Everest Getting Cheaper?

Nepal could drop climbing fees for Everest, making them more competitive with Tibet

Climbing Everest from the popular Nepal side is an exclusive endeavor for a reason: You have to plunk down $25,000 in climbing fees just to get your shot—and none of that includes the gear, guide, food, lodging, and trekking fees that'll eat up your bank account. But the days of Everest remaining solely the province of the rich could come to an end soon, as Nepal is considering slashing their climbing fees.

Leading sherpa and expedition organizer Ang Tshering Sherpa spoke on behalf of the country's guiding companies to government officials, who hope to double tourist visitation by 2011. Sherpa thinks they can't do that without staying competitive with the cheaper fees on the Tibetan side of Everest.

"The royalty rates must be reduced if we have to compete in mountaineering," said Sherpa, who also runs a big hiking agency.

"If the cost of climbing is not competitive, climbers will naturally go to places where they can spend less and we will lose our business."

Tibet charges $500 for most lesser-known peaks, but potential price adjustments and discounted rates are unknown.

One thing to think about, Nepal: If you drop the prices, the dirtbags will come in droves, driving out champagne-swilling, millionaire explorers and bored doctors. Hope you all like slacklining and PBR.

—Ted Alvarez

Nepal urged to reduce Mt. Everest climbing fee (Reuters)