The title says it all, really.

Are there possibilities using helicopters for example? What are the prices? Any experiences?


4 Answers 4


No, there is no way without hiking from base camp at least. I have had extensive talks with three people who went up there either as a tourist or even as a professional Sherpa.

The one and only helicopter landing that is cited on Wikipedia was an extreme stunt and not something that is done in any kind of routine for tourists. The helicopter neither touched the ground with all his weight nor was it able in any way to let people get out or in. It has merely touched the ground long enough with a part of the landing gear to set a record.

Helicopter flights in high altitudes are dangerous and at the limit of the equipment. On top of that, the fast changing weather in the area makes it even less secure. Until 2005, even flying to the base camp was considered dangerous and often crashes happened. And that is at about 5000 meters, not much more than half of the 8'800 meters of the whole mountain.

The dangers of weather and the different reaction of people to the height make it an experience where many people fail to reach the summit. The preparations take months, the reservation for a trip can take a year or more and the costs vary from 35k to 90k USD. By the way: On any hike you will be able to see dead bodies on the way of the many people who died trying. If you have a sensible Sherpa, they will try to go around them, but they are up there.

The issue is always the landing with the helicopter. It's hard to find a suitable spot to land and to have a soft landing in the thin air is very difficult. The higher you get up the mountain, the less places are there to land.

Since you apparently are not asking this to tell others that you have climbed the mountain, but rather just to be up there to experience it, I can recommend you to take a helicopter tour of the mountain without landing. You can go up to 6'500 meters and have a spectacular view of the scenery without risking your life. This one is even with Tashi Tenzing, the grandson of Tenzing Norgay who climbed with Edmund Hillary. I would expect some interesting stories.

Otherwise, you can decide if you still want to hike up there. But even if you would take a helicopter to base camp, the rest of the trip is still 25+ days if you are lucky to get up on one of the first attempts, 20 days more if you are unlucky. One thing to consider is that it will not possible for you to do any part of the actual hike without the acclimatization in the middle to get used to the height. So flying in somewhere in the middle from a lower area is not an option simply because of that, no matter if there is an actual flight available.

FYI since 1st April 2013, traveling to Tibet is possible again without restrictions. So going through China is also an option now. It's still just as dangerous of course.

As reported in May 2014, the Nepalese authorities consider it as a huge no-no for climbers to do parts of the trip in a helicopter. I would assume that similar goes for the Chinese side. So even if you can technically do parts of the trip in a helicopter, it seems that doing so will get your name into a newspaper for allegations similar to fraud.

  • of course he would not need to land on the summit, depending on what he considers "too far". If he's happy to climb from one of the lower camps, a helicopter becomes feasible.
    – jwenting
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 6:06
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    @jwenting it takes you 25-45 days to get up there hiking even if you fly to base camp. I somehow put that into the "too far" box.
    – uncovery
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 7:53
  • was hoping the higher camps might be reachable by helicopter (even if there are no regular flights, I'm pretty sure there have been medevacs so something could I guess be arranged if you have enough money to burn).
    – jwenting
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 9:01
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    @jwenting the issue I guess is that there will be a certain threshold where "enough money to burn" will allow you to do almost anything including flying to Mars. To keep in scope for this website, I guess we should stick with things that are actually currently offered somewhere.
    – uncovery
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 9:10
  • Pulmonary Oedema Rules Not-OK. I remember when a Spanish climber helicoptered into Base Camp from Kathmandu. He was dead by evening.
    – David Pugh
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 17:02

My first reaction on reading this question was to wonder if it was a joke or an attempt to satirize the concept of "extreme tourism." If so, then well done.

If not, then I would like to correct an apparent misconception stated in the question. "Hiking too far" is not a good description of what it takes to climb a mountain that's over 8000 m high. Climbing any peak this high doesn't just require hiking, it involves a range of technical mountaineering skills, including use of ice ax and crampons, placing protection, belaying, roped travel, and crevasse rescue.

  • 5
    While I agree that asking to get up with a heli and tagging it as "extreme tourism" is quite a contradiction, the question is still valid. There could be a landing spot somewhere up there for a heli landing from where you could have a easier walk to the summit - without all those skills. The peak of Eiger North wall has just that - including a train going up the inside of the mountain.
    – uncovery
    Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 3:19
  • I would add that without a definition of "too far" the question is not actually answerable. Maybe hiking 100ft to a helipad to ride there would be "too far". Thus, the question is IMO not answerable. Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 4:55
  • Is Everest really hard because of the technical skills required, or because just hiking is incredibly hard in that high an elevation? Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 20:57
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    @smackfu: my understanding, as someone who has not been there but has followed the literature since childhood (and I was born in the year of the Hunt Expedition), is that if only the summit pyramid of Everest were at 1000 metres, climbing it would be easier than a lot of the winter climbing in the Scottish Highlands. But it isn't.
    – David Pugh
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 17:06

It is possible to land with an helicopter on top of the mountain, even though this is very uncommon and also a little bit dangerous. Additionally, there are no commercial flights. So you would have to find a suitable helicopter, and adventurous pilot, and obviously also the permissions.


The only other way I could think of is to let you lift all the way up to Mount Everest. I recall that a paraplegic climber reached the summit that way, but I can't find any evidence right now. But again, this is very unusual and you would have to find someone doing that.


THere are two base camps - North and South.
South is what is usually meant by the term.
North is accessed from China / Tibet and you can, all going well / luck holding / YMMV / ... , drive there. Without using a helicopter (as you specified) that's probably as close as you'd get without "hiking".

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