Whom is it you are referring to?
I can understand how professional guides, sponsored by firms like North Face can spend each year on expeditions to Antarctica or the Hindu Kush, but there are many individuals who post that seem to find the $40,000 to go to the Polar Regions, or $60,000 to try ascents in Tibet, or other remote areas.
Names? There might be some (but many?), but I don’t know any active members on this site that can spend $40,000 to go to them or $60,000. There are people that go to those places, but I don’t know of any that are spending that kind of money.
Later this year, I’m taking my second trip to the Himalaya, but I plan on it costing $2,000 including airfare. Last trip (47 days) cost $1900 including airfare.
Other places we can get free plane tickets (putting all the bills on a miles card, but paying it off every month).
If I were climbing bigger mountains, it would cost more money, but I don’t think many members on SP are going on $60,000 expeditions. Do you have any names?
I know one member who has been on several expensive expeditions (namely Everest), but he seems to be an exception to the rule.
The one member I know of that has frequented the Antarctica regions led guided trips there or went on some sponsored climbs. I can’t think of that many active SP members who fork out $40,000 for an expedition, so am puzzled as to all these people you are referring to.
Between working in logging to pay my way through college, raising a family, military service, and being an educator for thirty two years I never could find more than three weeks at a time to be off climbing, and never enough money to take off to anywhere outside the U.S. and Canada.
I grew up in a low income neighborhood, got married as a teenager, paid for my own college, have kids, etc. and many of us are in the same boat, so don't really know what you are referring to.
Other than airfare, usually it is cheaper
to travel outside Canada and the US (at least most places with big mountains) than it is within those countries. In Peru for example, we were paying $5 a night for our bed and breakfast and that included two meals. Most of South America is cheap (not Patagonia).
Places like Southeast Asia are even cheaper.
Nepal and India are actually very cheap unless you climb 8000 meter peaks or go on guided expeditions. China costs fluctuates with the political situation and whether or not you can travel cheaply. It varies from very cheap to expensive, depending on the political situation at the time.
Most polar regions are expensive, but it still doesn’t cost $40,000 to go there.
Where are you getting your figures and whom are you referring to?