If you are looking for a hobby that challenges your physical, mental and emotional resilience, mountaineering is a perfect option for you.
The pursuit involves a memorable experience of scaling up the height of towering mountains to get to the summit.
However, mountaineering also comes with a price.
So, How Expensive Is Mountaineering as A Hobby?
Various factors determine how expensive mountaineering as a hobby is, with geography being the most significant factor. Unless you are staying near hills or mountains, mountaineering will end up being more costly at the start-up level than other hobbies such as biking and fishing, even though it’s not very expensive. However, the costs are relatively equal or lesser at an advanced level.
Generally, you can expect to spend around $5000 on mountaineering courses, specialized gear, and several entry levels trips. If you opt for high-end equipment and luxury expeditions during your trip, the cumulative costs can as well go over $50,000. If you need flight tickets, then it can get even more expensive. So, it’s not cheap, but you won’t have to spend the cash on a single sitting.
How To Get into Mountaineering on Budget
While mountaineering is an expensive and complex hobby, you don’t always require the budget of a professional mountain climber to reach the heights.
Here are several tips for making mountaineering affordable but safe.
1. Join A Mountaineering Club
To start with, you should start by joining your national mountain club.
Many countries have these clubs that provide advice, mountaineering courses, gear hire, and discounts.
They also have forums where you can seek advice and even team up to split the cost of a new mountain climbing adventure.
2. Learn Mountaineering Skills Yourself
You can save thousands of dollars by taking mountaineering courses to get certified.
You only need to ensure you select a challenge you can cope with and know when to back off.
Taking on something beyond your abilities is just as bad as mountaineering without any experience.
As a beginner, you can also consider purchasing books such as ‘Mountain Guide Manual’ or ‘Freedom of the Hills.’
If you want information on a specific route, you can find advice on local online resources.
3, Go Where Guides Are Cheaper.
Mountaineering guides can be expensive.
Therefore, if you require a guide, consider heading to a place where they are cheaper.
Locations such as South America and Asia have low-cost guides.
However, you can also be scammed, so ensure you check their credentials.
But if there is an available certified IFMGA guide, it will be worth the cost.
4. Search Free Maps Online
If you don’t need to, you don’t have to spend on OS maps.
Sites such as Wandermap offer good downloadable route maps for famous mountains.
But in case they are sufficiently detailed, you can find a suitable route map.
Also, printing pictures of the weather is favorable. Visual guidance can be priceless.
5. Hang Out With Fellow Climbers
Once you find where you want to go for mountaineering, consider finding the local climbing hangout and get to know those close to you.
You can find a partner with experience in the local area who can act as a perfect alternative to hiring a guide.
Four Ways To Choosing The Right Location
1. Keep Close To Home
One of the essential things to establish is the distance of the location of the hike.
Is there a mountaineering spot in your local area?
Will you need a flight, or can you walk to the site?
If you live in or near the great outdoors, consider finding a local map and consulting local guides to find close places for mountaineering that you have never discovered.
2. Choose A Pad Carefully
If you plan to get into mountaineering in the long run and are on a rental home, it is cheaper to end the rental and move closer to the mountain than spend continuously on travel charges.
If you have your own home, you can consider house swapping with a person closer to the mountain town.
You should consider couch swapping surfing, camping in free spaces with a robust tent, or purchasing a second-hand car to sleep on the seat for shorter mountaineering trips.
3. Save In-Country To Cover Flight Costs
If the mountaineering location is far such that it requires you to take a flight, the cost can be significantly expensive.
Taking a one-off flight to a distant place may put you off for its expensive charge.
However, you should consider the in-country costs once you are there.
If you are looking to go mountaineering for a while, even about $10 to $20 daily savings can quickly cover the cost of the flight.
4. Avoid The Famous Names And Choose Cheaper Destinations
Mountaineering on the famous mountains such as Aconcagua and Mount Kilimanjaro are more expensive not just for guiding costs but also for food, accommodation, and other expenses.
Instead, you should opt for the cheaper destinations that are significantly low-priced and even easy to get to.
You can find low peak fees and cheap mountains but in a spectacular location.
How Lower Traveling Costs
1.Using Cheaper Transport Means
Traveling to the mountain can be pretty expensive.
However, you can save on the travel cost by using the cheaper travel method.
If you have the energy and time, you can save significantly by hiking or biking to the mountains.
If you must drive, consider sharing a car with your friends to save on the fuel cost.
In the case of traveling by train, ensure you book the tickets early and opt for the time-specific, cheaper tickets.
2. Utilize Your Frequent Flier Miles
In case you regularly fly to work, you can accumulate regular flier miles and use them to go for mountaineering pleasure.
It is often more effective in the USA to use the flier miles within your state.
However, if you don’t have the miles, you should avoid flying during school breaks and fly during weekdays when there is low traffic.
Also, register to the flight price tracker website to find the cheapest fares.
Mountaineering Gear, Clothing, and Food
1. Pack Enough Food For The Duration
Purchasing food in bulk is cheaper than buying small quantities on the go.
Therefore, buy food in bulk, sufficient for the time you will be spending in the mountains.
Also, remember to be careful with the type of food you carry to maximize your nutrition, avoid wastage and prevent weight loss.
Noodles are a perfect choice because they are cheap, easy to store, and lightweight.
2. Buy The Right Clothing
Avoid overspending on buying mountain climbing clothes.
Before purchasing a layer, think if you need it.
You should only spend more on outerwear such as jackets and salopettes.
3. Borrow, Share Or Buy Second-Hand Gear
Buying gears can cost a lot of money.
However, if you can’t afford to buy good stuff, consider borrowing good equipment or sharing the cost of buying between several of your friends.
Another cheaper option is buying more affordable second-hand gear but ensuring they are in good condition and not too old.
If the cost of purchasing mountaineering gear is too high for you, you can buy the gear in stages.
As you have seen, mountaineering is a relatively expensive hobby.
However, utilizing these tips can lower the overall cost needed.
Also, always keep in mind the hidden extra charges. If you are going mountaineering overseas, do not forget vaccinations, visas, and insurance.
For insurance, it’s recommendable to use price comparison websites to find the best deal on the specialist cover.
How To Get Started in Mountaineering- BikeHike.org