The crowds climbing Everest are spoiling one another’s views and polluting the region. Less than one-third will summit. 4% will die trying.
However the economies of Nepal and Tibet depend on these climbers, contributing some 10% of Nepal’s GDP.
A typical Everest package costs US$66,000 per climber — including $11,000 for government permits, US$14,000 for guides, US$5,000 for sherpas, US$4,000 for oxygen, plus US$1,000 for yaks and porters.
It’s an additional US$70,000 to retrieve your body should you fail trying.
When Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary first reached the summit of Everest in 1953, mountaineering was a sport reserved for alpine clubs, national expeditions, and scientific pursuits.
For decades, the governments of Nepal and Tibet (which share access to Everest) denied access to most foreign climbers. Throughout the 1980s, access was limited to one Everest permit per season.
But in the early 1990s, everything changed.
Realizing that there was a business opportunity in leading Western adventure seekers up Everest, climbers like Rob Hall (Adventure Consultants) and Scott Fischer (Mountain Madness) convinced Nepalese officials to expand foreign access. John Krakauer’s 1997 bestseller Into Thin Air, which chronicled the death of 8 climbers (including Hall and Fischer) on one of these early expeditions, only further stoked demand.
More » NYTimes (paywall) » After Deadly Jam on Everest, Nepal Delays New Safety Rules