It's about -30°C this morning, and a couple random thoughts popped into my head while enjoying a nice hot shower. The first was how terrible would it be to get out of a shower at -30°C in a tent. The second was, how much does it cost to enjoy a shower in a tent at 17,000ft? There are no liquid water sources at that elevation, so you have to make water by melting snow or ice, which uses fuel, which also doesn't exist at 17,000ft (no wood above the treeline), so anything you burn has to be carried in. That means that by having a shower you are forfeiting precious, and expensively produced hot water that could have been used for cooking and drinking.
In order you have a shower at that high of an elevation you probably need at least the following carried in by a sherpa (for this question I'm making the assumption that you don't help doing any of the work):
- Fuel to melt snow or ice (kerosene, white gas, diesel)
- Snow and ice, likely carried from a clean area at the edge of basecamp/border of the glacial debris you're camping on.
- A shower tent - which includes:
- A tent you can stand up in
- Something to stand on (mat, pallet, maybe a tub)
- A large basin that holds all of the water you're going to be using to shower with
- An apparatus to hang said basin, or pump the water out of the basin
- Plumbing (hose, shower head)
- Towels - You've got to get dry after you shower, which requires dry towels, and to have dry towels you need a heated tent where they can dry before they freeze.
I'm not even sure people take showers at such high elevations, or if people take baths in some nasty shared-bathwater tub, but supposing you wanted to have a shower at Everest Base Camp, about how much would one cost? I don't imagine that people would go a 1-2 month long expedition in the Himalayas and not bathe at some point.
This question is more of a curiosity, something that could potentially go into a list of interesting facts about Everest or something like that (see Everest: Sixty fascinating facts).