The 4 Cheapest and 5 Most Expensive Mountains to Climb


Mountain climbing can be expensive, but the costs do depend on where you plan to ascend, so doing a little research beforehand would definitely be useful.

Which mountains are the cheapest or more expensive to climb? A lot of this depends on the time of the year, but generally speaking, Mount Sidley in Antarctica and Mt. Everest are vying for the top in terms of sheer expenses. On the cheaper end of the spectrum is Kilimanjaro in Africa and Aconcagua in South America, which both cost around $5,000 on average.

It’s worth noting that the expenses that come with climbing mountains involve more than access since accommodations, guides, gear, and food can all bankrupt you if you are not careful.

Top Mountains to Climb from Most Expensive to Cheapest

There are a lot of mountains in the world and a lot of them can be accessed for relatively no money. However, since this is a mountaineering guide, let’s take a look at peaks that are worth getting excited over. This section will be focusing on these peaks with the main goal being to discuss the costs that come with them.

This is important because knowing the costs will:

·         Prevent you from going over budget

·         Help you prepare the adequate amount

·         Allow you to calculate other costs

·         Convince you if the climb is worth it

·         Balance the expenses relative to gear and other essentials

To that end, it would be best to take a look at the table below to find some good information about mountains that you can climb, sorted from most expensive to least. It is worth noting that the figures would only apply to the guide fees. These are basically what you pay to have someone or a group take you up the mountain and back safely:

MountainGuided Tour Cost
Mt. Everest$65,000 to 75,000
Mt. SidleyUp to $56,000
Mt. VinsonUp to $42,000
Carstensz Pyramid$27,000 minimum
Mt. Cho-Oyu$23,500 on average
Mt. McKinley$8,500 minimum
Mt. Elbrus$5,000 minimum
Mt. Kilimanjaro$5,000 minimum
Mt. Aconcagua$4,7000 minimum

As already mentioned, these details are meant only to showcase how much it would cost to climb the mountains above via a guided tour. They don’t take anything else into account and it is also worth remembering these costs could change. Those figures only include the average that you would need to pay.

What’s more, some of the costs that come with guiding climbers up a mountain can go astronomically higher if there are special conditions that come with the task. That is to say, if you want to stay longer or conduct activities that are not usually the norm, then you will need to pay extra. There are also restricted areas around mountains that you cannot access without added costs.

Mt. Everest – Located in Asia, this popular climbing destination is the most expensive mountain to summit for several reasons. One is its height, which can take several days to ascend from the base to the top. It requires the help of several porters and supplies. The permits and the accommodations required to stay there are high, as well.

It has even been said that a climb to Mt. Everest has become overly commercialized. This is true, to an extent, with so many locals depending on climbers for their livelihood. With the demand for guides going up, it’s no wonder that costs have risen, as well.

Mt. Sidley – This frigid mountain in Antarctica holds the second position on the list of expensive peaks to climb simply due to its location and distance. As a literal peak at the end of the world, it comes with considerably more risks for both the climbers and the guides.

Mt. Vinson – Similar to Mt. Sidley, Mt. Vinson comes with all of the relevant factors that makes it quite the dangerous trek to make. The starting point is Punta Arenas, Chile and it can take up to 23 days to reach this summit.

Carstensz Pyramid – This Indonesian mountain is quite the rocky climb, which means that you will need to be reasonably proficient in rock climbing if you want to ascend it. Naturally, this means more gear and more skills from the guides. Considering the difficulty of the trip, though, the costs are reasonable.

Mt. Cho-Oyu – Located in Tibet, Mt. Cho-Oyu is a smaller neighbor of Mt. Everest, which makes it seem smaller by comparison. However, this is still considered the sixth highest peak in the world, which makes climbing it quite the feat in and of itself.

Mt. McKinley – While not as well-known as its more popular Asian counterparts, Mt. McKinley is still an impressive summit to climb. Your starting point is usually Anchorage, Alaska and the whole trip can last on average of 22 days. For the guided tour costs, the figure is relatively cheap.

Mt. Elbrus – Costing only relatively inexpensive $5,000 on most days, this mountain is located in Europe. It does not come with nearly the same prestige as some of the expensive climbs on this list, but it is still worth going if you are looking for excellent views.

Mt. Kilimanjaro – Then we have our African entry, which is actually quite popular among both novice and veteran climbers. Mt. Kilimanjaro is something of a favorite for those who have never gone on extensive climbs before due to the ease of which it can be achieved. The costs are quite low, as well, despite the amenities and service that you can get.

Mt. Aconcagua – Finally, there is Mt. Aconcagua, which is highly recommended for those who simply want a moderately challenging climb that will provide plenty of bragging opportunities. This is the cheapest climb option on this list and if you are looking to scratch a name off your bucket list, this is definitely one of the most accessible.

Relevant Costs in Mountain Climbing

It’s worth repeating that the figures that were listed in the section above basically refer only to the cost of a guided climb. Those will go to the company or the people who will be taking you to the summit, with the expressed conditions being getting you there and back safely. However, those are just a fraction of what you will be spending for the climb.

For a reference as to what other expenses you will be incurring during the trip, you can refer to the items below:

·         Gear

·         Training

·         Accommodations

·         Food

·         Travel

·         Licenses and permits

Naturally, these particular expenses will differ depending on the circumstances. However, with the gear alone, it would not be unreasonable for you to spend as much as $13,000. This includes both the equipment and the outfits that you will be bringing along.

Then there is training, which you will certainly need to do if you are going to climb any of the mountains that are listed above. Different training companies will have different methods of teaching, but when factoring in the fees, the equipment, and the time, spending $6,000 would not be out of the question.

