Nepal mulls new restrictions for Everest climbing permits

The proposals, which would also involve banning disabled and elderly climbers from the mountain, come after 18 people were killed last April at Everest’s base camp in an avalanche that was triggered by the Nepal quake.


“We must maintain the glory of Everest climbing”, Mohan Krishna Sapkota, joint secretary of Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism, said Tuesday.

Kripasur Sherpa, the country’s tourism minister, said he hoped to implement the rules in time for the spring season, which usually sees hundreds of mountaineers from across the world attempting to reach the 29,029ft (8,848 metres) summit of the world’s highest peak.

Ministry spokespeople said that now “everyone is going to Everest”, which has increased the level of risk, largely due to inexperienced climbers who are totally reliant on their paid guides for safety and incapable of helping other climbers who might be in trouble. The oldest person to scale the peak was an 80-year-old Japanese climber.

“Climbing Everest is not a joke… it is not a matter of discrimination”.

He said similar proposals had been mooted in the past, but instead of blanket bans, the government should impose the rules they already have.

Last week Junko Tabei, who became the first woman to scale the mountain in 1975, Nepal needed to control the number of climbers attempting to reach the peak, according to the local press.

Climbing on Everest, first conquered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953, has become controversial in recent decades.

Nepal now bars people under 16 from attempting to climb Everest, but has no upper age limit.

Officials were also said to be seeking to limit the highest peaks of the Himalayas to climbers aged between 18 and 75.

A few climbers complain that the novices aren’t up to the task, while environmentalists worry about the impact of thousands of climbers and their garbage left behind on the mountain. “This causes problems”, she said.

Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all but essential travel to Everest, to the frustration of tour operators.


For instance, it’s impossible to say whether the rules under consideration would prevent Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki, who lost nine fingers to frostbite in a 2012 Everest attempt, from trying again.

Every year about 600 climbers go to Nepal with the intention of taking on Everest and in recent years there has been an increase in the number of novices relying heavily on guides to reach the summit