Why train for months, hire a Sherpa, and trudge up Everest on foot, when you can float up on a balloon and get the same view?
That’s the apparent selling point of an offer from luxury travel outfitter IfOnly. You and a loved one can skip the cold march through steep snowbanks and see the tallest mountain in the world from the relative safety of an airbone wicker basket.
As IfOnly’s site states, “This is your opportunity to write your own chapter in the annals of daring human feats and exploration.” The catch? It’ll cost you just over $5.2 million, or about $2.6 million a person.
The trip will be led by Chris Dewhirst, who flew the first hot air balloon expedition over Everest in 1991. If you’re willing to fork over the cash, you’ll also have to sign a waiver, and schedule a several-weeks stay in Nepal to await ideal conditions for a hot air balloon ride.
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And don’t think you can just sit back and sip champagne while absorbing the scenery–you’ll be an active crew member for the flight. Dewhirst will judge his wealthy co-pilots on their “physical and mental faculties” and will expect them to train for a month in advance of the trip. There’s no guarantee of a successful crossing of Everest, and no refunds either.
So it’ll cost millions of dollars, take up months of your time, and isn’t even guaranteed to happen. It’s fair to say a lot of Everest enthusiasts would rather take their chances reaching the top of the mountain the old-fashioned way.