Mountains have always been on an ad hoc basis. Though there have been improvements in technology and communication, there is still no 911 or professional search and rescue teams or government agencies to help. The climbers have to solely rely on outfitters or their team mates when they run into trouble, as there will always be dangers that are out of one’s control. Safety on Mount Everest is paramount as a single mistake can put one’s life in danger, no matter how good a climber he or she is. Since evacuations cost so much, it is good to choose a travel insurance policy that covers high risk situations and air evacuations. Most travel insurance policies give an option of adding emergency medical evacuations, so climbers should make sure they have paid for enough coverage before taking off on their Mount Everest adventure.