Liaison officer dies of high altitude sickness
Death on the Everest winter expedition: However, none of the climbers died but a government official. According to the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times” the liaison officer, who was to accompany the winter expedition of the Basque Alex Txikon on behalf of the Tourism Ministry, died of high altitude sickness. The man passed away on the flight from Dukla (4,600 meters high) to Lukla (2860 meters) where he was to be treated in the hospital. The Spaniards Alex Txikon and Carlos Rubio want to climb Mount Everest without bottled oxygen this winter. The team has meanwhile – as reported – pitched up Camp 1 at 6,050 meters above the Khumbu Icefall.
Cash up and stay away
The rules for expeditions in Nepal, laid down in the so-called “Tourism Act”, require that each team must be accompanied by a liaison officer. Each expedition has to pay 3,000 US dollars – and provide tent and food to the government official in the base camp. However, it’s rather the exception than the rule that the liaison officers really find their way to the foot of the mountain. And when they get there, they usually stay only for a short time. The “Himalayan Times” asked the Everest expeditions after the spring season 2016: Of the 32 deployed liaison officers only 17 had reached the base camp. Six of them returned the same day, five more in the following three days. Only six liaison officers stayed at the foot of the mountain for more than two weeks. Many expeditions meet their liaison officer only twice: during the briefing before and the de-briefing after the trip – in Kathmandu.
NMA: one liaison officer per mountain
After an Indian couple in 2016 had obtained their Everest certificates by fraud using fake summit pictures, another discussion about the questionable system of liaison officers had flared up. Government officials had confirmed with their signature that the Indian mountaineers had been on the summit. The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) has proposed to the government to send only one liaison officer per mountain who really stays in the base camp and fulfills his duties. The liaison officer of the Everest winter expedition had obviously taken his job seriously.
Date17. January 2017 | 16:45