Climbing Mount Everest – Everything You Need to Know from My Experience. Costs, Difficulty Etc

On May 17th, I was successful in my efforts climbing Mount Everest, reaching the summit around 11.40am. Despite training for years, the whole experience was much tougher than I had ever imagined. And I hope this blog post will give a true account of what climbing Everest is like, from the mental struggles, the costs. And, with that, just how important it is that you choose the right operator to climb Everest with (which I definitely did, with Furtenbach Adventures).

The feeling of accomplishment when I stood upon the top of Everest completely outstripped anything I had ever done before, I felt it much deeper than when I finished my journey to every country in the world, or when I finally reached Antigua after rowing the Atlantic, for example. It’s truly difficult to explain.

Now, a couple of months after summiting, the whole thing feels like a story I made up. It’s weird. I almost don’t even want to tell people about it. I’m not sure why. Perhaps the public opinion about it being a “rich person’s plaything”, or perhaps it always sounds like a boastful statement to say “I climbed Mount Everest”. Regardless of that, and public opinion though, I find myself working in my office, or going for a run, and I feel a wave of pride for the experience. And also a wave of relief, knowing that with my personality (and I’m sure many of you too), the call to climb the WORLD’S HIGHEST MOUNTAIN is always there, so now I know it’s done.

So how was climbing Everest? Why climb Everest? How does it all work? I hope this sheds some light on it. What a wild ride it was too.

Climbing Mount Everest
Climbing Mount Everest. The Summit! 17/5/23

Why Climb Mount Everest?

I guess every person who considers climbing Mount Everest will have their own reason. I can only speak for myself.

People ask me often if it was something from my childhood that inspired me to climb Everest and climb the 7 summits, and it wasn’t. Growing up on welfare, with just my mum and my sister, climbing Everest was too big a thing to dream of. Anyone who grew up working class can probably understand. Just going on an airplane is a dream and a goal when you’re struggling.

Stuff like climbing the world’s highest mountains is only for old, rich, white English or American guy. With the right accent, the right surname, the right education. Posh people, with a big house in London. It’s all we ever saw on TV growing up. And that just feels like a million miles away from the kind of life you can imagine.

It wasn’t until I broke through my self-belief limitations, in my 20s, when I started realising ANYONE CAN DO ANYTHING. Including me. I had set a goal of 100 countries by 30. Every country by 35. Every country and 7 summits by 40. Now I realise that giving kids true belief that their hard work and discipline will allow them to do anything is so important. I’ll work daily to instill that into my future kids. For me, it was a personal journey. And it delayed that self-belief. But better late than never.

So why for me? For a start, now I believed I could. I knew I could. I just had to commit. Also, I found out that no-one in history had ever completed the ULTIMATE EXPLORERS GRAND SLAM. That’s every country PLUS north and south pole, PLUS the 7 summits. So why not be me? And with that, I began climbing smaller mountains about 5 years ago, with a view to get to climb Mount Everest too. And the ball was in motion.

Everest 2023
Climbing Everest

Signing up to Climb Everest

As I slowly moved my way higher through the 7 summits, from Mount Elbrus, to Aconcagua, to Denali. It was all heading in one direction, climbing Mount Everest. Every mountain I tackled, all I could think about was finally signing up to climb the big one. It carried such a sense of trepidation too, of dread even. Not only was it going to be super difficult of course, but also it carried the risk of death. And then of course was the cost too.

I rowed across the Atlantic in 2021, and it was literally 2 weeks after finishing that that I finally committed and signed up. It was a scary thing to truly commit to. But, like all things in life, if not now, then when?

Of all the people who ever achieved anything, I thought to myself, they too had to at one point make the choice. No turning back. Commit physically, emotionally and financially. So I did that. With a view to climb Denali in 2022, and then finally, in 2023 tackle Everest. It was set in stone.

Climbing Mount Everest
Mount Everest Expedition 2023

Choosing Furtenbach Adventures

I wrote a whole blog post with my Furtenbach Adventures Review so you can check that out. It basically says how delighted I am I chose Furtenbach and why.

