Poll: Would You Climb Mt. Everest?

If money was no object, does the world’s highest summit call to you?


By nearly any measure, Mt. Everest is an aesthetic mountain, with challenges for every level of alpinist. It is, however, crowded, at least at this time of year, when the pre-monsoon season provides relatively stable weather. In recent weeks, more than 400 people have made the summit. But it’s not always so: the north side is far less populated, and you can always go in fall, when the days are short but the place is empty.

But would you? Let’s say Adventure Journal offered an Everest grant and paid for one reader to travel to and from the world’s highest peak, all expenses paid. Would you do it? Does the allure of being on top of the top have enough appeal to accept the risk, the crowds, the hype? Would you prefer another, less-popular Himalayan peak? Or just punt altogether and climb closer to home?

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Photo by Calum Robinson

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Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal. Follow him on Instagram at @stevecasimiro.
Showing 104 comments
  • Robert Ramsey
    Reply

    I’m not a lawyer, or a Doctor. I don’t manage a hedge fund. I make enough money to pay the bills, and to hike. So yes. If money was no object, I would love to have the chance to climb Mt. Everest !

    • Victoria
      Reply

      People who say they want to climb the tallest mountain on earth just sound like they need to read up on Freud. Take a break and do some psychoanalyzing. There are so many amazing adventure opportunities in the world that don’t put your life at such a high risk and don’t take reckless advantage of locals, that wanting to climb the biggest and baddest comes across as wanting to egotistically conquer the world.

      That said, oh hell yeah I’d be tempted if it were all expenses paid. I’d want it, but I don’t deserve it, and I don’t believe that 95% of people who go deserve it. Just because you have the resources doesn’t mean you should.

  • Oliver W. Smith
    Reply

    North side, why not? If all expenses were paid, it would be a great adventure no matter what. All the hype/overcrowding/chaos/rich idiot soul-lessness is awful, but it is still a beautiful mountain in an incredible part of the world. North side, alpine style, just go as high as you can or want. Sounds like fun to me!

  • Bryan
    Reply

    Yes, if money was no object and the number of people on the mountain was low. I don’t understand why you would want to go up there now and just be nose to ass climbing all the way up.

  • mikeday
    Reply

    I love my family and friends and I don’t trust the weather. So no, I would not climb Everest. Too much of an x-factor with far too narrow of a margin of error between plate tectonics and weather. I commend (almost) anyone willing to do so, but you cant plan for earthquakes and avalanches…

  • Adam Marshall
    Reply

    Do I have to?

  • Gabe
    Reply

    NOOOOOOOOOOOORTHSIIIIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDDDEE!
    But honestly, if money was not a factor a lot less deaths might happen on the mountain.
    People push themselves past their limits because they’ve already invested so much, can’t fail.

  • JP
    Reply

    Perfect conditions and no crowds, heck yes.

  • Matthew
    Reply

    If it weren’t for the crowds and money was no object I would do it in a heartbeat.

  • Colin M
    Reply

    Nope, not interested at all. The skiing there sucks.

  • LmnMrng3.14
    Reply

    I wouldn’t enjoy the commercialization and crowds of Everest. For me, it seems antithetical to my purpose for seeking adventure. There are plenty of Himalayan peaks that would provide me the same sense of accomplishment and experience without the crowds and the press.

  • Bradley
    Reply

    I just finished reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer… so count me out. It’s not worth the risk.

  • Matt
    Reply

    I would be interested if it weren’t so crowded.

  • Seth
    Reply

    not at all interested …

  • John Tannock
    Reply

    Not interested in climbing any mountains at this point in my life. Did a couple but wasn’t overwhelmed by the experiences.

  • Joe
    Reply

    Risk/reward profile just doesn’t make sense to me. There are a million adventures out there, and many of them (IMO) provide much higher thrills at much lower probability of dying due to circumstances beyond my control.

  • mcr
    Reply

    nope. plenty of other amazing places to go that don’t exceed my personal acceptable level of risk.

  • Pancho
    Reply

    I think there are other adventures to be had closer to home. Less of a cultural and environmental footprint.

    North Side appeals to me a lot more, but I’d see what the North American ranges have to offer before flying halfway around the world to summit a mountain.

  • Glenn
    Reply

    Not really interested. Truth is a have a fear of heights, so it’s not in my wheelhouse.

  • Ben
    Reply

    A free adventure…um yeah!

  • AL
    Reply

    Nope. Altitude sickness.

  • Matt
    Reply

    Yeah sure why not

  • Ph
    Reply

    I’ve been fantasizing about touching the top of the world all my life.

