The Easiest Way to Climb Mount Everest

Conde Nast Traveler
Photographer: Andrew Peacock/Getty Images

Prayer flags near Mount Everest. Close

Prayer flags near Mount Everest.

Photographer: Andrew Peacock/Getty Images

Prayer flags near Mount Everest.

On your next trip to Asia, make sure you budget at least one day in Nepal. You could certainly spend weeks there, but for our recommend experience of Mount Everest, you need only one day.

We're not saying there's no joy or pride in attempting to reach the top of one of the famed Seven Summits on foot, we're just saying that there's another way for the rest of us not-so-outdoorsy folks to see the wonder of Everest.

So instead of climbing nearly 30,00 feet and risking life and limb, try signing up for an airplane tour with a reputable company (we booked ours through travel specialists GeoEx, who helped plan the entire Grand Tour of Asia itinerary). Not only will you stay completely clear of frostbite and leg cramps this way—but you'll also hang on to some extra cash. Individual climbing permits alone will set you back up to $25,000—and there's certainly no guarantee you'll get what you paid for. To date, only about 1,200 of the 6,000 people who've tried to reach the peak made it; 235 died trying.

Our Editor at Large Hanya Yanagihara was particularly lucky on her tour—she got to fly with Tashi Tenzing Sherpa, the grandson of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, who summited Mount Everest with Edmund Hillary in 1953. The entire experience took her about an hour, though if you're particularly mountain-mad, you can upgrade to a three-hour guided helicopter experience, which actually flies between the mountains and lands at a trekking lodge for breakfast.

Read all about it on her Insider's Guide to Nepal, part of her epic 12-country, 45-day Grand Tour of Asia.

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