Nepal mulls cri­te­ria to climb world’s high­est moun­tain af­ter deadly sea­son

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Clim­bers want­ing to take on Mount Qo­molangma, com­monly known in the West as Mount Ever­est, will first have to tackle an­other Nepal moun­tain of at least 6,500 me­ters un­der new pro­pos­als by a com­mit­tee seek­ing to im­prove safety on the world’s high­est peak.

The re­quire­ment is be­ing pro­posed af­ter a deadly traf­fic-clogged sea­son saw 11 clim­bers die on Qo­molangma, which some ex­perts blamed on in­ex­pe­ri­ence.

“These rec­om­men­da­tions have been made to en­sure the qual­ity and safety of Nepal’s moun­taineer­ing tourism,” Ghan­shyam Upad­hayay, tourism min­istry of­fi­cial and head of the com­mit­tee told AFP.

The com­mit­tee also pro­posed a fee of at least $35,000 for Qo­molangma and $20,000 for other moun­tains over 8,000 me­ters, amid crit­i­cism that cost­cut­ting by ex­pe­di­tion or­ga­niz­ers was jeop­ar­diz­ing clim­bers’ safety.

The 59-page re­port recommende­d min­i­mum stan­dards for clim­bers, ex­pe­di­tion or­ga­niz­ers as well as guides and gov­ern­ment li­ai­son of­fi­cers in­volved in Nepal’s lu­cra­tive moun­taineer­ing in­dus­try.

“We will take this for­ward by amend­ing the laws and reg­u­la­tions... we will make our moun­tains safe, man­aged and dig­ni­fied,” Tourism Min­is­ter Yo­gesh Bhat­tari told re­porters.

For years, Kathmandu has is­sued Qo­molangma per­mits to any­one will­ing to pay $11,000, re­gard­less of whether they were rookie clim­bers or skilled moun­taineers.

This year record 885 peo­ple climbed Qo­molangma, 644 of them from the south and 241 from the north­ern flank in China.

Nine of the 11 deaths were on the Nepal side, and at least four of the deaths this sea­son were blamed on over­crowd­ing.

A traf­fic jam forced teams to wait for hours in freez­ing tem­per­a­tures to reach Qo­molangma’s 8,848-me­ter sum­mit and then de­scend, in­creas­ing the risk of frost­bite, al­ti­tude sick­ness and ex­haus­tion from de­pleted oxy­gen lev­els.

But ex­perts say the big­ger killer was in­ex­pe­ri­ence among a new wave of ill­pre­pared moun­taineer tourists.

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