Being the highest and most sought-after peak, many people wonder how long it takes to climb Mount Everest. Moreover, I’m sure we all have thought about summiting the mountain at least once in our lifetime.
Few people are brave enough to risk their lives climbing the highest point on Earth. Everest climbing isn’t for the faint of heart.
Every year Mount Everest attracts hundreds of climbers from all over the world. It requires a very high skill set, a mindset, experiences and years to prepare, yet summiteers succumb while attempting to conquer the behemoth? Needless to say the right gear and equipment is equally essential.
Other than that, it also takes somewhere around $800- $29450 worth of budget to afford climbing the summit.
Having prior experience of mountaineering at a high altitude, preferably more than 6000 meters, is a must. Every climber must submit a certificate of good health and physical fitness while applying for the expedition.
Besides, a Nepali guide must train them before the journey.
It is obligatory to care for the amount of waste you create on your journey. As there is only one Everest, and we cannot afford to damage the environment around there.
The trash compactors were made mandatory under a 2014 government provision that requires every climber to come down the peak with at least 8 kgs of trash.
Now let’s dive into how long it takes to climb Mount Everest.
How long does it take to climb Mount Everest?
The standard time to summit Mount Everest is two months, or, say, 6 to 10 weeks. This total time includes gathering your trekking supplies, trekking to the Everest Base Camp, acclimatizing, climbing up to higher peaks, and eventually summiting the mountain.
The duration of climbing Mount Everest also depends on the route you will take. Since Mount Everest lies on the border of Tibet and Nepal, there are two major routes to the summit, which we will discuss below.
Most climbers attempt the summit from Nepal’s side as it is less complicated.
Your journey to Mount Everest starts as soon as you fly to Kathmandu and catch a flight to Lukla.
You can take a helicopter or trek to the Everest Base Camp.
The descending part is more dangerous and tricky as you will be exhausted mentally and physically. However, you have to aim to get back to Camp 4 to have a higher chance of survival.
Base Camp is usually reached in a day or two. You can rest and celebrate for a few days, then trek back to Lukla and fly to Kathmandu.
How long does it take to climb down Mount Everest?
You can descend from the summit to the Base Camp in less than a day. However, it is best to rest at Camp 4 before moving to Camp 3 or Camp 2, from where you can reach Base Camp in less than a day.
Due to unconventional methods, some climbers have reached the Base Camp from the summit in less time. For example, Davo Karnicar skied from the summit to the Base camp in five hours, whereas Jean-March Boivin paraglided from the summit to Camp 2 in 12 minutes!
How long does it take to reach Everest Base Camp?
It takes around 11 to 19 days, i.e., two weeks, to reach Everest Base Camp. Your trek starts after you fly to Lukla.
If you want to book a trip to Everest Base camp, click here.
Routes to the summit of Mount Everest
As the summit of Mount Everest runs over the China-Nepal border, there are two possible approaches for the climbers to reach the peak: From the North, Tibet, and the South-East, Nepal.
The southeast ridge is considered an easy route and was used by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953.
The Tibetian route was considered complicated because of politics rather than geographic structure.
Chinese border was closed to the Western world up until the 1950s.
The Southeast Ridge Route
The Southeast ridge is often referred to as the Nepali side. As per the record, an average of 400 climbers per season take this route to Mount Everest.
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa summited Mount Everest successfully for the first time at 11:30 local time on May 29, 1953 A.D. via this very route.
The climb via the southeast ridge starts from a trek to Base Camp at 5,380 m (17,700 ft) on Everest’s southern side.
Climbers usually fly to Lukla airport from Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city, and pass through Namche Bazar, the last city before Everest.
Animals like yaks “Dzopkyos” (yak-cow hybrids) carry climbing equipment and supplies.
Human porters, normally Sherpas (a tribe indigenous to the Himalayan Range), help climbers reach the base camp on the Khumbu Glacier.
Climbers spend a few days and weeks getting used to the high altitude and harsh environment. You will climb up and get down to the camp so your body gets used to the environment.
You will need oxygen supplements because, at higher altitudes, situations get a lot worse than you had ever imagined.
Camps are set up at various levels so the trekkers can rest and improve their acclimatization levels. During the phase, the Sherpas will set up ropes and ladders in the lethal Khumbu Icefall. Within a week or so, the climber will head to the Khumbu Glacier.
Climbers usually commence their ascent before dawn. It’s when the freezing temperature glues ice blocks firmly to their respective positions.
