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Preparing for The Everest Summit: What Does It Take To Reach The Top Of The World?

A great man once said, climbing to the top demands strength. Realistically though, summiting the Mount Everest requires a lot more than just strength, it demands planning, patience, motivation and an incredible amount of perseverance. At about 2000m higher than Mt Aconcagua, summiting Everest is an achievement pinnacle for any mountaineer.

The insight below will help you prepare for the climb to the summit and eventually let you plant your flag on top of the world!

Money Matters

An average climb to the summit and back is about 40 to 60 days, depending upon the route, pace and other factors. The entire package, including basic travel and climbing permits, costs an average of $100,000. This in no means is a small amount and requires you to plan your finances well in advance.

In addition to this, the prior training and climbing gear is a steep expense. The cost that varies the most is insurance, which is mandatory, but is based on age, length of trip, total value etc. Some of the different kinds of insurance that need to be considered are evacuation insurance, medical insurance, rescue insurance, travel insurance and most importantly life insurance, with prices ranging from $70 to $3000.

While desire and strength are commendable, without proper financial planning you’ll never reach your goal. Plan your finances well in advance and you’ll be good to go.

Proceed With Permission

With about eighteen routes up Everest, you are literally spoilt for choice. Interestingly, a few of the eighteen routes have never been climbed to this day with the most common and successful routes being the Northeast Ridge Standard and South Col routes.

The biggest factor when deciding on the climbing route are the weather conditions. Ideally, the best time to climb is during the spring season between the months of April and May. Depending upon the route you choose, suitable climbing permits need to be purchased. If you’re climbing from Nepal or Tibet you will need a climbing permit. As these permits come at an extra cost of about $11,000 per climber, anticipating and planning for these expenses is wise.

Gear And Guides

While on the climb the two most critical and vital factors are your equipment and climbing guides. While the equipment quality and size can vary from climber to climber, a basic check list of gear includes oxygen, climbing boots, down suit, clothing layers, gloves, sleeping bags, crampons, medical kits and so on. A detailed list of all the gear necessary can be procured from your guide.

While there has been varied opinions about choosing the western guides or the local Sherpas (Nepali guides) it’s important to know that contrary to prior belief that the Sherpas are not technically qualified in comparison to the western guides, many Sherpas have now become UIAGM (Union Internationale des Associations de Guides de Montagnes) certified and hold more summits than most of the western guides. On an adventure where the risk is high and success rates dynamic, choosing an experienced and qualified guide would be the suggested best bet.

Mind, Body, Heart And Soul

While attempting an adventure of such high skill and risk, it goes without saying that one must be fit in all aspects to endure the task. Preparing yourself for the Everest summit must begin at least six months prior to the actual climb. Training yourself physically and mentally and putting your heart and soul into it, is crucial to be deemed fit for the climb.

Physical training will essentially need to cover three aspects; cardio vascular, strength conditioning and flexibility training. These trainings can be covered in an order comfortable to the climber.

Cardio vascular training has a direct impact on stamina. Activities which strengthen your cardio vascular system are running, swimming, bicycling etc. Successful summiteers give credit to such training for helping them set a steady pace during their Everest climb.

Strength and conditioning for mountaineering is quite different from the conventional. Apart from using free weights and compound movements, going on hikes and outdoor trails with extra weight added to your pack will help you to achieve your physical goal for the climb. Physical training routines along with nutrition advice, specific to the climbing Everest are available online and even recognized by the professional climbers.

The hardest and most critical part of training is mental conditioning. When your body is exhausted and giving up, you have only your mental strength left to push you further. A powerful tool for mental conditioning is visualization. It encompasses relaxation techniques that help relieve anxiety and tension to improve performance through better concentration and focus.

For climbers who are unsure and skeptical about their training, a simulated Everest expedition is the best way to achieve mental toughness and a successful summit experience. The other alternate for such training is to climb other smaller peaks of the seven summits in the hardest route possible. For instance, taking the north side route for Mt. Elbrus and the Umbwe route for Mt. Kilimanjaro would give you a taste of what to expect from the Everest.

If you are an amateur climber, it is highly recommended that you take up the basic and advanced level mountaineering courses which are available from a variety of institutes, worldwide. The courses will expose you to all possible risks during the climb, such as avalanches, crevasses, bad weather, ice fall and many more.

The final step of preparation is a complete health check up from a certified medical practitioner. A medical clearance which declares you as fit and with no foreseeable illness in the near future, is a necessary document for your climb. It’s probably clear that summiting the Everest is easier said than done. It requires immense amounts of prior planning, training and dedication and proper preparation will increase your chances of joining the mere 4,469 people that have achieved this incredible feat. The Everest summit is unquestionably hard but not impossible. So go set your sight on the summit and climb your way to the top of the world!

About The Author

Kasi Viswanath Raju heads up the marketing team for Mojhi, a company dedicated to adventure travel. He and the rest of the Mojhi team aren’t content to simply read about the places they promote, then need to visit as many as possible allowing them to select only the best safaris and adventure travel tours.

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