  • fjallman
    Reply

    probably not, but who knows

  • Chris
    Reply

    yes because it’s there….

  • Jonathan
    Reply

    Not just yes, hell yes!

  • Andy
    Reply

    I have no interest in standing in a line at high altitude. With that many people you’re definitely putting your life into the hands of others on the rope. Who wants to die in a traffic jam at 30,000 ft? Other, lesser used mountains might be interesting though.

  • Matt
    Reply

    plenty of other challenges out there

  • Thomas Smith
    Reply

    No, plenty of other adventures with less risk. Maybe if I were older and without a family.

  • Craig
    Reply

    No, not today. If I could go back in time, to the days of my youth, and before the crowds, and the scenes of the modern Everest, I might be tempted. But not today.

  • Al
    Reply

    I’ll stick to my Cali fourteeners!!But if my expedition was paid for…..Hmmmmm

  • John
    Reply

    A lot of risk, but would be a tough decision if money were no object

  • Colin Delderfield
    Reply

    I’m a dad – no way could I be tempted to take the risk…

  • Lee
    Reply

    Not sure my body could handle it. I don’t like cold & snow. So, I would take the money and time and do something besides Everest even if it is equally as dangerous.

  • Scott Triplett
    Reply

    Back before you knew anything about an expedition to Everest I dreamed about climbing. I would go to the library and read the London Times to catch an update about any climbs. Today not so much. The idea that a couple of guys would get together in a pub and divide up the ground work and go to Nepal on an adventure just blew my mind, and I wanted in….. The climbers of the 70’s Doug Scott, Bonnington, Haston, Messmer, ect were my adventure heroes….

  • Jane
    Reply

    North Side so I don’t have to go via Lukla airport again 😉

  • Dan
    Reply

    I’d rather climb something slightly smaller, and more adventurous, in the Himalaya even if no one at cocktail parties has ever of it.

  • Pedro
    Reply

    My wife says no, so let’s not tell her until we get back!

  • AF
    Reply

    At some point we all have to get off the “bigger, further, more exotic is better” kool-aid. The world cannot support all of our adventures. Send the money to a third world business incubator instead and explore local.

  • Brian
    Reply

    Of course I would! As a mountaineer, Everest is alluring even with the clear objective dangers. But without paying for it I would be more willing to turn back.

  • Andy Edstrom
    Reply

    The allure is immeasurable. Go with the open mind that the summit is not the ONLY option. The experience, the atmosphere, the appreciation for the grandeur is in the offing. Appreciate the fact you can be there and have a chance to summit in good company and whatever the result will be the reward! Wander on my friends……

  • Chris
    Reply

    No. I have a young child, so Everest is a too greater risk for me.

  • A. Dolk
    Reply

    Heck no. While I can’t judge anyone else who decides to go for the top (unless they’re doing it with their underage kids — then I have a problem with it) the risk/reward ratio just doesn’t work out for me. I’d happily trek up to base camp though. 🙂

  • Ade
    Reply

    Of course. It may not have the luster it did in years gone by (thanks commercialism) but it’s still a challenge to aspire to. Of course after the highest point on earth I’d then have to figure out a way to the lowest! Thanks Jacques Piccard & James Cameron…

  • Rich
    Reply

    Looks fun, even with some of the crowds.

  • Ryan
    Reply

    Heck. Yes.

  • Roger
    Reply

    Seems like a lot of climbing to get somewhere without a rum bar or beach.

  • Lindsay
    Reply

    I’ve never been much of a peak bagger. I like my trails secluded, with woods, streams, lakes, animals, etc. LOVE to read about these treks though! It’s fascinating.

  • Jeff
    Reply

    If money were no object? Heck, Yes!. Now, having a family changes the risk/reward profile of the decision, however having someone else pay for it would certainly also impact the decision to turn back if conditions proved too much for the trip. Having alternative options and the willingness to exercise them is paramount.

  • Kevin McAllister
    Reply

    5 died this week, no thanks

  • Mitch
    Reply

    Read the article further below this one and then decide.

  • CatBad
    Reply

    It’s cold, right? Not much oxygen. Dead bodies. Other litter. Nope. No thanks…

  • Daniel
    Reply

    Heck Yes!

  • Colin Wood
    Reply

    Nope. Have young kids. No desire to do it. Other worthy objectives.

