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Ang Tshering Sherpa: “Low cost operators spoil the industry”

Ang Tshering Sherpa

Ang Tshering Sherpa

The numbers fill Ang Tshering Sherpa with confidence. “We hope that mountaineering in Nepal will revive very soon,” says the President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) when we meet at the International Mountain Summit in Bressanone in South Tyrol. According to his words, expeditions to Nepalese mountains higher than 6,500 meters, which are managed by the government, have already achieved 87 percent compared with the time before the devastating earthquake in April 2015. Climbing on mountains lower than 6,500 meters, managed by the NMA, has even fully recovered. Trekking is between 40 and 50 percent again, depending on the region, the head of the NMA says: “We need to let the world know that the best way to help Nepal is by visiting. Each and every person who spends time in Nepal will help to revive the economy and rebuild the infrastructure.”

Less but true liaison officers

Mount Everest

Mount Everest

As NMA president Ang Tshering has to work on several construction sites related to expeditions. For example, the case of an Indian couple that made headlines all over the world, because they had obtained their Everest certificates by fraud, faking the summit pictures of other climbers. “We need to monitor more strictly and seriously those climbers who are not good for climbers’ image,” says the 62-year-old. The Nepalese liaison officers are no big help. They usually take their money that the expedition teams have to pay, are not seen at the base camps, but confirm afterwards that team member have reached the summit. “We asked the government to send only one liaison officer per mountain, not 30 or 40 on Everest or other mountains,” says Ang Tshering.

Everest aspirants should be more experienced

Ang Tshering (2nd f.r.) with Reinhold Messner (l.)

Ang Tshering (2nd f.r.) with Reinhold Messner (l.)

But it is difficult to implement such reforms because “unfortunately the government is changing every six or eight months. You have to convince them. And when they are about to understand, they change again.” That is why the discussion about new mountaineering rules for Mount Everest is already lasting for such a long time, says the head of NMA, adding that the reform is urgently needed: “Everest is the highest mountain in the world and it is not easy to climb. Either they climb in the European Alpes or the Nepalese mountains or elsewhere abroad, they do need more experience.”

“Mountaineer only interested in price”

Like others, Ang Tshering sees the problem that especially new expedition operators from Nepal are attracting clients offering dumping prices: “They are picking up people who have not any knowledge about climbing, how to use the equipment. Such agencies are spoiling the tourism industry.” The NMA president is also head of Asian Trekking, one of the country’s leading expedition operators. “We must not compromise the safety conditions ot the other Nepalese operators who are well prepared, well organized and more experienced than the new companies who have no knowledge about expeditions”, says Ang Tshering Sherpa. “Climbers, however, are only looking at the price, they don’t look at the safety conditions. This is the problem.”


15. October 2016 | 22:00