I was going to initially go with a UK operator, but I had heard a few grumbles about group sizes being too big. So I moved on. Also I used Jagged Globe for Denali and they were awful, so I skipped them too! Then, feeling the pressure of the price of Everest, I was going to use a local, Nepali operator. And again, that was ruled out pretty quickly. High death rates, complaints about lack of oxygen canisters at high altitudes, and a general lack of health and safety, mean that despite it being $15k cheaper, it didn’t seem worth risking failure, nor my life, to save that money.

I kept coming back to Furtenbach Adventures. A boutique Austrian company, who got a little mountain fame from having the highest success rate on Everest. That sung to me! Then, it transpired that they also had the best base camp at Everest too, so we could be comfortable amidst all the suffering. I called them, spoke with Lukas the owner, and it was a deal done. Fast forward to now, writing this blog post from the comfort of Thailand with my climbing certificate framed on the shelf, of all my travel experiences, choosing to climb with Furtenbach Adventures was one of the best decisions of my life.

furtenbach adventures base camp
With Lukas, the day after we summited Everest

Training to Climb Mount Everest

So I signed up in 2021, with an April 2023 start date. I had Denali in 2022 so I had to be fit for that anyway.

Alos, I try to stay fit through the year, but Everest is different. I wanted to be in the best shape of my life. Having a date 22 months in the future meant I could focus on exactly the type of training I needed, and work towards that.

No last-minute rushes like I normally have to do (like my Malaysia to Myanmar cycle, my 200km ultra Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, the Marathon Des Sables, or the North Pole Marathon). So I got to it.

I lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand where I recently just built a house. In the north of Thailand, there are endless mountains and hills. And many just 10 minutes from my house. Including Chiang Mai’s iconic Doi Suthep, the mountain which the Buddhist temple sits a top of. My training mostly consisted of alternate work-outs of:

  • A 50km cycle from my house to the temple and back. Up hill.
  • Drive to the bottom of the mountain and run the half-marathon+, 23km up and down, the temple. Twice weekly.
  • If my friends joined, I would hike The ‘Monk’s Trail’ up to the mountain instead. Normally multiple times, where they’d join me on my final ascent. I was feeling so fit that it was tough for normal people to join my actual hikes/runs, so they’d join for round 2 or 3.
  • Weight training in my home gym.

I would generally rotate these, doing each 2 times a week. I also travel a lot both for fun and for ‘work’ where I run trips to cool places. That’s tough to keep in shape. I’d try to run 10km each day when I was traveling, but if I managed to do that even twice a week, I’d accept it.

I trained like this for over a year. So by the time we got into Q1, 2023 I was already as fit as I’d ever been. A ramped it up in Feb and March, so by the time Everest was a month away, I truly felt physically ready.

Everest training
My Everest training, at the temple on Doi Suthep
chiang mai house
My home gym in Chiang Mai

Hypoxic Training

The final piece of the jigsaw for training was hypoxic training. Obviously when you climb Everest physical fitness is paramount. But something you can’t train for, normally, is the lack of oxygen.

However, times are changing, and now technology does allow us to train for the lack of oxygen. Now, you can sleep each night in a tent that restricts your oxygen, mimicking the idea of being at a higher altitude, and getting your body ready for that. Multiplying your red blood cells, the same way that the body does naturally when you’re up Everest.

As part of Furtenbach Adventures package, they include this ‘Hypoxic Training’. They send you a machine, a tent, and give you daily goals each day. How many hours, at X amount of oxygen. They aim to have you within the tent for over 200 hours in the month leading up to Everest. Meaning you’re already amongst the most acclimitsed people on the mountain. So we did that.

My tent had an issue sadly, which meant I lost the first 2 weeks of the 4 week schedule. Meaning I had to ramp it up intensely for the 2 weeks before Everest to ‘catch up’. That meant a lot of restless (sleepless?) nights with not much oxygen! Also, my poor wife had to sleep beside me, with this machine ‘breathing’ loudly each night, and me tossing and turning. Each morning I’d check my 02 levels in my blood oxygen, and slowly it was working.

