Ever­est climb ‘too dan­ger­ous’

The West Australian - - WORLD -

As climbers be­gin to reach the sum­mit of Mt Ever­est, some veter­ans are avoid­ing the Nepali side of the world’s high­est peak be­cause melt­ing ice and crowds have made its famed Khumbu Ice­fall too dan­ger­ous.

Sev­eral vet­eran climbers and Western climb­ing com­pa­nies have moved their ex­pe­di­tions to the north­ern side of the mountain in Ti­bet in re­cent years, say­ing rising tem­per­a­tures and in­ex­pe­ri­enced climbers have made the ice­fall more vul­ner­a­ble.

Re­search by the In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for In­te­grated Mountain De­vel­op­ment has shown the Khumbu glacier is re­treat­ing at an av­er­age of 20m a year, rais­ing the risk of an avalanche.

Nepali Sher­pas make the first trek through the ice­fall each year, in­stalling ropes and lad­ders and car­ry­ing gear be­fore the first climbers be­gin ac­cli­ma­tis­ing runs in April and May.

A sharp in­crease in the num­ber of “hobby climbers” as­pir­ing to climb Ever­est and lo­cal com­pa­nies of­fer­ing cheaper deals than Western firms are adding to over­crowd­ing.

“The risks are higher when 99 per cent of climbers are go­ing up as tourists,” Ital­ian climber Rein­hold Mess­ner said. “Mt Ever­est has be­come a trekking route, not a place for Alpin­ism.”

Since 2013, the Nepali gov­ern­ment has been is­su­ing about 300 foreign per­mits ev­ery year.

With guides and porters, the slopes of Ever­est are crowded with about 800 peo­ple ev­ery year.

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