  • Bob D
    Reply

    There was a day I’d say yes. But now, not so much. Mountaineering in general is risky, and the way it is on Everest, western climbers are putting Nepalese lives at risk simply by being there. I know this is a great opportunity for Nepalese and Tibetan climbers and guides to make a good living that would otherwise be impossible, but I have a hard time justifying risking anyone else’s life but mine when it comes to climbing a mountain.

  • dennis
    Reply

    Money no object, small crowds and a year to get into shape; sign me up.

  • Joe
    Reply

    If money was not an issue I would totally go to Everest, is what I totally would have said my pre-kid days. Nowadays I’d rather attempt the adventure of raising my kids. Agree with the others though, a trip up to base camp would be an amazing experience in and of itself.

  • Zigy
    Reply

    No; another “I was there; I did it; I risked life and limb for……….? Remind me for what?”

    and now that I’ve written the above, I find myself thinking……. “that would be a glorious experience even if I never said a word about it…..” So change my vote to
    “yes.”

  • Chris
    Reply

    If it was economical to do it as a small team, hell yes. Even better if we could chase the West Ridge. But since the permit system encourages large groups, oxygen, and the two “trade” routes, then its likely I’ll never see it happen.

  • Alan Kaplanas
    Reply

    Getting to the top is nothing; The way you do it is everything. Royal Robbins

  • Dan Murphy
    Reply

    Nope. Way too much of a clusterfark for me.
    Oh yeah – and I’m old.

  • Sebastian Copeland
    Reply

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease. And Chomolungma definitely does. But there are better experiences to be had on the mountains without the crowd.

  • Kyle Alhart
    Reply

    Standing on the highest point in the world and what it takes to get there is something I couldn’t pass up.

  • sirenofshred
    Reply

    never say never

  • Trevor Wieskopf
    Reply

    I climb to the top of Kilimanjaro Jan 2010. I trekked to Everest Base Camp in Oct 2011. It was on my bucket list. In the process I raised $42000 for the fight against Breast Cancer, in my wife’s honor.
    If I had the $60K USD to climb to the summit, I would do it in a heart beat.
    I would not even think twice. IF anyone out there wants to donate to me, for me to climb to the summit, please reach out. 🙂
    It is an incredible mountain. The people along the route to base camp are beautiful.
    What a thrill it would be.

  • Davidi Schlosser
    Reply

    No. It has been turned into a circus. You’re climbing; who needs carpet, chairs, tv, and Internet at camp 2. Rather climb a lesser known mountain

  • DF
    Reply

    Sorry, way too much risk!

  • Libba Rose
    Reply

    So money (and time and energy) is no object? Then I’d have to consider the a way to use that money for something that would be of lasting value. Assisting clean water groups would be a good use of funds and , perhaps, or providing outdoor experiences for young people who might not otherwse have such experiences or to almost ANY cause that does not involve spending outrageous sums for myself. Please understand, I am all for adventuring, but this is one that puts sherpas, rescue teams, climbing partners, and one’s self at unusual risk for personal gain.

  • CK Mai
    Reply

    Meh, other adventures are out there with out the such a high risk and with out the crowds. Adventure isn’t just about an ego-fest.

  • George Jutras
    Reply

    With no crowds and perfect conditions, for sure. It’s the crowds that make Everest unappealing to me, and bad conditions that make high alpine mountaineering unnecessarily dangerous in my mind.

  • Seth
    Reply

    I’d go.
    I’d worry about risks and difficulty. And the rich entitled tourist circus & space junk aspects bother me. But still it’s an amazing region and gorgeous mountain.
    If in a few years if I have kids? Probably not: similar risks would seem too high.

  • DK
    Reply

    It would be more than a lifetime of adventures before that adventure got to the top of my list, so no.

  • Patrick Sheehy
    Reply

    Id want to go somewhere else.

  • Jen
    Reply

    Nope. Not worth the risk to me.

  • Rick
    Reply

    there’s a lot of good things to do with your money rather than spend it just to be a number on a list

  • Paul
    Reply

    If money is no object; you can always have yourself dropped off at the summit by helicopter! 🙂

  • jeremiah
    Reply

    I would. For no other reason than to do it.

  • Chris Prucnal
    Reply

    Been up to 18,000 feet, and that was an ordeal. Not worth the risk, and my ego melted away years ago.

  • Steve Bisig
    Reply

    No desire at all

  • Luke
    Reply

    I’ve never been drawn to it. Not that it wouldn’t be wonderful, but I think I’d rather be in the backcountry where there’s no one (or barely anyone else) than on a large mountain with everyone else. And I’m a people person. The draw to the wilderness is that is peaceful to me. I don’t want to have to navigate around the throngs of others trying for the same goal. It would be like waiting in line to get on my climbing project. Not ideal.

