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How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest and the Seven Summits


Vivian James Rigney is not any casual traveler.

The manager coach and speaker has visited greater than 80 countries and lived on three continents.

He’s also climbed the very best mountains on all seven continents, the so-called Seven Summits.

It is a feat that took him 14 years — one, he estimates, that fewer than 1,000 people have accomplished.

And he did it despite being “frightened of heights,” he said.

In an interview with CNBC Travel, Rigney talked about what he learned — and the way much it cost him — to succeed in among the highest points on earth.  

The associated fee to climb

Rigney estimates he’s paid between $170,000 and $180,000 to climb the Seven Summits, he said.

“Everest is, by far, the costliest,” he said, adding that he paid about $80,000 when he climbed it in 2010.

“You might have to save lots of and construct a plan,” he said. “That is why it took me years. I began, then I went to business school, all my money was gone into that, then I began again, got a recent job … Piece by piece, I regularly got through it.”

But there’s one other cost — the time away from work, said Rigney. Luckily, he said his employers supported his goals.

“If you might have employer … they’ll see [personal goals] as something which will help lift the spirits of the corporate,” he said.

From ‘easy’ to ‘excruciatingly painful’  

Along with costs, the Seven Summits vary considerably by way of climbing difficulty, said Rigney.  

He said Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro is “easy,” calling it “technically not difficult in any respect.”

But it surely is high enough to feel altitude sickness, he said, which stops some climbers from reaching the highest.

Kilimanjaro could be climbed in per week, he said. Antarctica’s Vinson Massif can take two weeks — “when you’re lucky” — and North America’s Denali three to 4 weeks.

But Mount Everest is a “massive logistical operation” that takes about two months, he said. It’s by far essentially the most difficult and dangerous climb, he said, calling the experience “excruciatingly painful.”  

“Every cell in your body is saying you mustn’t be here,” he said. “Your intuition goes nuts.”

Rigney climbed Mount Everest for about 4 to 5 hours a day. The remaining of the time “you are recovering in your tent alone … no devices, no web … nothing.”

Courtesy of Inside Us LLC

He said he arrived “bulked up and super fit.” Despite consuming 7,000 to eight,000 calories a day — mainly potatoes, pasta and dry food — he said he lost 20 kilos through the Everest climb.

Staying warm takes an incredible amount of energy, he said. Every part freezes, he said, including LCD camera screens.

“We now have what we call a pee bag. You pee on this bag, and also you seal it and you place that into the sleeper bag with you since it’s warm.”

There are only about three to 5 days within the climbing season that climbers can reach Everest’s summit. In the event that they do, it’s a fast victory, said Rigney.

“People don’t loaf around the summit for hours,” he said. “You get the heck off the mountain as quick as you may.”

From climbing to coaching

Rigney is now an executive coach and speaker, teaching corporate executives lessons he learned from pushing himself, mentally and physically, to the limit.

He’s also the creator of “Naked on the Knife’s Edge,” a book about how he’s used among the most harrowing moments from his Everest climb for skilled success.

Climbers do not stay long once they reach Mount Everest’s peak, said Rigney. “You get the heck off the mountain as quick as you may.”

Courtesy of Inside Us LLC

He said he helps “overachievers… [with] tons on their mind” achieve balance and break habits “which pull us along … as if we’re on a conveyor belt.”

For instance, fear — whether it’s of public speaking or his own fear of heights — could be overcome using tricks of the mind, he said.

And leaders must learn to just accept things which can be out of their control, be it an injury or a pandemic, he said.  

He said he still laughs when he thinks about arriving at a small airplane hangar in Kathmandu one hour before he was scheduled to fly to the foothills of the Himalayas.

After climbing the “Seven Summits,” Rigney said he’s deliberately selecting travel experiences which can be less dangerous. He said several years ago, he found a hobby that’s each difficult and fun: scuba diving.

Courtesy of Inside Us LLC

“I remember going as much as this gentleman … and I said ‘Hey… what time do you’re thinking that we’ll be leaving?'” said Rigney. “He said: ‘Possibly today, hopefully by tomorrow, likely by the top of the week.'”

Ten minutes later, one other climber, who got the identical answer, exploded with anger, he said.  

“Eventually this guy looks over, red with steam coming out his ears, and we are only howling. I believe it finally clicked — like that is where you’re. That is about weather within the Himalayas!”

It’s just one among an extended list of “things we will control and things we cannot,” said Rigney.

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