Climbing mountains doesn’t have to break the bank. Everest is really the outlier when you look at costs that can average $40-60k for the complete expedition.
I recently contributed to an article for The Active Times on incredible mountain climbs that don’t cost a fortune. Katie Rosenbrock put together an awesome story, rounding up the insights I shared about climbing on a budget, and there’s even a slideshow to boot!
Below are my three key points, but for the full story, go here.
1. Do you need a guide?
Climbing on the cheap really comes down to you experiences level. Are you competent enough to trek without being guided or do you need to sign up for a guided expedition?
Climbing Mt Rainier for instance could run you $2,500 to fly out, pay for a guided climb, and spend a couple nights in a hotel in Seattle. My friends and I went up Rainier’s Muir route for about $450 per person a few years back. (This post cover photo was taken on that trip!) $450 covered the plane ticket, a hotel, and the $15 park entrance fee. It’s exponentially cheaper when you’re not paying for guided expeditionary support!
2. Do you have your own gear?
Renting or buying new gear for a climb can definitely feel like a bank account black hole. Climbing might not be a lifestyle for you, and more a bucket list item. If that’s the case, kill two birds with one stone and buy into a guided expedition. They’ll often provide the more technical gear you need and you’re left with a shopping list of boots, a sleeping bag, and a nice puffy jacket.
If you’re that committed to the sport that you’ve dedicated your discretionary income to climbing equipment for a few years straight, you’ll find that the stock pile of goods is an investment that makes your future climbs much much cheaper. But take it from me, even when you feel like you have all the gear you need to climb basically anything, there’s always more to buy.
3. How far do you have to travel?
Do you really have to climb Everest? Right now I live in Boston, and the White Mountains are only a few hours north. New Hampshire has some of the world’s finest ice climbing and for most, the Presidential Traverse is a pretty amazing accomplishment. Climbing here is, for me, not only close, but free! You don’t have to go to Nepal to find challenging mountains. What amazing places surround you? Go explore them!
Between the Pacific Northwest glaciated volcanoes, the 54 Rocky Mountain 14ers, or the 48 peaks over 4,000ft in New Hampshire, your backyard probably has a lot to offer and most of these climbs would cost you less than a night of bar hoping.
Check out The Active Times to get more info from myself and other travelers regarding climbs that better fit your budget.