  • Nick
    Reply

    Regardless of how many times it’s done in a season these days, it’s still an impressive accomplishment.

  • Mark
    Reply

    If I had $, there were no crowds, i didn’t have kids and wasn’t married i would do it…otherwise i’d rather ski powder

  • PEDRO KOZLAKOWSKI
    Reply

    Hell yeah.

  • DanO
    Reply

    Nothing new to see here,folks. Besides, I like my lungs without blood in them, thanks.

  • EdG
    Reply

    Too little bang for the buck. Risk your death and others for tens of thousands of dollars just for the view. I’d go to Nepal to look at the mountain but not to climb it.

  • Corey
    Reply

    Its not the money that stands in my way. I’m not fit and I don’t handle altitude well, so I’m realistic in my expectations.

  • mark
    Reply

    Give me a trail through the woods with the smell of pines and a stream burbling nearby. And hearing the calls of birds and other animals. I like a bit of risk but F-forget climbing into the danga zone.

  • Mat
    Reply

    I would love to go to base camp, just to see the mountain, but then promptly turn around and see other things in Nepal. The top, heck no, not worth the risk.

  • Shane
    Reply

    Everest has become cliche for those willing to pony up cash for the experience provided by someone else. Let’s shoot for remote, uncommercial, exotic…..still plenty of options…..as long as you are not in a cave, overhang, or building you are (insert top of the world cliche); altitude is no longer the end in of itself.

  • Brian
    Reply

    No. I’m all onboard for climbing but I don’t necessarily think that going that high is a very good idea.

  • Kyle Taylor
    Reply

    Ever since I saw Discovery Channel’s Everest: Beyond the Limit, I’ve been hungry for it!

  • Dean Thompson
    Reply

    Hey AJ. Sign me up for your hypothetical trip.

  • Josh
    Reply

    Hell yes I would! Probably need to train for a few years first….

  • Mack
    Reply

    The only thing that has ever stopped me from attempting Everest is the cost. I’m down!

  • Matt
    Reply

    Yvon Chouinard has had a lot to say on the subject, but my favorite quote from him is… “The whole purpose of climbing something like Everest is to effect some sort of spiritual and physical gain. But if you compromise the process you’re an asshole when you start out and an asshole when you get back.”

  • Nana
    Reply

    I would love to

  • paul mcgonigle
    Reply

    I wish you could go to say camp 3 and then turn round. the issue is costs and logistics of course – the permit cost is the same, but I have been to over 6000m before, and would love to go to 7000m – but that is it. I have also stood at the foot of the khumbu icefall and would love to climb through it, but I do not have the desire to get to the south col or further. so yes – if I could go there with no predetermined plan to go higher and control the traffic chaos on the good days at the south col then yes please take me there!

  • Sebastian
    Reply

    I would climb it if the amateurs staid home and out of my way. That is not going to happen anytime soon, so answer is NO.
    I’ll climb another 8000+ and go on adventures elsewhere, where non of the amateurs think of going 😉

  • Adam
    Reply

    I don’t like standing in line.

  • Adam
    Reply

    Maybe. Read Into Thin Air, respect Krakauer quite a bit…If I was going to do it, I’d do it the right way. Carry my fair share of weight to base camp, learn the skills needed to do it safely and without over-reliance on my guide or Sherpas.

  • Nado
    Reply

    No, thanks. Too risky.

  • KW
    Reply

    I voted no even though as a kid I read all the old accounts I could on it from the the nearest city’s library. Honestly my actual favorite adventure I read about was Ned Gillette and Jan Reynolds ski (ok mostly hike) circumnavigation and that was what I would aim for if anything. Even picked up a pair of old Phoenix skis at hippy yard sale a couple of years back mostly out of nostalgia since they where a sponsor.

    Four hundred people I read in the other dispatch, and all the other things. It seems like it would be tough to “effect some sort of spiritual and physical gain. But if you compromise the process you’re an asshole when you start out and an asshole when you get back.” Thanks Matt and Chouinard.

    But, I guess if your only gain is ego and something to brag about at the corporate cocktail party then you’ve reached spiritual nirvana. Somehow I can picture the asshole context vividly.

  • Katt
    Reply

    Absolutely, summit or not! If it was no money option, and I was adequately prepared, I would do it. I can imagine the negatives of the crowding and such easily overwhelmed by the feeling of standing on Everest.

  • Jack
    Reply

    Sounds too easy and too risky at the same time… if that makes any sense at all!

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