While researching for the Mt. Everest Money Simulation, I came across some cool money facts I couldn’t wait to share with you to help bring alive Everest for kids + parents.
My research, talks with experts, emails to actual summiters, etc. has brought up lots of learning, especially in the money realm of what it takes to attempt the climb to the top of the world.
I thought it’d be fun to share some of these money facts about Everest with you, whether you have the opportunity to go through the program or not.
Psst: Interested in updates on the Mt. Everest Money Simulation, including how your own child can go through it? Click the image below to subscribe and be the first to hear more. And don’t miss out on my two Everest for kids book posts, Everest for Kids Reading List, and Yaks and Yetis: Exploring Everest for Kids through Books.
Everest Money Fact #1: The Cost of a Helicopter Rescue Mission
Evacuations off of Mt. Everest can be attempted for a variety of reasons, such as broken bones, injuries from avalanches, such as the one that hit the mountain in 2015 when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the country of Nepal.
While the Nepal Army used to be the main provider of helicopter services, today it’s a private company, Fishtail Air, that is in charge of many of the evacuations.
The cost of a helicopter evacuation depends on where the flight starts and flies to, and is usually between a whopping $4,000 and $20,000.
Everest Money Fact #2: The Nepalese Government Set a Minimum Sherpa Pay Rate
The Sherpa are an ethnic group living in the Khumbu mountain area of Nepal where they raise yaks and farm. They were nomads (meaning a people traveling from pasture to pasture to feed their livestock with no permanent home), and migrated from Eastern Tibet around 500 years ago to the foothills of Mt. Everest. Because of where they live, they’ve become acclimatized to high altitudes, more so than other people.
They never used to climb mountains, especially not for sport. However, in the 1920s when the British were first Himalayan mountaineering, they hired Sherpas as porters to carry their supplies. Thus began a very lucrative and dangerous relationship with Western expeditioners to Everest.
Just like we have the minimum wage here in the United States, currently set at $7.25/hour, the Nepalese government decided to protect Sherpas by setting a minimum pay rate for them.
While the average Nepalese earns $700 income annually, Sherpas who climb Everest can make between $3,000 and $5,000 in a single season. Those who summit typically earn more.
The minimum wage for Sherpa guides and porters is 2,000 Nepalese Rupees (about $23/day).
Everest Money Fact #3: Travel Insurance Policies have a “Peak” Coverage Limit
If you look deep into your health insurance policy, you likely are not going to find coverage for being evacuated from the top of the world.
In fact, most travel insurance policies peak out at above 4,000 meters (about 13,123 ft, so not even Everest Base Camp, which sits at 17,500 ft.), so they’re no good on Everest.
This is why Everest climbers should buy evacuation insurance, which will pay for a helicopter to get you off the mountain in the event of an emergency (so long as the helicopter can semi-safely get to you).
Everest Money Fact #4: The Cost of Evacuation Insurance
I priced an actual Evacuation Insurance policy from TripAssure, an actual company used by Everest expeditioners for the Mt. Everest Money Simulation. For a 28-year old male from Colorado, it came to $4,069. There is no deductible on this plan, meaning if you need a helicopter evacuation, you don’t need to pay anything else in addition to the premium paid.
Everest Money Fact #5: Hot Air Balloon Ride over Everest for $4.8 million
Chris Dewhirst is offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience on IfOnly.com: a hot air balloon expedition to soar over the top of Mt. Everest. And the cost? Just $4.8 million per person.
Which includes, “an attempt at crossing Mt. Everest in a hot air balloon, not necessarily the successful completion of that journey.”
I mean, who can guarantee Everest? No one, really.
Everest Money fact #6: Everest Expeditions Account for 4% of Nepal GNP
GNP, or Gross National Product, is the total value of all products and services produced in a country in one year. Each year, Everest expeditions alone bring Nepal in around $500,000 through things like permits, Sherpa pay, and climbers spending money on hotels (teahouses), food, and souvenirs.
This accounts for around 4% of Nepal’s total GNP.
Everest Money Fact #7: You Need a Permit to Climb Everest, and it Costs Money
You can’t just climb Everest, either from the Tibet (China), North side, or from the Nepal, South side. Both governments require you purchase a permit from them to do so.
- Tibet (China) Permit: $9,950/climber (and must be in a group of 4 climbers, at least)
- Nepal Permit: $11,000/climber
Everest Money Fact #8: There is a Deposit Fee for Your Trash
It turns out Mt. Everest has a serious garbage problem. Between chocked oxygen bottles, human waste, and trash, there’s over 50 tons of trash everywhere.
To combat this situation, Nepal started requiring that each climber bring down 17.6 pounds of trash with them…or forfeit the $4,000 trash deposit they put up.
Everest Money Fact #9: An Everest expedition costs between $35,000 and $100,000
You can technically go to Nepal , buy the permits and supplies that you need, hire your own Sherpas to help, pay some fees to use the equipment from other expedition companies + the Icefall Doctors on the mountain, and climb Everest mostly on your own.
But it’s typically a much better decision to go with an expedition company who will take care of most of the logistics plus ensure your safety as much as it can be ensured while summiting a 29,035 foot mountain. Not only that, but you can split some of the costs across members of the team, such as the permit fees or the cooks.
The cost of climbing Everest has a huge range, from $35,000 for build-your-own-expeditions, to $100,000 where you can be served white wine in your tent.
If you’ve got a fascination with Everest, then be sure to share some of these money facts about Everest for kids + parents. It really helps shed some light on the climbing logistics as well as some Nepalese culture!