Everest permits extended
This decision was really overdue. The Nepalese government finally decided that the permits to climb Mount Everest in 2014 remain valid until 2019. Shortly after the avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall on 18 April 2014 that had killed 16 Nepalese climbers, the spring season de facto had been terminated. More than 330 foreign climbers left the highest mountain in the world, without having set foot on it. Even then government officials in Kathmandu announced that the permits for the 39 expedition groups would retain their validity for five years. However, the words were not followed by deeds. Instead, there were rumors about government plans to extend the permits only for groups. The climbing scene was outraged rightly. If in this case e.g. only one climber would have used the permit of 2014 to climb Everest in 2015, the other group members not in attendance would have been empty handed. Now, this regulation is apparently off the table.
Cheaper? No way!
The climbers who had to leave Everest last year, could “come back with any company they want over the next five years”, said Nepalese Tourism Ministry spokesman, Mohan Krishna Sapkota. It seems unlikely that many Everest aspirants from last year will travel to Nepal to join the next spring season that will start in one and a half week. I think many awaited the government’s decision regarding the permits. Finally they had paid per person $ 10,000 for 2014. In any case, they’ll have to pay $ 1000 in addition now, because the government specified the fee for each Everest climber, regardless of whether he is traveling alone or in a group, at $ 11,000 form 2015 onwards. The authorities in Kathmandu sold the new regulation as discount, many media followed and spoke of “dumping prices” for Everest expeditions. This may be true for solo climbers, because they paid $ 25,000 so far. However, for groups of more than seven participants, and that’s the rule on Everest, it is more expensive since this year: $ 1000 more per member, as mentioned before.
Waiting for decision on helicopter flights
Also referring to the back and forth of the Nepalese government on the issue of the permits, the operators Peak Freaks from Canada and High Adventure Expeditions from the USA had canceled their Everest expeditions 2015. The US operator Alpenglow Expeditions switched from the Nepalese south side to the Tibetan north side of Mount Everest. Last year, the organizers had also requested to be allowed to use helicopters to transport materials to Camp 1 or 2. So far, the government has remained silent. “My feeling is that they will say no”, Guy Cotter, head of the New Zealand expedition operator Adventure Consultants, wrote to me.
Date20. March 2015 | 17:31
TagsAvalance, Guy Cotter, Mount Everest, Nepal, Nepalese Tourism Ministry, Permit, tourism ministry