Everest climb ‘too dangerous’
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.