The Khumbu Glacier, full of crevasses, seracs, and rapid ice block shiftings, is one of the deadliest regions in Mount Everest.
The second stop for the climber is above the glacier, Camp 1, at 6,065 meters (19,900 ft). After reaching it, climbers stay there for one night.
After Camp 1, climbers make their way up and pass the Western Cwm, a glacial valley basin, to Camp 2. It is also known as Advanced Base Camp (ABC), established at 6,500 m (21,300 ft).
People call Western Cwm the “Valley of Silence.” It is because the landscape of this area generally cuts off wind blowing from the climbing route.
From Advance Base Camp, climbers head to the Lhotse face on fixed ropes, up to Camp 3, located on a small ledge at 7,470 m (24,500 ft).
Climbers face two additional challenges on Camp 3’s surge to Camp 4: the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur.
The Yellow Band is a region of marble, semi-schist, and phyllite. It requires about 100 meters of rope to traverse this petrifying section.
The Geneva Spur is as terrifying as the Yellow Band.
It’s a rib of black rock resembling the shape of an anvil. The name comes from the 1952 Swiss expedition. This region is entirely snow-covered, requiring a fixed rope to pass through.
The 500m climb passes the Geneva Spur (an anvil-shaped black rock) to Camp 4 on the South Col at 7,920 m (26,000 ft). An altitude above 8000 meters is more dangerous than one can think of. Nothing in there will be on your side.
It is also called the death zone because only one-third of oxygen can be inhaled in every breath compared to sea level.
After passing Camp 4, climbers begin their way to the summit, usually around midnight, which is another 1000m climb to the peak. The climbers will push towards the summit if the weather is clear and the wind is low.
On their advancement up Camp 4, they reach “The Balcony,” which lies at an altitude of 8,400 meters (27,600 ft).
Climbers will be forced to move to the lower camps if the weather does not favor them.
No one in that altitude can last more than 2 or 3 days, even with oxygen supplements.
The goal is to reach the next base camp within 10-12 hours.
Climbers reach “The Balcony” at 8,400 m (27,600 ft) and rest before they conquer Mt. Everest. Climbers get to relax and enjoy Mount Everest’s scenic beauty and other peaks around in their proximity. Nothing is more soothing than watching mountains in the early light of dawn.
A series of imposing rock steps appear on the ascent of this ridge. One wrong step can lead you down to waist-deep snow, which is also one of the severe avalanche hazards in the Everest expedition.
Pushing the ridge carefully further, climbers reach the South summit, the second-highest peak on Earth. It lies at an altitude of 8,749 meters (28,704 ft) and is even higher than the World’s Second-Highest Mountain—Mt.K2.
Upon ascending further up the South Summit, you’ll reach a cutting-edge South-East ridge called the “Cornice Traverse.” One misstep to the left can lead you to 2,400 m (7,900 ft) down the southwest face, while to the right can lead you to 3,050 m (10,010 ft) down to Kangshung Face.
If you successfully traverse the ridge, you will reach the Hillary Step, an imposing 12 m (39 ft) rock wall at the Cornice Traverse end.
In recent years, there has been a high traffic of climbers on Mount Everest. Due to this reason, climbers are experiencing a bottleneck situation.
People face extended delays, waiting for their turn on the rope on their way up and down, which can be troublesome in case of bad weather.
After the Hillary Step, climbers surge through a rock section up to the zenith. Climbers typically spend 15 to 25 minutes at the summit to have enough time to descend to Camp 4 before darkness enters.
Spending more than half an hour isn’t recommended because the sudden weather change at that altitude is inexorable.
The North Ridge Route
The North Ridge Route starts from the north side of Everest, Tibet. The north ridge route is way more challenging than the South Col route.
The expedition begins from the north side of Mount Everest. On this path, climbers first trek up to the Rongbuk glacier at 5,180 m (16,990 ft) under the gravel plain below the glacier.
This route is full of stubborn obstacles like huge rocks, crevasses, seracs, etc.
Trekkers then set up a camp somewhere below the glacier. Climbers then move forward on fixed ropes up to Camp II.
This camp is situated at the base of Changtse and lies around 6100 meters (20,000 ft) above sea level.
The further ascent up to Mount Everest leads the climbers to the North Col ABC or Camp 3. This camp is right below the North Col at 6500 meters (21,300 ft).
