Outfitter Offering Hot Air Balloon Ride over Everest

Daylong experience will cost $5.2 million

Dec 2, 2014
Outside Magazine
chris dewhirst mount everest nepal tibet hot air balloon ifonly

Balloon pilot Chris Dewhirst was the first to fly a hot air balloon over Everest in 1991.    Courtesy of IfOnly

IfOnly, a luxury outfitter specializing in “unique and memorable experiences,” is now offering a hot air balloon ride that passes over the top of the world’s tallest mountain. The price tag for the two spots in the balloon is $5,215,000.

“Join the ranks of pioneers from history like Shackleton, Livingstone, and Hillary,” reads the description on IfOnly’s website, “as you venture to rarely explored heights for an expedition that will capture imaginations and headlines around the world.”

The balloon will be piloted by Australian Chris Dewhirst, who flew the first hot air balloon over Everest in 1991 for a project that was the subject of a National Geographic film.

mount everest ifonly chris dewhirst hot air balloon
  Photo: Courtesy of IfOnly

The two customers who land the one-time-only trip will be asked to sign an extensive liability waiver, commit several weeks for their travel and stay in Nepal, and be prepared to reschedule, at further cost, if the weather makes the attempt to cross over Everest impossible. Dewhirst will also be given free rein to judge the “physical and mental faculties” of prospective customers, who will work as active crew members for the duration of the flight. All customers will be asked to spend up to a month in physical and skills training in advance of their trip.

This extravagance is typical of IfOnly’s offerings, many of which involve experiences with highly accomplished athletes. Shoppers can also play golf with Jerry Rice ($71,500 for three people), take tennis lessons with Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf ($116,000 for four people), or spend a weekend in Aspen with Greg Norman ($200,000 for eight people).