With regards to accommodations and food, this would be entirely up to your discretion. Hardcore climbing enthusiasts hardly ever stay in luxurious hotels and dining on expensive food. Instead, they choose the cheapest inns and rooms they can find while living off of the local fare or bringing preserved items.

As for travel expenses, these include plane tickets, land transport, and potentially even boats or beasts of burden. There are many times in which mountains can only be accessed via horses or donkeys, so be ready to spend money for those.

Finally, there are the various licenses and permits that you will need to get before you can even begin to climb. These will need to be processed both via your local government officials, as well as the various agencies that will be handling such affairs at your destination. You could handle all of this yourself if you want, but you could also just leave it to whichever travel agency you are using.

Other miscellaneous expenses can also include insurance, shots, and communication. You will be traveling to another country or region if you choose any of the mountains listed above, after all. You will need to be immunized from whatever diseases can be found there. What’s more, you will be explicitly risking your life by attempting to climb a mountain.

Some climbers choose to forgo insurance in favor of saving money, but this is not advised. In the event that you get injured or get sick, the expenses can quickly skyrocket. You might not even have enough money to come home.

Then there is the issue of how remote the region you will be going to. In many of the cases presented above, communication will be a major problem. Your regular smartphone will not likely work, which will require you to get a satellite phone.

How Much Does It Cost to Climb Mt Everest?

The guided climb cost of ascending Mt. Everest was already brought up and it was already mentioned how that is not the only expense involved in climbing this summit. So, how much are you actually likely to spend if you do decide to climb Mt. Everest?

At the extreme end of the typical spectrum, a climb can cost up to $115,000 with all amenities provided. This includes supplies, tents, and of course, the sherpas that will act as transporters and guides. However, the operative word there is “typical.” That figure only applies for when you want the climb to go as smoothly as possible without any added caveats.

However, the costs can go up even higher if you have other demands. A personal Sherpa is one of them and if you want a western guide, this will be another added expense. All in all, if you really want to climb Everest in style, you might be looking at costs of around $150,000 or more.

As for the gear, personal equipment can cost you a nifty $2,000 and this is just for the minimum that you would need in order to reach the base camp. That is basically the starting point, where you will then make your way up to the summit. At this point, you can reasonably claim that you have climbed Mt. Everest and then turn back.

However, if you want to go all the way and actually stand at the very top of the world, then your expenses for personal gear can go up as high as $8,000. This could be included in the special package that you can spend with the guided climb, but the equipment you get will not be those you went out of your way to choose.

Equipment that you were given under restricted circumstances will serve you well enough and with those kinds of expenses, you are not likely to find anything to complain about. However, there are some climbers who simply have to have everything done to their specifications. They can even go as far as have their gear custom-made.

Suffice it to say, if you get your gear as you arrive at the location just before you climb, you cannot expect to get such options. To that end, you will need to purchase your personalized equipment before you fly out.

When taking all of these expenses into account, therefore, it would not be strange for your trip to Mt. Everest to cost you as much as a house. There are still the travel fees, the accommodations, food, and permits that you will need to pay for, after all.

On that note, it actually is possible for you to climb Mt. Everest for only $20,000 but in exchange for such a low sum, you will be risking your life and limb. It cannot be emphasized enough that you should not attempt to summit the tallest peak in the world if you are not prepared to pay for it.

Related Questions

Can a Normal Person Climb Mt. Everest?

Without the requisite training, money, resources, and time to devote to climbing Mt. Everest, it is simply impossible to do so. If a normal person who has never climbed in their life were to attempt to do so, they will most likely die or fail in the attempt long before they reach the top.

Can You Fly a Helicopter to the top of Mt. Everest?

A helicopter can technically fly as high as the peak of Mt. Everest, but it can never land on it. If anyone were to reach the summit using such a method, they would need to rappel to the surface. However, doing so would require much more skill than actually climbing and would involve more danger.

How Much Does It Cost to Climb El Capitan?

El Capitan or El Cap, as many have come to call it, is a rock formation in Yosemite Nation Park. It rises at a vertical peak and requires substantial rock climbing preparations and skills in order to overcome. A roundtrip attempt to scale this imposing natural formation would only cost about $25, but this refers to the fee to actually access the spot.

The preparations and the costs for traveling there can go much higher than that. Because this is a rocky formation that goes up to about 3,000 feet or about 914 meters, it takes a considerable amount of training to actually climb it. However, it can be done, as can be attested when a 10-year-old girl was able to do it.

All in all, the costs of climbing this natural edifice don’t really go up by much and the majority of the expenses that you can expect to pay would come down to the equipment and the training. Still, if you already have all of that on hand, actually going there doesn’t cost that much.

How Much Does It Cost to Climb Mt Rainier?

Technically, the fee for entering Mt. Rainier is only about $48, which is the Climbing Cost Recovery Fee. However, this only applies to climbers who are 26 years of age and older. For those you are younger than 26 years, the fee is $34. Either way, this is relatively cheap and practically anyone who is interested in climbing should have no trouble paying for it. This is not where the problem comes in, though.

All the other costs that come with climbing Mt. Rainier are where most people might have trouble. Depending on where they are coming from, going to the spot to begin the climb might represent the vast majority of the costs. Travel plus accommodation plus the food will definitely stack up, and will likely put huge pressure on your budget.

Then there is the equipment that you will need to bring with you. suffice it to say, those will not be cheap. The difficulty of the climb will depend on the route you choose, as well, with there being two main options. If you want, you can also reserve your spot for climbing and if you paid for the fee in advance, you can only use it for about one year since purchase. 

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