From Everest to Space Travel: The Cost and Sacrifices of Realizing These Extraordinary Dreams

Cork explorer and adventurer Pat Falvey has climbed Mount Everest four times and reached the summit twice. He is well aware of the risks associated with climbing Everest. “One of the days I summitted Everest, there were three at the top,” Falvey said.

The other day – in 2004 – there were 15 at the top. It was dangerous. Of those 15, four died to achieve their iconic dream.

The lure of Mount Everest has inspired many people to attempt to climb to its summit, despite the risks. For many people, Everest is the ultimate dream. So how much could the dream of Everest – along with other great aspirations – cost you, both financially and otherwise?

1 Rise to the top of the world

Climbing the summit of Mount Everest can cost upwards of €100,000, depending on your experience. The less experience you have, the more guided support you will need – and the more expensive the trip will be. You can hire a Nepali guide (known as a Sherpa) or a western guide to take you to the top. Western guides are generally more expensive. Other things that influence the price include which side of the mountain you are climbing and whether you are using a Western or Nepalese company.

“The average price of climbing Everest for an inexperienced person is between $65,000 and $100,000 (€59,000-91,000),” Falvey said. “The cost could be as low as $35,000 for an experienced person.”

As more than 300 people have died trying to summit Everest in the last century, the ascent could cost you your life or cause serious injury. “Lately a lot of inexperienced people have died,” Falvey said. “The problem is that a lot of people are climbing Everest today without the experience they need.”

The right training is crucial if you plan to climb Everest. The summit of Everest is in the “death zone” – a term used to describe altitudes above a certain point (usually around 8,000 meters) where there is not enough oxygen to sustain human life.

“For anyone who enters the ‘death zone’, it is up to themselves and their families to ensure that they are trained in the techniques and psychology of climbing a mountain like Everest,” Falvey said. “You would need training to have the right equipment and fixed rope techniques.”

Climbing a high-altitude mountain — like Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania or Aconcagua in Argentina — as part of your preparation for Mount Everest would also be a good idea, according to Falvey.

Also make sure you have the support of your family. “Don’t ignore your family’s concerns,” Falvey said.

Spring (usually April and May) and early fall are the seasons when most people climb Mount Everest.

Falvey is one of many people who train and mentor people to climb Mount Everest. “A mentor or coach will explain the costs [of climbing Everest]your ability to do so, the training required, etc. “, did he declare.

Cost is clearly a huge hurdle for many who dream of climbing Everest. Sponsorship can be difficult to obtain. “Sponsors find it very difficult to sponsor a dangerous sport that could be fatal or where the individual could get injured,” Falvey said. “The best way to get money is to first try to get financial resources on your own, then try to get sponsors.”

Failing that, you might consider the cheaper trip to Everest Base Camp.

“Getting to the top of Everest isn’t the end of the world,” Falvey said.

“You can always see Everest Base Camp as a goal – the Himalayas are beautiful. You could get to Base Camp for €4,500. Everest, but not as expensive.

Falvey’s travel agency Pat Falvey Adventure Travel (patfalvey.com) offers trips to Everest Base Camp from €3,950 including the cost of return flights (Ireland to Nepal ), airport transfers and accommodation. Trailfinders is offering a 14-night tour to Everest Base Camp through G Adventures in October, which costs €2,649 per person (based on two people sharing) and includes international flights and accommodation. You should budget between $360 and $470 for meals on top of that price, Trailfinders advised.

2 Space travel

The advent of commercial spaceflight has opened up the possibility of space travel for ordinary people – as long as you have hundreds of thousands of dollars behind you.

The cost of flying with Virgin Galactic, one of the companies that will offer commercial spaceflight later this year, starts from $450,000 (€404,100). Other spaceflight companies are Blue Origin and Space X. Space X launched the first all-civilian crew into space last September.

No Irish have been to space yet – although a number of talented people are vying to be the first Irish there.

