At the heart of the recent Nepal regulations for Everest, was the recommendation that you first climb a 6,500 meter (21,329 feet) peak. And it needs to be in Nepal. So Denali won’t qualify you for an Everest expedition obviously, or summiting Aconcagua, though it nearly touches 7,000 meters.
Suddenly the obscure Singu Chuli, at 6,501 meters (21,329 feet), becomes desirable, a Nepal trekking peak that for US$350 you can have a permit for 4 people. Will that prepare you for Everest, make it any safer, or increase your likelihood of success? Or does it just generate more tourism dollars and peak fees for Nepal?
Along with the call for reaching 6,500 meters, vaguely worded regulations call for climbing and health checks, and the need to climb with a Nepali Guide – as well as work with a certified company with some experience and who will charge you at least US$35,000.00.
Considering the permit fee is $11,000.00, that leaves $24,000.00 for the Guiding company, staff, oxygen and all the associated logistics. Local companies will do that for you, but don’t plan on them helping much should you need advice, support, or another bottle or two of oxygen.
So will that climb to 6,500 meters make Everest any safer. If you are one of those who I heard of this year, who were stomping around in Chukung below Island Peak, fitting your crampons and trying them out for the first time in the lodge, perhaps. At least getting your crampons fitted on an earlier expedition will be a start.
The good but harsh thing about Everest, is if you get it wrong, you can perhaps be nominated for a Darwin Award.
Just don’t plan on being awarded if you simply do something stupid, it has to be spectacularly stupid, and normally combine a few very foolish thing together. Simply running out of oxygen doesn’t really count.