Fast forward to trekking to Base Camp, amongst the people who hadn’t done the Hypoxic Training, and we were miles ahead. I would highly recommend this to everyone climbing Mount Everest, or any mountain really. Or, for that fact, any training at all.

hypoxic training
You can exercise with the machine using the face mask
hypoxic training
And you sleep each night in the tent (without the face mask)

Climbing Mount Everest; MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Arriving in Nepal

Flying to Start the Everest Base Camp Trek

Summiting Lobuche

Arriving At Everest Base Camp

Making ourselves at home

Khumbu Icefall and the First Rotation

People Dying

Waiting for a weather Window

The Summit Push

Summit Day and THE SUMMIT

Back down to Base Camp

And home

FAQs about Climbing Mount Everest

The differences between Climbing Everest from the North Side or South Side (Nepal or Tibet/China)?

i chose to climb from the Tiber side, but China didn’t reopen in time (COVID!) so I climbed from Nepal side in the end.

Traditionally, most people climb from the Nepal Side. It’s where Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary first summited Everest, and where the famous ‘Everest Base Camp’ trek brings you to the bottom of the mountain. I always assumed I’d climb from this side, to be honest. To be honest, I knew nothing about any other options!

I spoke to Lukas and he strongly recommended I go from the Tibet side. Why?

  • The north side (Tibet) is objectively the safer ascent route, with a lower death rate (a bonus of course).
  • The last camp is higher (8300m) resulting in a shorter summit stage. The toughest bit, therefore, is slightly easier.
  • A more comfortable and luxurious basecamp due to road access. This is MASSIVE, as it’s where we’ll spend most of our time during the expedition. To be comfortable, online, chill etc there will mean morale and physical health will be at peak condition ready to summit.
  • NO KHUMBU ICEFALL! If you know anything about summiting Everest, one of the worst parts is the constant back and forth through the deadly Khumbu Icefall. Right after basecamp, you have to go through an ice area full of avalanches and crevasses. Most expeditions require you to go back and forth up to 6 times. Crazy. Going from the North side means you avoid this altogether.
  • From Tibet, it’s slightly more technical with more cliffs, and so the descent can be a touch trickier too.
Everest Base Camp Tibet Side
Everest Base Camp Tibet Side

How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest

Isn’t it cheaper to go with a local Nepali climbing operator?

Yes it is. It can be as ‘cheap’ as $35k with a local operator. However, and no-one says this online due to fear of backlash, so I will. Nepali operators are notorious for cost cutting. Some try to make their clients fail early by pushing them hard, as they didn’t pay for enough oxygen. Deaths rates are double, triple, more, than the European operators.

Long story short? If you ask me, it’s better to wait a year, save a chunk more money, and go with the safest, best operator.

When is the best time to climb Mount Everest

Can you climb Mount Everest without joining an expedition

How hard is climbing Mount Everest?

Where you scared of dying while climbing Everest?

How long does it take to climb Mount Everest?

How long is Summit Day?

Did you use supplemental oxygen during your climb?

Can you choose to climb without using oxygen?

What are the sleeping arrangements on Mount Everest?

Do you have to sleep with Oxygen?

How about toilets and showers on Everest?

What route did you take to reach the summit?

Can ‘anyone’ do it these days, with Sherpa and Oxygen?

I heard it’s easy these days and anyone can pay and climb it” Nonsense. Absolute nonsense. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve rowed oceans, cycled 2000km across countries, ran 250km through the Sahara, and this was much, much harder than any of that.

We all saw the photo a couple of years ago of people ‘queuing to get to the summit of Everest. That was a perfect storm. The weather window (the time when you can try to summit) had closed so narrow that pretty much the entire mountain had to summit on the same day, causing a line of people. Rest assured, anyone who has made it to 8,000m+ is a beast.

One who has sacrificed so much to be there. Training, finances, risk of death. Watching people sit at home and criticizing is nothing short of hating. People who didn’t have the courage to chase their dreams, so now carry schadenfreude for those that do. Don’t be them.

What Is the Success Rate of Climbing Everest?!

About 35/40% (bear in mind most people who have made it as far as signing up to do it are beasts though).

Everest 2023
Everest 2023

Which Company Are You Climbing With?