Their next stop would be camp 4, which lies on the North Col at 7,010 meters (23,000 ft). Fixed ropes entirely lead this path. After that, the climbers surge via the rocky North ridge to install Camp 5 at around 7,775 meters (25,500 ft).
The push to the base of Yellow Band along the North Face is the next phase of the expedition. It is a diagonal climb to the foot of the Yellow Band to reach Camp 6 at an altitude of 8,230 meters (27,000 ft).
The climbers then get to hit the summit from Camp 6.
Leaving Camp 6 is the most challenging thing for climbers because what awaits next is nothing less atrocious than death.
The climbers must use a climbing kit between the first and second steps at ascent above 8600 meters (28,000 ft). This climbing kit is referred to as the “Chinese Ladder.”
It’s a metal ladder placed inconsequential by a group of Chinese climbers during their expedition in 1975.
Yet, more challenges will await the climbers on their way up further. They will clamber over the Third Step, ascending from 8,690 to 8,800 meters (28,510 to 28,870 ft).
After a climber successfully passes all these obstacles, he/she will still have to climb a snow slope of 50 degrees to summit Mount Everest.
It takes a lot to kiss the acme of Mount Everest. It’s common for climbers to experience many awful events during a mountain expedition.
However, the relief one gets after reaching the peak of Mount Everest is enough to erase the psychological trauma that climbers experience during the ascent and motivate the climbers.
When Can You Climb Mount Everest?
Before taking on the daunting challenge of climbing this perilous mountain, you must consider many factors, primarily correct weather.
The weather up on Everest is extremely notorious and unpredictable. However, there are some particular months of the year when the weather is slightly less unpredictable.
Spring (April to May) and autumn (September to November) are considered the best seasons to climb Everest.
Climbing Everest during the Spring Season
During Spring, the weather is warm, and the views are unobstructed. The chances of rain or clouds are less in comparison to other seasons.
The wind might be a problem during this time, but considering other factors, such as avalanches, excessive snowfalls, fog, and mist, spring is the best time to climb Everest.
The weather during these months best suits the climbers.
Typically, most attempts are made during May. It’s a perfect time as the summer monsoon season approaches nearer. There is a science behind it.
What happens is that the jet stream shifts northward when the monsoon season comes nearer. As a result, the average wind speed gets reduced at the higher altitudes of the mountain.
Climbing Mount Everest during the Autumn Season
Autumn starts after the monsoon clouds pass away. It is said to be the second-best time to summit Everest after the spring season.
This time of the year becomes risky because the jet stream is pushed northward but temporarily.
It can change direction at any time.
The additional monsoon snow deposition and the dynamic jet streaming risk can disrupt the weather pattern, making climbing more challenging during these months.
Risk factors while climbing Mount Everest
The Mount Everest expedition is an extreme venture which can sometimes lead to a fatal result.
Several factors affect the ascent, such as the climber’s physical and mental fitness, weather conditions, proper food, rest, acclimatization level, etc.
The Mount Everest expedition is more complicated than our imagination.
You will need to adapt to every possible situation, no matter how ominous the signs are.
Climbers ascending to the peak will experience altitude sickness, freezing temperatures, strong wind, and hazards like avalanches and the Khumbu Glacier. Climbers have become victims of falls, serac collapse, exposure, frostbite, and avalanches, to name a few.
Apart from these, inexperience is also a primary reason for the deaths on Everest.
There usually is a leader in the group to ensure the expeditions are safe and successful. Respecting the leader’s decisions and obeying the rules is essential for survival in such an extreme adventure.
There are various effects of altitude on human bodies.
Almost every climber is likely to face a loss of appetite, digestion difficulties, dizziness, suffocation, insomnia, and so on.
Carrying the backpacks with food stock, gears, equipment, etc. adds another difficulty.
It’s no new thing for climbers to lose up to 20 pounds of their body weight during a successful Everest expedition.
Food and nutrition for the expedition
When you are at the highest altitude from sea level, your body shows changes in metabolism.
Your body prioritizes blood to vital organs such as your brain and cardiovascular system. The digestive system becomes the second priority. Due to this, it is highly recommended to consume food with more carbohydrates and sugar.
Such food breaks down quickly and is easy to digest rather than proteins.
Mountaineers indulge in extreme climbing during the expedition, allowing the body to burn many calories.
There is a variety of food to choose from before reaching the base camp. The breakfast may include toast, cereals, eggs, bread, porridge, and fruits.