“There’s a better chance that the first Irishman in space will do so via the trade route [than the classic national or State route]said Aidan Cowley, an Irishman who works as a science adviser to the European Space Agency (ESA).

Historically, it has been difficult for Irish people to become astronauts. Astronauts have traditionally been selected by nations funding space exploration – and those nations are more likely to select their own citizens.

“Historically, Ireland was unable to offer an astronaut to go into space because financially it’s a very expensive process,” Cowley said.

“In the future, astronauts may not travel to space via the conventional national or national route – they may go via commercial spaceflight.”

Based at the European Astronaut Center (EAC) in Cologne, where he is Spacecraft Coordinator, Cowley has a unique insight into the skills astronauts need. He is working with researchers across Europe and the world on how to prepare for future manned space exploration missions.

“To become an astronaut, you need to be at the peak of your physical health and academically at the top of your game,” Cowley said.

“You have to be resourceful and able to think quickly and think well in a crisis situation. You must be able to work well in a team. »

You don’t need to have huge financial resources behind you to become a professional astronaut, although it can help. “The space agencies are paying for your [space] flights and training,” Cowley said. “A greater barrier [than finances] are the entry level requirements [to becoming an astronaut with a space agency] – you would need a minimum Masters level qualification and several years of experience such as experience living and working in a remote location or experience as a pilot.

You could earn up to around €100,000 a year as a European astronaut. ESA astronauts earn between €4,654.95 per month or €55,860 per year (after internal taxes, social security and retirement) and €8,381.57 per month or €100,579 per year, largely in depending on their rank and place of residence.

“Astronauts might be able to make more money in the private sector, but they’re here for the love of space exploration and to push the boundaries of science,” Cowley said.

Do not underestimate the risks of space travel.

“There are health risks to being in space for long durations – including loss of muscle mass,” Cowley said. “Space is a very inhospitable place – something can go catastrophically wrong very quickly. There may be a dead end situation that you cannot be rescued from.

3 The Great Wall of China

According to Tom Hall, vice president of the travel guide publisher, it could take between six months and a year to cover the entire Great Wall of China. planet alone.

However, it’s not really possible to walk the whole wall, Hall added.

“Many sections of the Great Wall are unmaintained, there are some where walking is prohibited, and there is no continuous marked route that is freely accessible,” Hall said.

“While most of us will remember the sturdy brick walls and towers of some of the heavily restored sections closest to Beijing, much of the surviving wall is in worse condition, having been used over the centuries to building materials and showing signs of the ravages of time.In other places the wall was never much more than earthworks.

If you’re setting out to walk a large chunk of the wall in a few months, a budget of around $30 a day should be enough to cover your field costs, Hall said. You should bring a combination of cash (Chinese Renminbi) and cards for such a trip.

For those more interested in a short trip, Trailfinders is offering an eight-night Great Wall tour (which includes six days on different sections) in April 2023 for €1,679 (via Exodus Travels), although that price isn’t available. not include international flights. The cost of flights to China in 2023 is currently difficult to estimate as the country is largely closed to international tourism for the foreseeable future, according to Jonathan Bridge of Trailfinders.

Be in good physical shape if you plan to walk a long section of the wall. “Even on the restored sections of the wall, walkers will encounter steps and steep inclines, so be in good physical condition for the equivalent of a mountain trek,” Hall said.

Also be prepared for extreme heat and cold, depending on the time of year you hike.

Know what your accommodation options are, especially if you are walking along sections farther from the wall. “Wild camping is not permitted on the restored sections of the wall, so you would be looking to arrange accommodation near the wall – which would be much easier in some places than others,” Hall said. “On wilder unmanaged sections, wild camping may be possible – but seek local advice if considering this.”

Know the dangers ahead. “Things can get tricky when you’re walking on wilder sections because there are steep drop-offs,” Hall said. “In addition, some sections of the wall are not accessible because they cross a military zone.”

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