Dubai: Scaling the world’s tallest peaks doesn’t only require iron resolve, extensive mountaineering experience, and a bit of luck. It also requires a hefty sum of money.
The summit of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth at 8,848 metres, continues to lure mountaineers from all walks of life from various part of the globe. In the region, the dream to conquer the mount has been strongest over the past three years.
This year alone witnessed record-setting victory for Shaikh Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Thani, as the first Qatari man, Raed Zidan as the first Palestinian man, Raha Moharrak as the first Saudi woman and youngest Arab, and UAE resident Maria Conceicao as the first Portuguese woman to have successfully stood on top of the world.
But the high climb also comes with high costs, literally. Asked how much she had to spend for the expedition, Moharrak said it was “very expensive.”
“One could spend between US$70,000 (Dh257,110) to 90,000 (Dh330,570), depending on the services they would like to avail. In my case I spent roughly US$75,000 (Dh275,475). But this can be paid on instalments,” Moharrak, whose father sponsored the trip, told Gulf News.
British expatriate Mark Shuttleworth, who has conquered Mt Everest and the world’s six other tallest peaks in all the continents with his daughter, Leanna, said the climbing cost per person for Mt Everest would be around US$ 65,000 from top-of-the-line guide houses for Everest expeditions. The bill covers permits, accommodation costs, Sherpas, porters, yaks, food and supplies.
“With this, you are paying for a huge amount of experience and a better quality of lifestyle through the expedition. You have a very very strong team or support network with you,” Shuttleworth told Gulf News.
While there are guide houses that offer as low as US$30,000 (Dh110,190) for their services per climb, Shuttleworth said this rate won’t give you the same quantity and quality of support network.
“You need to minimise your risks and maximise your chances to reach the summit and the way to do that is to find the top outfitters. It really comes down to asking yourself, ‘how much is your life worth?” he said.
For the father and daughter duo, their climb was fully self-financed.
Getting sponsorships for the climb is one way to foot the bill, especially if you’re doing it for charity like what Conceicao, founder of the Maria Cristina Foundation, did in May. The flight attendant-turned-charity worker’s climbing cost of US$58,000 (Dh213,034) plus the airfare and other costs were shouldered by nine corporate companies. Through the climb, she hoped to be able to raise funds to send four slum children from Dhaka to a top UAE school. “The climb certainly gave my charity exposure and visibility, which I wouldn’t have otherwise received. Credit crunch has hit our foundation really bad and I needed to do something that could potentially help me build a platform to globally receive support,”Conceicao told Gulf News.
But don’t go seeking sponsors or breaking your piggy banks just yet. Before even contemplating climbing the Everest, consider a word of advice: “Do not even view to go on Everest if you have not at least climbed an 8,000-metre peak, or Denali/Mt McKinley, which is extremely tough. You need to have the necessary skills and experience in order to be able to tackle Everest because all of these mountains are dangerous,” Shuttleworth cautioned.