Lunch is an essential meal in Nepalese society. Climbers get a variety of items to choose dumplings, noodles; and, the most popular amongst the locals are Dal (Lentil Soup), Bhat (Boiled Rice), Tarkari (Vegetables), optional Meat, and Achar (Pickle).
This is a high-nutrition diet, which is very beneficial for climbers.
While heading towards the camp, expeditors usually carry nuts, chocolates, energy bars, and even dry meats. Anything that is high in carbohydrates and replenishes the lost energy is essential.
People chip the glacier’s ice for the water and melt it for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing.
Upon reaching the camp, expeditors again eat “dal (lentil), bhat (rice), and tarkari (meat/vegetables). It is a healthy local cuisine; it gives Sherpas the much-needed energy to carry their luggage and equipment further up the mountains.
After reaching Camp 4, the final push to the peak is hard, and the body needs more energy and food. Due to the altitude, many expeditors feel nauseous, and eating is hard now.
Climbers usually carry energy gel packets in their pocket (e.g., SIS Energy Electrolyte or Powergel Carbohydrate Gel).
These modern gels have an isotonic, electrolyte formula containing rapidly absorbed carbohydrates and are very easy to intake. The packet top can be torn open with teeth, and the gooey contents can be easily squeezed into the mouth.
It is the most effective and quick way to deliver the much-needed energy boost in harsh environments.
Some of the food that the famous Everest climbers carry for this audacious venture are:
- Dried Reindeer Heart
- Mackerel in Tomato Sauce
- Olive Oil
For the hydration to the summit push, climbers usually carry 1 ltr of warm water inside their down jacket as this prevents the water from freezing up. Some climbers add electrolyte and magnesium tablets, replenishing vital electrolytes and sodium lost through sweating.
Age limit and attempts made every year
The Nepalese government has implied a rule depriving age groups lower than 16 of climbing Mount Everest with no upper age limit. Whereas the age group of 18-70 can climb Mount Everest from the Chinese side.
The age limits were set after Romero and Poorna summited Mount Everest.
Mount Everest expedition is permitted by both the countries: Nepal and China. Collectively, an average of 800 people climb Mount Everest every year.
There is a minimum of 5-10 deaths per year. More expeditions take place from the Southern side—from Nepal. So, the death rate is also a bit higher here than the Northern side.
We’ve heard many real stories related to Mount Everest. It’s breathtaking to know how Reinhold Messner climbed up Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen.
An 80-year-old Yuichiro Miura marked a thumping Mount Everest summit, becoming the oldest man to climb it.
Some climbers summit Mount Everest and return safely to their respective homes.
At the same time, some lose their life on the way up the mountain. Some people die on the way down, even after summiting the peak.
One must have a healthy physical and mental body and proper food and diet intake beforehand and during the mountain expedition.
How tall is Mount Everest?
Mount Everest is the highest point on this planet at 8,848.86 meters (29,0129 feet) above sea level. It is 239 meters more elevated than the second tallest peak, Mount K2.
What is the average time to climb Mount Everest?
It takes 6-10 weeks (two months) to climb Mount Everest. You will take 19 days to trek to the Everest Base Camp from Lukla. After that, you will need an average of 40 days to summit Mount Everest.
Why do people climb Mount Everest at night?
As you can have the whole light on the most challenging and technical part of the summit, the last summit push is done at night from Camp 4 to the summit of Mount Everest.
You can use headlamps to see the paths while climbing at night. It will be past dawn when you reach the Hillary Step, the hardest part of the trail. Having full daylight helps you avoid missteps and accidents.
In addition, you will have light while descending, which is another tricky part of the journey.
How long does it take to climb Mount Everest from base camp?
You can climb Mount Everest in an average of 40 days from the base camp. Two Sherpas have made history by ascending in 8 and 10 hours, respectively, but we advise you to take your time and adjust to the altitude.
Why does it take so long to climb Everest?
It takes a long time to climb Mount Everest because of these crucial reasons:
- Trek: Trekking to the Everest Base Camp takes around 18 days. However, if you take a helicopter ride, which is expensive, you can climb Mount Everest for a short duration.
- Acclimatization: It is a crucial aspect of the journey to save yourself from altitude sickness. You will be acclimatizing camps 1,2 and 3. After you climb to Camp 3, you will descend to Base Camp again to resupply and reset. Finally, you will ascend to Camp 3 after a day or two for the final summit attempt.
- Weather: Weather decides everything at a high altitude, such as Everest. The weather is constantly changing at Everest and can also get lethal.
