Scaling The Heights – How Long Does It Take to Climb Mount Everest?


Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak, has captured the imagination of adventurers and explorers for decades. Climbing this towering giant is a feat that demands physical endurance, mental fortitude, and meticulous planning. Among the myriad challenges that Everest presents, one of the most critical factors climbers face is time. How long does it take to climb Mount Everest? This question is not just about the time spent on the mountain but encompasses the preparation, acclimatization, and the actual ascent. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of climbing Mount Everest, exploring the time required for this arduous journey.

Preparation Phase

Before setting foot on Everest, climbers undergo an extensive preparation phase that can last several months, if not years. This phase involves physical training, mental conditioning, and logistical arrangements. Climbers must be in peak physical condition to endure the extreme conditions and stress on the mountain. Cardiovascular fitness, strength training, and high-altitude simulations are all part of this preparation.

Additionally, climbers need to gather permits, assemble a team, secure transportation to the base camp, and ensure the availability of essential gear and supplies. This phase can take anywhere from six months to a few years, depending on the individual’s prior experience and resources.

Base Camp and Acclimatization

Upon reaching the Everest Base Camp, located at approximately 17,600 feet (5,364 meters) above sea level, climbers enter the acclimatization phase. This is a crucial step to adapt their bodies to the lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Spending time at Base Camp and gradually ascending to higher camps helps reduce the risk of altitude-related illnesses.

Climbers typically spend 2-4 weeks at Base Camp, gradually climbing up to intermediate camps like Camp 1 (19,500 feet) and Camp 2 (21,300 feet) to acclimatize further. This period allows their bodies to produce more red blood cells and adjust to the reduced oxygen levels. It also serves as an opportunity to assess weather conditions and gain valuable experience in Everest’s challenging environment.

Summit Push

The actual ascent to the summit of Everest is a critical phase in the climb and involves traversing the treacherous Khumbu Icefall, scaling the steep Lhotse Face, navigating the perilous Hillary Step, and enduring the unforgiving weather at the summit. Climbers typically undertake the summit push in May, during a brief window of favorable weather known as the “spring climbing season.”

The summit push usually takes about 10-12 days from Base Camp to the summit and back. Climbers progress from one high-altitude camp to another, acclimatizing as they go. Camp 3 (24,000 feet) and Camp 4 (26,247 feet) are the last stops before the final ascent.

The Summit Bid

The summit bid is the most critical part of the climb. Climbers typically start their ascent from Camp 4 in the dead of night, braving freezing temperatures and gusty winds. The climb from Camp 4 to the summit usually takes around 8-12 hours, depending on individual fitness and weather conditions.

Reaching the summit is a moment of triumph and exhilaration, but climbers must not linger for long due to the extreme altitude and limited oxygen supply. On average, climbers spend only 20-30 minutes at the summit to take photographs and savor their accomplishment before beginning the descent.

Descent and Recovery

The descent from the summit back to Base Camp is a critical phase of the expedition. Exhausted and depleted, climbers must navigate the same challenging terrain they ascended, including the Icefall and Lhotse Face. Descent typically takes 2-4 days.

Once back at Base Camp, climbers are often physically and mentally drained. Recovery can take several days or even weeks. This phase involves rest, rehydration, and medical evaluations to ensure that climbers are fit for the journey home.


Why does it take 2 months to climb Everest?

The main reason climbing Everest takes so long for most people is acclimatization, the process of adapting to high altitude, low oxygen environments.

What is the Everest death zone?

In mountaineering, the death zone refers to altitudes above a certain point where the pressure of oxygen is insufficient to sustain human life for an extended time span. This point is generally tagged as 8,000 m (26,000 ft, less than 356 millibars of atmospheric pressure).


Climbing Mount Everest is not just a physical challenge; it’s a test of endurance, resilience, and determination. The question, “How long does it take to climb Mount Everest?” cannot be answered simply with a number of days or weeks. It encompasses the months of preparation, the weeks of acclimatization, and the intense days on the mountain during the summit push. Each individual’s journey is unique, and the time it takes depends on a myriad of factors, including their experience, physical condition, and the weather.

Climbing Everest is not just about reaching the summit; it’s about surviving the unforgiving conditions and making it back safely. The time spent on the mountain is just a fraction of the entire Everest experience. It’s a reminder that while the summit is the ultimate goal, the journey itself is equally, if not more, important.

In the end, the time it takes to climb Mount Everest is irrelevant when compared to the transformation it brings to those who dare to take on the challenge. It’s a testament to the human spirit’s ability to conquer the world’s tallest peak, one step at a time.

Read Also : Scaling The Heights A Journey to the Mountain Tops of the Giants