How much does it cost to climb the seven summits?

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Our resident mountaineer and would-be seven summiteer crunches the numbers on how much it will cost to climb the seven summits

How much does it cost to climb the seven summits? About $180,000 USD give or take $10k.

Climbers could significantly reduce costs by foregoing luxuries, cutting corners and taking (even more) risks to get that figure below $100,000, but I do not recommend this and certainly won’t be taking such unnecessary risks.

I arrived at the above figure by looking at five established international mountain guiding companies based in the USA, UK and New Zealand. I compiled their prices for climbing all the seven summits (using the same routes where possible) and calculated the average: $162,139.

There are then the costs of airfares and equipment to factor in. Flights, of course, depend on where individuals are based but it’s fair to assume that seven return international flights – often during peak season – will cost between $7,000-$12,000.

In terms of equipment, much of it is specialist and therefore expensive. I’ve drawn on the trusted expertise of Alan Arnette, combed the equipment lists of guiding companies and settled on a baseline figure of $10,000. This is an absolute minimum amount, so could – and probably will – be considerably more.

Additionally, the ballpark figure of $180,000 doesn’t include any supplementary courses or training a climber may require. It also doesn’t include intermediary mountains such as a preliminary eight-thousander – like Cho Oyu or Manaslu – that most climbers should really attempt before venturing onto Everest.

Only individuals can decide what training they will require. I’ve already completed winter mountaineering courses and intend to take further alpine skills and rock climbing courses before I attempt Denali and Puncak Jaya. I’ll worry about further training on eight-thousanders once I win the lottery.

So far I’ve climbed the ‘cheap’ and ‘easy’ seven summits so to speak: Kilimanjaro in 2010, Elbrus in 2017 and Aconcagua in 2020. They were relatively straightforward to access and did not require advanced mountaineering skills or specialist training, which also helped keep costs comparatively low.

MountainContinentAltitudeTech. difficulty
Mount EverestAsia8,848m (29,029ft)Intermediate
AconcaguaSouth America6,961m (22,838ft)Easy
DenaliNorth America6,194m (20,322ft)Intermediate
KilimanjaroAfrica5,895m (19,341ft)Easy
Mount ElbrusEurope5,642m (18,510ft)Easy
Mount VinsonAntarctica4,892m (16,050ft)Intermediate
Puncak JayaOceania4,884m (16,024ft)Advanced

findings

  • The average cost to climb all the seven summits is $162,139.
  • Climbing with British outfit Jagged Globe is the cheapest of the five companies we assessed at $137,572. However, this is partly due to the current weakness of the pound (£).
  • The most expensive I assessed was $174,700 with American-based guiding company RMI Expeditions.
  • By mixing and matching guiding companies I was able to get the figure down to $135,909.
  • By using local guiding outfits on Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Aconcagua and Puncak Jaya, and mixing and matching guiding companies on the remaining three summits, I was able to get the price down to $123,851.
  • The absolute cheapest way I found was $97,520. This is using local guides and companies, basic support packages and foregoing many of the luxuries and safety systems put in place by more established companies and support packages.
  • In addition to the above, climbers must budget for airfares ($7,000-12,000), equipment (at least $10,000) and any additional training required.

Seven summits cost using Guides

Aside from professional mountaineers, it’s safe to assume that the majority of climbers will hire guides to help them get to the top of most – if not all – of the seven summits.

It’s reasonably plausible for many climbers to summit the easier peaks of Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Aconcagua without the full logistical support of a guiding company (although all climbers on Kili must climb with a licensed guide).

However, the harder summits of Denali, Puncak Jaya, Vinson and Everest will almost certainly require the support of a mountain guiding company.

There are, of course, scores of professional guiding companies around the world that I have omitted and it may well be possible to arrive at a lower price.

Notes

ACAAJGMMRMIAverage
Kilimanjaro5,2504,9003,8006,8007,1005,570
Elbrus4,5005,9502,5725,6755,3004,799
Aconcagua6,3505,1005,64210,7507,2007,008
Denali9,7009,40010,55310,5009,8009,991
Puncak Jaya26,90026,00014,60522,90027,00023,481
Vinson44,25043,00042,96844,50044,30043,804
Everest69,00070,00057,43267,00074,00067,486
Total165,950164,350137,572168,125174,700162,139

Cheapest way to climb the Seven Summits

The prices below are calculated by assuming climbers will use local suppliers and guides where possible, pay for only basic support packages and are willing to climb unassisted on many sections of all routes.

The figures are based on the cheapest – usually the quickest – routes up the mountain. As above, the figures exclude airfares, equipment and any additional training programs.

Note: We do NOT recommend this option and include it only for the sake of completeness.

Kilimanjaro1,000
Elbrus1,520
Aconcagua4,000
Denali8,500
Puncak Jaya7,500
Vinson40,000
Everest35,000
Total97,520

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