The million-dollar question. Or rather the £50,000 question. I’ve used a few different companies to help me climb mountains over the last few years. I particularly love Elbrus Tours who helped me climb both Mount Elbrus in Russia (Europe’s highest mountain) and Aconcagua in Argentina. I used a great company for my Mont Blanc climb in France too. And I’ve got a 3rd company I’m booked with Denali next year too. All great. But Everest? Everest is different.

For a start, it’s super expensive. This means I pretty much can’t afford to fail. I will be building a new family life in Thailand, so to fail Everest and then to drop another big chunk of cash isn’t viable for me. I have to succeed.

So the main driver for me is the likelihood to summit on my first try. Of course, with the weather etc, nothing is guaranteed. But I can control the controllables. That means choosing the company with THE highest success rate in summiting Everest. In fact, the guys I’m choosing have the most highest success rate with summiting everest EVER.

Equally then I’d rather spend an extra $10k or so with a ‘better’ operator that increases my chances of summiting. Than cut corners, find a cheaper operator, and then fail! Only to have to pay again. Suddenly the ‘cheaper’ operator isn’t so cheap when you have to go back the following year to try again (and pay again!).

With all that in mind, I’ve been researching Everest guides and companies for the last few years. And pre-Covid I was chatting to many of them. Working out the best fit for me. I finally, FINALLY, found a relatively small operator. Run by the mountaineer himself actually. Lukas Furtenbach started a small operation called Furtenbach Adventures. The thing to note about Furtenbach Adventures?


Once I saw that, the price was secondary. So yeah, I then spoke to Lukas on the phone and had originally planned for 2022. Then COVID, other trips delayed etc and finally we are here with 2023 booked!

Why Did You Choose Furtenbach Adventures

I was originally going to go with 2 of the biggest companies (I won’t mention their names, but they’re famous!). And spoke to them both. But in the end, I decided not to because I felt their groups were too big, and also that they were cost-cutting to make themselves more available to the mass market. I prefer to pay a little more, and know that my chances to summit are higher. Also, I want a small group and a group that has been analysed one by one to make sure we are all ok to attempt it.

Then, like I said above, I discovered their 100% success rate, and I was done. After reading all the furtenbach adventures reviews, Furtenbach Adventures it is!

And then there is there hypoxic pre-acclimatization. The reason these guys have such a high success rate is that their expeditions are shorter, and you pre-acclimatise so you’re ready for the high altitudes, where other operators aren’t. Once signed up, a few weeks before the expedition, you get a special tent to sleep in at your home. That trains your body to work ‘normally’ with less oxygen. It means that you can spend less time on the mountain, reducing the chances of getting sick or anything going wrong AND you can perform better/fitter/stronger to get you to the summit. AMAZING!

hypoxic pre-acclimatization
Hypoxic pre-acclimatization example

For the record, after reading furtenbach adventures reviews, THIS IS THE EXPEDITION I’VE SIGNED UP FOR:

What’s climbing Mount Everest Like!?

Good question! I haven’t done it yet, but I have read every book, seen every documentary, and watched every movie! And if you’ve been following me recently on you’ll know I’ve spent quite a bit of time on mountains over the last 2 or 3 years. So what is it like?

Well, reaching the highest point on the planet isn’t easy, we can all guess that. Normally it takes about 2 months from start to finish. However, with Furtenbach Adventures, because they use that amazing hypoxic pre-acclimatization at home, they do the whole thing in about 5 or 6 weeks.

Mount Everest sits on the border between Nepal and Tibet, and because of that, you can climb from either side. Both have their pros and cons, but I’ll be climbing from the Tibet side. I’ll explain why below.

On both sides, you set up ‘home’ at basecamp. This is actually pretty comfortable, and we’ll be spending most of our time here. From there, you shuttle up and down the mountain. Getting use to higher and higher altitudes, camping higher, returning to base camp. Recover. And go again. This time higher, camp again at a higher camp. And return to base camp to recover. Until finally, you wait for the weather window and you go for the summit. It gives me goosebumps even writing that. Wow. From high camp 3 and 4, we’ll be using oxygen to help us function at such high altitudes. With the schedule of my expedition, we actually have 2 attempts at the summit factored in, which is a huge thing for me, and again why the success rate is so high with these guys.

Everest 23
Everest ’23 with Furtenbach Adventures

Can Anyone Join The Expedition?

