To compile the list of the most expensive mountains to climb, Outforia looked at everything from the cost of joining a guided climbing group, acquiring the necessary permits, the required equipment, to guides and sherpas to hire.
Scaling the highest peaks in the world requires a combination of hiking, rock climbing, ice climbing, and cold endurance, which naturally makes it quite a niche activity. You need to be mentally and physically ready, have expert skills and equipment, be experienced and aware of the dangers, as well as being able to fund your trip.
As there is so much preparation and equipment involved in tackling these daunting climbs, they can cost eye-watering sums in total. You’ll likely be going as part of a guided group, led by someone who is familiar with the mountain and has completed the climb multiple times before.
The top 10 most expensive climbs in the world (US$)
If the literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—by the likes of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jules Verne—imagined a link between the polar regions and insanity, the Belgica expedition confirmed it. The decades of frenzied Antarctic exploration that followed the voyage cemented the continent’s reputation as an inherently maddening place. Still today in Antarctic research stations, as modern amenities dull the ferocity of the environment and digital communications keep year-round personnel in touch with the outside world, madness lurks in the corridors.
How do you choose your next adventure when there are so many options available?
Wizarding up ideas for adventures is one of my favourite things to do. I find it enjoyable, exciting, but also easy. If I was a specialist I would need to search for something higher, harder and faster within my niche every time I wanted a new challenge. But because I am a generalist, I make the next adventure more challenging by making it differently challenging to previous projects. It is an important part of keeping adventure fresh for me.
I am surprised how often people tell me that they really want to do an adventure but don’t know what to do. Hopefully this walk-through of the way I come up with ideas might get your own adventure cogs whirring…
Dr. James Bowyer, a medical doctor for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), tells of life in Antarctica.
Since 2019, Dr. Bowyer has been based at the Rothera Research Station, a centre for biological research and a hub for supporting deep-field and air operations.
Standing on the Devon coast, my phone rings.
“Hi James, we’d like you to look after Rothera for us. Are you happy to take the job?”
“Yes, of course!”
After an hour-long interview only that morning, I have just signed up to work in Antarctica for eighteen months, providing medical cover for a research station of 27 people in the winter, 160 in summer. I would be the only doctor for at least half of that time, with only narrow windows for medical evacuation in case something goes wrong. My patch in the summer consists of an area the size of Europe, with deep-field teams scattered in some of the harshest environments on Earth.
So in the wake of the O’Brady saga, veteran polar guide Eric Philips, along with other senior members of the polar community, decided that standardization was overdue in the polar world. Over the past two years, they developed The Polar Expeditions Classification Scheme (PECS), which was launched earlier this week.
This passion took on a new life when I was diagnosed with a benign tumor in my abdomen five years ago. After a painful surgery and treatment, I made the decision—while still recovering in a hospital bed—to apply to run the Marathon de Sables, a 155.5-mile ultramarathon through the Sahara Desert, starting in Ouarzazate, Morocco. I moved to Morocco to train and live in a tent among other female athletes from around the world, and ended up being the 16th female to cross the finish line after five days.
Adventure to me is about being idle. That doesn’t mean you have to go on a huge expensive expedition—you can simply just set up camp in the wild close to home for the weekend. It’s about getting outdoors and disconnecting from the pressures of mundane life.
But I wasn’t going to give up. In November 2019, I strapped on my skis and made my second attempt. This time around, for the first 500 miles, I was skiing at world-record pace. Then an injury, one they call polar thigh, set in. (The motion of skiing into a headwind or tailwind can compress your legwear, and if there you don’t have enough insulation or any cold air gets trapped, you can suffer from polar thigh.) For me, it started as these small clusters of ulcers on my leg, which continued to get bigger and bigger over time.
Colin O’Brady is a professional endurance athlete, motivational speaker and adventurer. He is a three-time world record holder, and just became the first person in the world to travel across Antarctica unassisted. In 2016 he set the Explorers Grand Slam and Seven Summits speed records.