Sometimes, the camps get destroyed and blown off, icefalls occur, or there may even be deadly avalanches. So, climbers must remain vigilant and follow their guide’s instructions instead of trying to summit as soon as possible.
How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest?
It takes around $29450 – $44,500 worth of budget to climb the summit. Of course, the cost will be higher with the increased services you want.
The cost of climbing Mount Everest per person can be broken down as follows:
- Everest climbing permit from the Nepalese government: $11,000
- Application Fee for permits: $400
- Nepalese Liason Officer: $500
- Nepal Tourist Visa: $100
- Refundable Rubbish fee: $650
- Personal Climbing Gear: $6,000
- Airfare to and from Lukla: $350
- Equipment Transport: Lukla to Basecamp: $600
- Tea House food and Lodgings: $350
- Food and fuel above basecamp: $750
- Personal tent at basecamp: $400
- Food at basecamp for four weeks: $2,500
- Everest ER Fee: $100
- Rope Fixing Fee: $750
- Oxygen Tanks: $5,000
- Oxygen Mask & Regulator: $2,000
- Transport of Oxygen: $1,000
- Mountain Tents: $3,000
- Load Sherpa: $3,000
- Sherpa Cooks: $2,000
- Climbing Sherpa: $5,000
- Guide/Team Leader: $6,000
- MountainClean-up: $500
- Summit Bonuses: $1,200
- Trip Insurance: $600
- Medical Insurance: $400
- Spending Money: $1,000
What is the most dangerous part of Mt Everest?
Khumbu icefall is the most dangerous part of climbing Mount Everest. It is continuously falling ice from the Khumbu glacier.
It is regarded as the most dangerous part because even an extensive rope and ladder cannot prevent loss of life. Once, a climber was crushed by a 12-story block of ice.
How long can you survive without oxygen on Everest?
Climbing Everest without supplementary oxygen means a higher risk to the climber; however, it is not impossible. Many mountaineers have climbed the world’s highest peak without bottled oxygen.
Regarding the survival duration without oxygen on Everest, you will live for about 24-48 hours, depending on your endurance level. It is because the air at such an altitude is thin, depriving the body of oxygen. Due to this, climbers spend less time in and above the death zone.
What is the fastest Everest climb?
On May 21, 2004, a Nepali named Pemba Dorje Sherpa made history by climbing Mount Everest from the base camp within 8 hours and 10 minutes.
Before him, another Sherpa of Nepal named Lhakpa Gelu ascended Mount Everest on May 26, 2003, in 10 hours, 56 minutes, and 46 seconds.
Eligibility criteria for Mount Everest climbers
With prior experience in mountaineering at a high altitude, preferably more than 6000 meters, you must have good health and physical fitness to climb Mount Everest.
Beginners cannot climb Mount Everest as it takes two to three years of adequate climbing to qualify for Everest.
The other eligibility criteria for climbing Mount Everest are as follows:
- Report of good health and physical fitness
- Must have climbed at least one peak of more than 6,500 meters.
- Should be accompanied by a trained Nepalese guide.
- Have cardiovascular and strength conditioning
- Practice climbing on ice
- Have technical expertise in mountaineering.
- Know your gear and equipment.
What mountain should I scale before climbing Mount Everest?
Before climbing Mount Everest, I suggest climbing mountains like Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Mt. Blanc, Aconcagua, Mera and Island peaks, and the majestic Denali.
Physical fitness required to summit Mt Everest
To summit Mount Everest, you need outstanding strength, endurance, cardiovascular conditioning, and high-altitude tolerance. Climbing the mountain takes years of practice and is not for the faint-hearted.
You need to focus your training in the following ways, assuming you have an excellent health condition and no injuries:
- Strength training: gym workouts for core and lower body
- Cardiovascular training: aerobics and anaerobic workouts with and without pack weight
- Climbing conditioning: pack-loaded stair climbing, uphill hiking, and walking
- Flexibility training
To build your climbing conditioning safely and effectively, you should gradually increase your weekly hiking time, elevation, and distance. Never rush your training.
The treacherous paths and trails, dynamic weather, geographical barriers like crevasses, fear of the Khumbu Icefall encounter, and many more factors count as a significant threat to the climbers and can become fatal on many occasions. All in all, it takes guts and a bit of luck to climb Mount Everest.
We have shared much information on a common question, “How long does it take to climb Mount Everest?” along with other general faqs. If you think we have missed out on anything and want them to be answered, you can contact us or leave a comment. We will be happy to answer you!