New regulations. Beginning January 1, 2011, new Chinese regulations make it financially much harder for small parties to attempt virgin peaks in Sichuan. Climbers will face up to five or six times the cost compared with 2010, with the rise in royalties more acute for lower-altitude peaks. Even for previously climbed peaks, individuals pay more than double 2010 prices.
For peaks above 7,000m the fee in 2011 is 2,800 Yuan per person. In reality, as there is only one peak of this height in the Province, this figure applies to parties attempting new lines or repeating established routes on Minya Konka (7,556m), which has seen several ascents since 1932.
Attempting an unclimbed peak between 6,000m and 7,000m costs 25,000-45,000 Yuan per expedition. If the mountain has been climbed, this drops to 1,800 Yuan per person (or a total of 15,000 for an expedition of 10 or more). At the time of writing, the criteria that define the sliding scale for expeditions remain unclear.
For peaks between 5,500 and 6,000m, the equivalent royalties are 20,000-35,000 for an expedition attempting an unclimbed peak and 1,000 per person for a climbed peak (9,000 for a team of 10 or more). Compare this with 2010 prices, when an expedition to an unclimbed peak was charged 9,000 Yuan.
For peaks from 3,500m to 5,500m, the cost is 15,000-30,000 per team for an unclimbed peak, 500 per person for a previously climbed summit (no expedition price quoted).
Those wanting simply to rock or ice climb pay 500 Yuan each, while everyone is required to contribute a 200-Yuan environment protection fee. When climbing within a national park, local entrance and environmental fees are additional.
Staff fees increase less drastically. A Liaison Officer (officially mandatory when climbing on a mountain above 3,500m) costs 680 Yuan a day. This price includes wages, equipment, and insurance. Assistant L.O.s and interpreters cost 580, cooks 480, and other staff 300 Yuan. If a high- altitude porter is employed, the cost is 880 per day. On top of this each member of the Chinese staff needs a food allowance of 120 per day. It also seems likely that climbers will have to pay a service charge of five percent on the overall expenses incurred during their expedition.
Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, with assistance from Tamotsu Nakamura and Jiyue Zhang