The level of Mount Everest climb difficulty is well-known among mountaineers. It is considered to be a very difficult and challenging endeavor. The altitude and harsh weather conditions make the Everest climb hard, even for experienced mountaineers. Due to its extreme altitude, unpredictable weather, and treacherous terrain, only a fewer people have successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest.
The journey to the summit requires 6-8 hours of walking every day for over 2 weeks, in addition to 10-12 hours of climbing and camping. You require previous climbing experience along with familiarity with various climbing tools, ropes, crampons, harnesses, etc. Overall, climbing Mount Everest is an extremely demanding and dangerous undertaking that requires a high level of fitness, experience, and determination. It is not a climb that should be taken lightly. Even highly experienced climbers face serious challenges and risks when attempting to reach the summit.
- What factors make the Everest climb hard?
- Climb difficulty comparison between Mt. Everest, Mt. K2 & Mt. Denali
- How to minimize Everest climb difficulty?
- What is the best time for Mt. Everest climb?
- Everest climb duration & success rate
What factors make the Everest climb hard?
The spectacular sight of Everest blesses you with the calmness of mother nature, but the route to the summit comes with its own unpredictable challenges. Several factors make the climb atop Mt. Everest difficult. Here are some of the major points to consider:
1. Extreme altitude
One of the biggest challenges of climbing Mount Everest is the altitude, which can cause various health problems, including altitude sickness. At such high elevations, the air is thin, and less oxygen is available for the body to use, which can lead to dizziness, headaches, and other symptoms. For that reason, the climbers ascend with supplementary oxygen.
|1,000m / 3,281ft.
|2,500m / 8,202ft.
|3,000m / 9,843ft.
|3,500m / 11,483ft.
|4,000m / 13,123ft.
|4,500m / 14,764ft.
|5,000m / 16,404ft.
|5,500m / 18,044ft.
|6,000m / 19,685ft.
|6,500m / 19,685ft.
|7,000m / 22,966ft.
|8000m / 26,247 ft.
|8,848m / 29,028ft.
Moreover, the area above 8,000 m (26,246 ft) is called the death zone due to the increased risk of escalating altitude. At this altitude, the oxygen level drops to one-third of the normal condition. This condition may lead to high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE), resulting in muscle failure, impaired speech, and hallucination. Therefore, acclimatization is crucial in ascending higher altitudes.
The weather on the world’s tallest mountain is also a major challenge for climbers, making the Everest climb hard. The mountain experiences extreme temperatures, with lows of -33ºF (-36ºF) and highs of over -2ºF (-19 ºC) in summer. High winds, heavy snowfall, and other unpredictable weather conditions can make climbing even more difficult and dangerous. The Everest climb difficulty exponentially rises as the elevation rises with harsh weather conditions.
Avalanches are frequent occurrences on Mt. Everest. Various factors, such as sudden changes in weather, the movement of other climbers, and the shifting of snow and ice on the mountain can trigger them. Avalanches can make the Everest climb difficult by causing serious injuries and fatalities. It can create obstacles for climbers by blocking or burying key routes to the summit. Therefore, climbers must be prepared to deal with the possibility of avalanches and take appropriate safety measures to avoid or mitigate the risks.
The route to the summit of Mt. Everest is steep and rocky, with several treacherous sections that require technical climbing skills. These sections can be challenging, especially for inexperienced climbers, and even experienced climbers sometimes face serious risks. Additionally, the route is often crowded with other climbers, making it even more difficult to maneuver and increasing the chances of accidents.
4. Physical fitness
Another factor that makes climbing Mount Everest difficult is the physical fitness required to complete the climb. The climb is extremely demanding and requires a high level of fitness to handle challenges. Even experienced climbers need to be in good physical condition in order to handle the high altitude, harsh weather conditions, and difficult terrain. Additionally, the Everest climb is physically exhausting, and climbers must endure long, grueling days of climbing with a heavy backpack. This can be tough, especially for inexperienced climbers who may not be used to the demands of high-altitude mountaineering.
Climb difficulty comparison between Mt. Everest, Mt. K2 & Mt. Denali
Mount Everest, Mount K2, and Mount Denali are all extremely challenging mountains. Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, is known for its high altitude and harsh weather conditions. Likewise, Mount K2, the second-highest mountain in the world, is known for its steep and treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather. Similarly, Mount Denali, the highest mountain in North America, is also challenging due to its high elevation and frequently changing weather conditions.
Primarily, the above-mentioned three mountains require a high level of physical fitness, experience, and determination to reach the summit successfully. However, compared to Everest, the K2 expedition is regarded a bit tougher. Although climbing Mount Denali is relatively easier than K2, it is still considered a more difficult climb than Everest. Below is a tabular form of data for a clear outline of the comparison between these three peaks:
|8,848 m (29,030 ft)
|8,611 m (28,251 ft)
|6,190 m (20,310 ft)
|Minimum Temperature (approx.)
|Climb Duration (approx.)
How to minimize Everest climb difficulty?
Compared to when Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary climbed the Everest summit in 1953 for the first time, the route to ascend Everest is relatively easier now. However, the difficulty of reaching the summit still remains. The ruthless weather conditions and challenging terrain have led to several deaths over the years.
The attempt to climb Everest requires proper training beforehand to prepare you for the unseen challenges you might face during the expedition. First, make sure to pick the right expedition company to ensure your safety. You can also check out the Mount Everest Expedition itinerary for a clear understanding of the climbing route and duration.
What is the best time for Mt. Everest climb?
The Everest climb difficulty highly depends on the season of the expedition. Although the weather conditions at the summit are hard to predict, the general data suggest spring and fall to be relatively good times to make the ascend with the least risk of failure. Most mountaineers go for the climb during May when the temperature is warmer, and high-altitude winds are calmer.
The riskiest time is monsoon, when the trail is extremely slippery, leading to more accidents. Therefore, most adventure-seekers prefer the pre-monsoon season for the climb. Likewise, winter comes with its challenges for the expedition as dense snow covers the climbing trail. Therefore, we recommend that you get an idea about the best month to climb Mt. Everest, if you really wish to do the Everest expedition.
Everest climb duration & success rate
Starting your journey from Kathmandu, the expedition will take about 70 days until you return to Kathmandu. The trek starts from Lukla to the Everest Base Camp, with acclimatization days in between. After ensuring the weather condition and necessary preparation, you ascend the Everest summit with your guides or the Sherpas.
With the rising popularity of the Everest expedition, the summit welcomes numerous visitors from around the world. However, not all mountaineers make it to the top because of the challenges along the way to the peak. As some data shows, in recent years, the Everest climb success rate has been 60%, with a fatality rate of 14.1%.
In a nutshell, the Mount Everest climb is not an easy feat and requires tremendous effort and adequate preparation to succeed. The brutal weather condition and the harsh terrain elevates the Everest climb difficulty by a large measure. In the meantime, if you are seeking assistance to fulfill your once-in-a-lifetime mission, contact our team of experts and plan your Everest expedition. Also, to learn more about our travel updates and tips, follow us on Facebook.