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Applying for a Climbing Permit in Kathmandu (8,000ers)

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Applying for a Climbing Permit in Kathmandu (8,000ers)

Postby sanders » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:49 am

The economics of climbing non-Everest 8,000ers in Nepal shows that one should pay an agency around $7.5K for base services, including permit, transport to base camp and hotel in Kathmandu. Given the royalty for a permit is around $2.0K (if there are 3-5 members on the expedition) and the cost of transport is between $0.5K-$1.0K, that leaves for an agency whopping $4.5K-$5.0K on the table (7.5K minus 2.0K minus 0.5K/1.0K).

Compare that to Pakistan where an agency charges around $4.0K for a non-K2 8,000er (same permit, transport to base camp, hotel in Islamabad). Given the royalty for a permit is around $1.0K-$1.8K (if there are 3-5 members on the expedition) and the cost of transport roughly the same as in Nepal ($0.5K-$1.0K), that leaves for an agency just $1.0K-$2.5K on the table (4.0K minus 1.0K/1.8K minus 0.5K/1.0K). That is 2.5 - 4.0 times less than in Nepal...

So, my question is (a) whether it is possible to directly obtain a permit from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation under the Government of Nepal (http://www.tourism.gov.np) and (b) how complicated the process is (flying down to Kathmandu, hiring locals to apply)? Unfortunately, there are no clear application instructions on the Ministry's web site...

Not that I am greedy... I just want to spend money on where the real value is - e.g. equipment, supplies, preparation...


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FYI, latest Nepal royalties for 8,000-ers (excl.Everest):
1 member - $5.0K
2 members - $3.0K each
3 members - $2.3K each
4 members - $2.0K each
5 members - $1.7K each
6 members - $1.5K each
7 members - $1.4K each

(http://www.tourism.gov.np/menu.php?p=28&page=Mountaineering%20Royalty)
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Re: Applying for a Climbing Permit in Kathmandu (8,000ers)

Postby Damien Gildea » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:34 pm

Firstly, if you're looking to save money then someone like Monterosa will end up charging you more like $5,500-6,000. http://monterosa-nepal.com/nepal-expedi ... ition.html and there are cheaper outfits than Monterosa or Asian Trekking or Thamserku or Arun Treks or whomever. So there's $2,000 off your whopping pile of cash on the table, straight up.

Yes, it is possible to do it all yourself, like in the 70s. Just how much time and patience do you have? If you want to spend a week or more sitting in taxis in traffic and offices in the heat and going back and forth doing the same thing over and over, all the while paying for a hotel and meals and time off work and everything else...

In your figures that give $5K 'profit' you only have as costs, on top of the peak fee, c$750 for 'transport' - but this can not have not included:
- porters to BC, incl. sirdar
- cook and cook assistant at BC (you don't want to cook yourself for an 8000er)
- BC food
- climbing food
- Liaison Officer
- van/bus to roadhead or flight to Lukla/Pokhara/Tumlingtar
- insurance for porters, cooks and assistants
- environmental bond
- environmental fee
- the office and staff expenses to do all this for you

All this can easily add up to c.$2,000 on top of the peak fee, so $4,500 cost per climber is not unrealistic. So if a company is charging $5,500 for basic services they're making 18% profit, which is hardly unreasonable.
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Re: Applying for a Climbing Permit in Kathmandu (8,000ers)

Postby sanders » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:20 pm

Thanks, Damien! I have been painfully going through dozens of google search pages but have not found any operator offering BC services for less than $7K... Those $5.5K seems to be a history now... Somebody there must have started charging $7K+ and everybody followed... Too bad... It's just becoming too commercialized in Nepal, now beyond Everest...

As for the costs, I assume $0.5K-$1.0K covers both jeeps and porters to BC - can't be much above it (Cho Oyu/Shisha)... Cook at BC - ok, additional $0.5K per person... Climbing food - on me... Liaison officer - let's say, $0.3K per person... Tibetan flights - no need... Environmental fee - $0.1K-$0.2K... Administrative expense - let's say 15% of everything, or $1.1K...

Thus, the overhead can add roughly $2.0K... And the profit margins reach 35%+, depending on how hungry the operators are (e.g. average($2.5K,$3.0K)/$7.5K+)... I think it's fine to charge a lot on commercial full board service expeditions (one risks his guides on a summit push, etc.), but not on base camp service expeditions (permit, transport, BC food)... What do you think?...
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Re: Applying for a Climbing Permit in Kathmandu (8,000ers)

Postby Damien Gildea » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:29 pm

sanders wrote:... I have been painfully going through dozens of google search pages but have not found any operator offering BC services for less than $7K... Those $5.5K seems to be a history now...


How so? Group sizes of 8 persons are not unusual for these operators on the popular 8000ers, when they combine individuals and pairs. That link I provided above shows 8 people pay $5,500 each. I'm also going on what friends have paid in the last couple of years - $5500-6500 - and those groups were smaller than 6 people.

As for the other costs, it will really depend on group size, the mountain, the season and a few other things, so it's too hard to get specific with numbers.
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