Saturday, January 12, 2008

Permit Co$ts- Ouch

The first chunk of serious cash is now in. I wanted to cry. Seriously. That's not a joke. To make it even freakier, this was just to cover Nepal climbing permits. While there is a bit of speculation on exactly what is happening in the future surrounding climbing permit fees both in China and Nepal, for now there is definitely a difference in costs:

China- North Side: $4,900 per person (regardless of team size)
Nepal- South Side: $10,000 per person (team size can change overall cost)
Nepal also incorporates a $20,000 surcharge on teams wishing to attempt South Col Route.

It's not exactly a secret that China isn't hurting for cash these days. Nepal on the other hand, is. The poorest country in Asia, Nepal's climber permit philosophy essentially follows the adage of "the higher you climb, the more you pay". Given that there doesn't appear to be another mountain shooting up from the sea to challenge Everest's title as World's Highest Mountain, Nepal clearly recognizes that climbers from around the world will continue to come to Kathmandu. So, they can consistently overcharge with no fear of competition.

This link provides an interesting perspective on team costs and interface with the Chinese and Nepali Governments on climbing permits:

Interestingly, one of the article points involves China's interest in bringing the Olympic flame to the top of Everest during this coming year's Olympic Torch Relay leading up to the Beijing Summer Games. In a nutshell, the Chinese are very interested in the flame, and not so much on other teams being on the north side of the mountain. That does say something for the South Side and at the very least being able to feel like I'm part of an International climber community looking to achieve something alongside others. I'm guessing that with all the visibility of the Olympic flame this season, non-Chinese teams on the North Side are in for an interesting coexistence.

No comments: