More DW Blogs DW.COM

Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

China cancels fall season on Tibet’s eight-thousanders

Janusz Adamski

This was not a good week for Janusz Adamski. First, the Nepalese government seized his passport and informed the Pole that he would be not allowed to enter Nepal for mountaineering in the next ten years. And now, the Chinese authorities made the 48-year-old the scapegoat for not issuing any permits next fall for the three eight-thousanders in Tibet. Adamski, who “illegally” scaled Mount Everest from the north side and then traversed to the south side on 21 May, was responsible that the rules and regulations had to be “adjusted and improved”, informed the China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA). To ensure that the problems were solved in time by 2018, there would be no climbing permits for fall 2017, said the CTMA.

Moro also without permit for his Everest traverse

Janusz points to Mount Everest

Adamski did not have an Everest permit from the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism, but only a CTMA permit allowing him to ascend and descend via the Tibetan north route. After his descent from the summit on the Nepali south side, the Pole said that neither the authorities in China nor those in Nepal issued permits for a cross-border summit traverse. “It is not the climbers’ fault that the officials are not interested in issuing such permits,” Adamski wrote on Facebook and recalled Simone Moro’s Everest traverse in 2006, also without permit.

In fact, the Italian had tried in vain for years to obtain an approval for his project from the Chinese authorities. Simone had ascended with a Nepali permit on the south side and descended to Tibet. Later Moro told the Chinese authorities that he had lost the way and run out of oxygen on the summit. And when he had realized he was missing the way, Simone said to the liaison officers, he had been already too low to go back. Moro got away with a fine for an illegal climb.

Negotiations are possible

Nobukazu Kuriki

But there have also been “legal” Everest traverses with permits, e.g. in 2007 by the British David Tait and the Sherpa Phurba Tashi. And also the Japanese Nobukazu Kuriki proved in the just finished Everest spring season that it is possible to negotiate with the authorities. Originally, the 34-year-old had planned to climb from the Tibetan side via the North Face to the summit. But then he changed his plan: Nobukazu ascended from the Nepali south side to the West Ridge, from where he wanted to cross into the North Face. In the end, it did not happen. However, the Japanese returned to his home country without having got any problems with the Chinese or Nepali authorities.

Indications for the decision already in March

But is Adamski’s illegal traverse really the reason for the cancellation of the fall season on the Tibetan eight-thousanders? I think it is more of a pretext for the Chinese authorities. As early as mid-March it was clear that they would not issue any permits for Everest and Shishapangma, and probably only about 50 for Cho Oyu. “Obviously there will be a kind of event in Tibet this fall. The Chinese are afraid that there may be unrest and therefore want as few foreigners staying in Tibet as possible,” told me then Dominik Mueller, head of the German expedition operator Amical alpin. At that time, hardly anyone outside Poland was aware that the first Polish Everest traverse was planned. Janusz Adamski, by the way, informed on Facebook today that he had agreed not to speak in public about the accusations against him until his departure from Nepal.


8. June 2017 | 21:19