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I am planning to do a 16 day "standard" Everest base camp trek in Nepal coming September.

Can I expect to visit Camp 1 (or even beyond?) as well or is this completely off limits for casual tourists?

I read that, summit expeditions will stay at base camp for weeks, in order to acclimatize for the summit.

How much acclimatization would it take if I want to only visit camp 1 for example?

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    Camp 1 is at the top of the Ice Fall, so you will need a climbing permit to get to it. – TGnat Jul 21 '17 at 13:43
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    I encourage you to visit Base Camp, but of all the things I saw, it's not as amazing as so many other things along the way. Take into account how you will acclimatize before you get to Everest Base Camp. Namche Bazaar us a good place to spend a few days. Waking up in Lobuche, the sun doesn't rise over the mountains for hours after dawn breaks. You can see the black night sky during the day. Stay hydrated. – gwally Jul 21 '17 at 20:04
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No one is allowed to just show up at base camp and expect to be able to advance to any of the other camps.

First of all, there is a lot of paperwork that must be completed before you're even granted a permit to climb Everest, which includes a letter of recommendation from a national climbing association. The permit to basecamp is only $50.00, but if you want to go any further, then you need to purchase an $11,000.00 permit. If you get caught above basecamp without a permit, the fine is $22,000.00, and you might even get jail time on top of that.

Second, the route from basecamp to camp 1 is the traverse through the Khumbu Icefall, which isn't just a walk in the park. It's a treacherous traverse over deep crevasses and under looming seracs, which requires the use of ice axes and crampons, and the only way through is over ladder bridges and with the use of fixed ropes. Navigating the Khumbu Icefall is a little more technical now than it has been in past years, because they changed the route in order to avoid the danger of avalanches. Many people have died on Everest between basecamp and camp 1 by being swept off by an avalanche into a crevasse.

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Image from National Geographic

Expeditions pay big money to have all those ladders and ropes packed all the way up to Everest, and to have experienced Sherpas fix them along the best route, which changes every year as the ice continuously moves and changes form. They aren't going to simply let you make use of their equipment. One of the biggest hurdles on Everest is getting around all the officials who want a piece of the tourism revenue pie. Tourism is number one industry in Nepal, and climbing in the Himalayas represents a large portion of that industry.

If you want to check out any of the camps above base camp, you're going to have to bring some deep pockets with you. I'm not going to say it's not possible, but if it is, it's not going to be cheap.


Edit

After finding a fee schedule, it looks like the $11,000.00 fee is only for Everest Summit bids in Spring. In Autumn it appears you could go as high as Camp III for only $900.00 if you purchase a Lhotse summit permit (Lhotse is the peak right beside Everest, you climb the Lhotse Ice Face to get to Camp III, then head South up to the Summit of Everest, or North to the Summit of Lhotse).

Either way, you're going to need a permit, and likely a guide. Your best course of action is to hook up with a expedition like the one linked above. Expeditions help you cut through all the bureaucracy by dealing with all the government officials on your behalf. It's still going to cost you something though, and you're going to need to buy all your gear, which you may want to do in Nepal, I've heard you can get great deals on stuff if you buy it there as lots of climbers leave their used gear behind after their once in a lifetime summit attempt.

  • Thank you. So basically if I wanted to visit camp 1, I would need the same permit as if I was to summit? No in between? – user1721135 Jul 21 '17 at 13:58
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    @user1721135 No actually, looks like you could get a Lhotse permit instead of an Everest one if you just want to go to the camps. They're half price in September too. See my edited answer. – ShemSeger Jul 21 '17 at 15:22
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    thank you, 900$ sounds pretty reasonable, I guess now I just need to figure out how long it would take for acclimatization. – user1721135 Jul 21 '17 at 18:15
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    I think you should fold the edit into the main body of the answer. The answer would be better for doing so. – stannius Jul 21 '17 at 18:58
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    Laughing at the trivializing adjective. You don't "just" anything above base camp. – user5330 Jul 23 '17 at 9:45

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