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
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