China again fuels the permit price spiral for Everest and Co.

Tibetan north side of Everest

Permits for eight-thousander expeditions in Tibet will be significantly more expensive from next spring. The Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA) has now sent out the new tariffs, which are to apply from the beginning of 2020 to the end of 2022. The price increase for Mount Everest is particularly high. According to the list available to me, the foreign summit candidates for the world’s highest mountain will now have to pay 15,800 US dollars instead of 9,950. That is an increase of around 58 percent. For Cho Oyu, 9,300 dollars per mountaineer will have to be paid next spring. So far it was 7,400 dollars, which results in a plus of 25 percent. The permits for Shishapangma will cost 9,300 dollars for the normal route via the North Face (previously 7,150 dollars, plus 30 percent), 9,400 dollars for the South Face (previously 7,650, plus 22 percent).

At least four expedition members

Cho Oyu

The costs for Nepalese expedition staff are also rising sharply: For Everest, 4500 instead of 3.300 dollars (plus 36 percent), for Cho Oyu and Shishapangma 4000 instead of 3300 dollars (plus 21 percent). Since the beginning of 2019, the Chinese-Tibetan authorities have been demanding that one Climbing Sherpa is deployed per one client of a commercial expedition.

The new prices apply to expeditions with at least four members. The CMA expressly points out that there will be no Everest permits for smaller teams.

Will fees become more expensive in Nepal too?

Nepalese south side of Everest
Nepalese south side of Everest

The new permit fees will probably lead to eight-thousander expeditions to Tibet becoming even more expensive than they already are. The number of expeditions to Cho Oyu has drastically decreased after prices had almost tripled in recent years due to stricter expedition rules for the Tibetan eight-thousanders. Clients currently have to pay around 25,000 dollars for expeditions to this eight-thousander, about 10,000 dollars more than for Manaslu in Nepal, for example. Some operators have meanwhile cancelled Cho Oyu completely from their program due to the exploding costs.

It is highly anticipated whether the Nepalese government will also raise the prices for permits from 2020 on. Rumors of a significant increase in the fees, that have been in force for five years now, have been cerculating for months. The Nepalese authorities are currently charging 11,000 dollars per climber for an Everest permit in spring. The government may also postpone the price increase to 2021, it is said, because of their “Visit Nepal 2020” campaign to attract more tourists to the Himalayan state next year. More expensive permits would be counterproductive.

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