Within reason, yes.

The beauty of the climb being almost 2 years away is that pretty much everyone has time to get the experience and fitness they need to climb Everest. If you’re keen, drop me an email and we can chat about whether you can do it or not. I’ll be climbing a couple of mountains in 2022 that should cover you ‘experience-wise’ too, so you could also join those to get yourself ready.

Everest isn’t a technical climb. But equally, it can’t be your first mountain! You still need to know a bit about mountains, and how your body reacts at altitude, and about which gear and equipment is best. But 2 years is enough time to get all that sorted.

FAQs about Climbing Everest 2023 with me!

How much does it cost to climb Everest?

It ranges from $30,000USD to over $100,000USD. It’s pricey, no doubt about that. But then again, it is the highest mountain on earth!
For the expedition that I’m going on it’s €60,900 (£52,500GBP / $74,400USD).

How long does it take?

Normally 2 months, for my expedition it’s April 13th to May 24. So that’s 42 days.

How hard is it?

It’s not easy, that’s for sure. The death rate for Everest is 1-3% BUT that number is much lower if we look just at the last 10 years with better gear, health & safety etc. But, for me at least, one should be in the best shape of their life when taking on the world’s highest peak. Let’s do it!

Do I need experience?

It categorically cannot be your first mountain (and in fact, they won’t take you if it is!). I’d recommend having climbed AT LEAST 2 or 3 mountains first. A good way to do it would be an easy one, like a Kilimanjaro (I’m going in November if you want to do it!), then either Elbrus or Mont Blanc (both quite cheap) and then Aconcagua or Denali. That should get you ready.

Can I die?

Yes, but highly unlikely with modern conditions.

What Equipment Do I need to Climb Everest?

Quite a lot of clothing, not so much hard-core ‘climbing’ gear. I’ll publish a full packing list in the coming months, but for example, I don’t have that much stuff and yet the only thing I need that I don’t have is the full summit suit (The big puffy onesie). The rest is just normal hard-core outdoor gear for sub-0 temperatures.
The company I’m going with can also help with the gear of course (either to rent or buy).

I’ve seen it cheaper with another company, should I go with them?

For me, I wouldn’t. I guess it comes down to your own level. If you’re a hardcore mountaineer, you can get your permit and gear for $15k or so and go. But for me, I want a expert guide. 1-1 sherpa for summit. Oxygen at high camp AND the highest chance to summit imaginable. For me, that comes through the expedition I’ve chosen. It’s personal preference at the end of the day.

Mount Everest 2023
Mount Everest climb


Firstly, think long and hard. It’s expensive, it’s difficult, it’s cold. You have to train for at least 6 months beforehand, and if you haven’t already, you’ll have to climb a couple of mountains in the next 22 months to get yourself ready.

If you’re serious, then email me! Let’s do it! I have 2 friends already who are pretty set on it (looking at you Bryan and Anthony!), and you guys are welcome to join too.

Anyone who joins me on our Everest 2023 expedition, can book with the same guys here:

Just state under “Remarks” that you wanna join our group on the expedition by writing “OneStep4Ward” or similar.


Deposit Payment is made due upon receipt of the invoice and is of 20% of the total price (12,180Euro). Then we all must pay the rest of the balance 20 days prior to departure (in March 2023). Thankfully, that’s a long way away!


Pretty simple. Even though I’m climbing from the Tibet side, I’ll be starting in Kathamndu. The Nepali is visa on arrival for most nationalities, then the Tibet & China stuff is taken care of by the company

After that?

Starting around January 2023 all team members will receive regular “Team info emails” on the organization progress and on further steps to take for preparation. It is recommended to do a pre-acclimatization in a hypoxic tent for 4 weeks before start of the expedition, which is not absolutely necessary, but recommended, as we witness higher fitness level after doing so.

Depending on where the team members live and if it’s possible to ship or rent a hypoxic system in the country, we will organize that (EU and USA can usually easily be organized; for other countries it’s more difficult). But that will be taken care of in the final phase of preparation in 2023 as well. LET’S DO IT!

Make sure you organise your Mount Everest Insurance too.

furtenbach adventures

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