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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).

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    I would imagine people don't bath at all on Everest. – user2766 Nov 14 '14 at 16:09
  • Dry shower works fine for 1 - 2 weeks expeditions on altitude. But it's personal. Some folks need 2 showers a day, others get away for weeks without one. – Val Nov 17 '14 at 9:51
  • @Val nobody really needs 2 showers a day. It's all in your head. – Danubian Sailor Jan 13 '15 at 10:50
  • I suppose most people on the world take neither shower nor bath. Those are extremelly water-ineficient ways of washing up. – Danubian Sailor Jan 13 '15 at 10:53
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There's an inn/tea house/lodging at Gorak Shep. It's about 2-3 hours walk from the base camp.

In 2004, when I was there, most of the villages and lodgings on the way to Everest had, at the very least, the possibility of a "hot bucket" shower, which is basically a closed room where a person with a bucket of hot water can clean themselves. I don't remember if Gorak Shep had one or not - I didn't use one there.

But a few years later I was in Nepal again, in the Gosaikundu region, and by that time most of the lodgings had solar-powered showers. It's not unreasonable to assume that at least one has been put in Gorak Shep.

UPDATE: A friend who trekked to Everest in the autumn 2013 reports that solar showers have been put in at least as far along as Dingboche, and that showers cost $3-5 per person.

  • I was curious about how much it would cost to actually trek in everything you need to make a shower right at base camp, but I think it's much more likely someone will just take a day to hike out and wash up if there are showers that close. – ShemSeger Feb 12 '15 at 22:36

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