Nepal bans solo climbers from Ever­est

New reg­u­la­tion also bars dou­ble am­putee and blind climbers, al­though the chal­lenge at­tracts many who want to over­come dis­abil­i­ties

The National - News - - NEWS -

Nepal has banned solo climbers from its moun­tains, in­clud­ing Mount Ever­est, in a bid to re­duce ac­ci­dents.

Late on Thurs­day the cab­i­net en­dorsed a re­vi­sion of the Hi­malayan na­tion’s moun­taineer­ing reg­u­la­tions, pro­hibit­ing solo climbers as one of sev­eral mea­sures be­fore next year’s spring climb­ing sea­son.

“The changes have barred solo ex­pe­di­tions, which were al­lowed be­fore,” said Ma­hesh­wor Ne­u­pane, sec­re­tary at the min­istry of cul­ture, tourism and civil avi­a­tion.

Mr Ne­u­pane said that the law was re­vised to make moun­taineer­ing safer and re­duce the num­ber of deaths.

Ex­pe­ri­enced Swiss climber Ueli Steck lost his life in April this year when he fell from a steep ridge dur­ing a solo ac­cli­ma­ti­sa­tion climb to Nuptse, a peak neigh­bour­ing Ever­est.

The ban is likely to anger elite solo moun­taineers who en­joy the chal­lenge of climb­ing alone, even de­cid­ing against us­ing bot­tled oxy­gen, and who blame a huge in­flux of com­mer­cial ex­pe­di­tions for cre­at­ing deadly bot­tle­necks on the world’s tallest peak.

The cab­i­net also en­dorsed a ban on dou­ble am­putee and blind climbers, al­though Ever­est has drawn many moun­taineers who want to over­come their dis­abil­i­ties and achieve the for­mi­da­ble feat.

New Zealan­der Mark Inglis, who lost both his legs to frost­bite, be­came the first dou­ble am­putee to reach the top of the 8,848-me­tre peak in 2006.

Blind Amer­i­can Erik Wei­hen­mayer got to the top of Ever­est in May 2001 and later be­came the only vis­ually im­paired per­son to climb the high­est peaks on all seven con­ti­nents.

As­pir­ing Ever­est climber Hari Budha Ma­gar, a former Gurkha sol­dier who lost both his legs af­ter he was posted to Afghanistan, said the ban was dis­crim­i­na­tory.

“If the cab­i­net passes, this is dis­crim­i­na­tion against dis­abled peo­ple, break­ing hu­man rights,” Mr Ma­gar said af­ter the de­ci­sion was pro­posed this month.

Thou­sands of moun­taineers flock to Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 peaks above 8,000 me­tres tall, each spring and au­tumn when clear weather pro­vides good con­di­tions.

Al­most 450 climbers – 190 for­eign­ers and 259 Nepalis – reached the sum­mit of Ever­est from the south side in Nepal last year.

Ma­hesh­wor Ne­u­pane, sec­re­tary at the min­istry of tourism, said the law was re­vised to re­duce the num­ber of deaths on Mount Ever­est

The UAE Ever­est team ap­proaches base camp. But solo climbers are now barred from the moun­tain UAE Armed Forces

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