Is Mountain Climbing Expensive? How Expensive Is It? Why?

Mountain climbing is a fun, exhilarating hobby that is loved by people who want the thrill, and those who aim to build both physical and mental resilience.

However, this fun hobby can cost quite some pretty pennies to carry out (and by pretty pennies I mean a lot of money). Mountain climbing is considered to be one of the most expensive hobbies in the world, and there are several reasons for this.

Let’s begin to discover why mountaineering is so expensive and what it costs to reach a summit of a mountain you love.

Why Is Mountaineering So Expensive? 

Mountaineering is expensive for several reasons, including logistics, equipment, physical factors, and sometimes, even permits.

The first thing that’ll cost a good amount of money is the list of mountaineering gear you’ll need to make a safe ascent. You’ll also need to spend money on transportation to the mountain; perhaps even a flight and bus ticket.

Mountain climbing expeditions often take long hours, or even days, so you’ll need to stock up on food, water, and other necessary supplies for the entire trip.

For mountain climbing in prime locations, you’ll also need to get a permit from your local authority and pay for it too. Put all these together and we’re looking at some real, heavy budget.

How Much Does Climbing a Mountain Cost? 

At this point, you might be wondering ‘how expensive are we talking about here?’ ‘How much will I spend on mountain climbing?’

The fact is, there’s no straightforward answer to this because several factors are involved in determining the cost of a mountaineering expedition.

The mountaineering expenses may vary anywhere from $500 to $15000. If you consider climbing Mount Everest, the cost may even go up to $120000

Let’s explore different factors that influence the cost of climbing mountains.

1. Your nearness to, or distance from the mountain

Nearest Mountain climbing expense vs Distant mountain

If you are surrounded by mountainous terrain, or you have mountains close to you, you’re one lucky person, and you won’t have to spend so much on transportation.

You can get up from your home and go touring without needing to pay for a mountain hut and leave there.

However, if you live far from the mountain you’re climbing, you’ll need to spend money on a bus fare, train ticket, or even airline ticket.

You’ll be needing the hut too, and you’ll have to bring food along with you. The cost of these things varies from place to place, but it definitely isn’t cheap.

2. The type of mountains you’re climbing 

Expense based on the type of mountains you climb

If you’re going mountain climbing in a warm geographical region, chances are that the mountains will be free of glaciers and snow.

What this means is you’ll not need some equipment such as an ice axe, crampons, and hard mountaineering boots. 

In the summer, or when you’re walking up mountains without snow, you can make do with some good hiking boots and just some other equipment, such as glasses, a mountaineering hut, waterproof clothing, and a poncho.

3. The mountaineering activities you plan to carry out

Cost based on the mountaineering activities you plan to carry out

There are different ways to go about mountain climbing, and different activities that you may or may not be interested in carrying out.

For instance, some people, especially newbies to the hobby opt for guided tours in the first few instances. This translate to more money to pay a tour guide.

Alternatively, you can buy a map, download one online, and guide yourself through the process.

You can also plan to go along with a group of others, so you can have a company you don’t need to pay for.

4. Hiking 

Hiking Expense

Hiking is the most common and easiest way to reach a mountain top.

You’ll need some skills and only basic gear like boots, waterproof clothes, and a warm jacket or layer.

You’ll also need maps, a compass, a first aid kit, food and snacks, and then water. 

The average hiking trip is estimated at $15, while the gear cost should range between $300 and $700.

5. Scrambling 

Expense due to Mountaineering Gears

If you’re ascending a mountain using scrambling instead of hiking, the equipment you need, as well as the cost will also differ.

Scrambling entails using your hands to climb small sections of steep ground.

Scrambling requires the same gear as hiking, except that you’ll need climbing gloves. You’ll also need helmets alongside your waterproof clothes. 

The gear for scrambling costs between $160 and $500, and an average trip will cost $20.

6. Mountaineering Gears

 Expense due to Mountaineering Gears

Mountaineering trips will require hiking boots, mountaineering boots, crampons, a pair of gloves, glasses, mittens, and even a crevasse rescue kit. 

Mountaineering could involve overnight trips, so some pieces of backpacking kits might be needed.

Mountaineering gear has a cost ranging between $200 and $500 without boots, and between $500 and $1000 with boots. The average trip cost $26 daily.

7. Ski Mountaineering

Ski Mountaineering Expenses

If you plan to climb that mountain in the winter, you’ll need to engage in Ski Mountaineering to move fast and efficiently. 

You’ll need all the mountaineering equipment, and then a ski touring set.

This set includes skins, boots, bindings, touring skis, goggles, a beacon, a probe, and extra-base layers.

Ski touring gear costs between $1000 and $3000, while a daily trip will cost $26.

8. Alpinism

Alpinism Expenses

Alpinism is more involved with managing technical risks than environmental challenges.

It requires the same equipment as mountaineering and ice climbing with no new gear required.

However, some people will switch to a lighter mountaineering kit for Alpinism.

The average daily trip costs $35.

9. Ice Climbing

Ice Climbing Expenses

Ice climbing is an option depending on where you live and the weather condition at the time. It is also more niche than other methods. 

You’ll need the same gear for ice climbing as Mountaineering, and you’ll also need thin climbing gloves, large warm belay parks, mountaineering boots, ice tools, and a rack of ice screws. You can also add ice-specific crampons and double ropes.

The gear for ice climbing ranges between $600 and 1500, and an average daily trip cost $25.

10. Expedition Climbing

Expedition Climbing Expenses

If you’re feeling up to it, you can do some expedition climbing, which includes Alpine and Siege-style climbing.

For siege-style climbing, you pretty much need the same gear and clothing as mountaineering. You’ll also need to have ice axes and crampons handy, but for some trips, a trekking pole will be more useful than an ice axe.

As far as gear is concerned, you’ll need at least two tents to serve as base camps and high camps.

Sometimes, you’ll need long ropes running into hundreds of meters for the fixed lines. You’ll need new high-altitude clothing, food, entertainment, and maybe some oxygen apparatus.

Siege-style climbing costs quite a whopping sum and can range between $4000 and $15,000, without food, permits, and travel costs. 

Alpine is also another expedition style, but it is far less expensive than the siege-style expedition.

You’ll need all the same gear as you need for Alpinism, except that cold weather boots and clothing might be necessary, as well as lightweight kits and alpine tents. 

The cost of alpine gear ranges between $700 and $2000. If you factor in transportation, food, a week-long expedition, and the possibility of a guide, you might be expected to spend between $3000 and $12,000.

Final Words:

Mountain climbing has definitely earned its title as one of the most expensive activities out there. Now, you know why.

While you will need to make a financial investment in this hobby, you can begin by purchasing a few gears at a time, until you have all that you need.