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Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

“Mosquito bite” Everest rules

StechmueckeDamn, it’s itching. Inevitably as a mosquito bite on a muggy summer day is the annually recurring announcement of the Nepalese government to set up new rules for climbers on Mount Everest. Mind you, the announcement, not the implementation. This year is no exception. This week Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal from the Nepalese Tourism Ministry told the Kathmandu-based newspaper “The Himalayan Times” that the “Mountaineering Expedition Regulation”, which is in force since 2002, should be amended: According to the draft, mountaineers who are older than 75 years should be banned from climbing Everest as well as double amputees or blind climbers. In addition, each Everest aspirant should have climbed at least a seven-thousander before. Déjà-vu?

Got stuck and disappeared

Exacty! In September 2015, Tourism Minister Kripasur Sherpa (who meanwhile has been replaced) had already brought fairly accurately these amendments into play. Like almost all Everest reform proposals of previous years this one also got stuck somewhere on the long and arduous journey through the governmental authorities and disappeared. And this year’s Everest spring season began without new rules.

Dawa Steven Sherpa

Dawa Steven Sherpa

“Every time new bureaucrats come in they bring their own interpretation of policies and introduce new rules: almost always new restrictions. It’s how they feel empowered and that they are leaving their mark”, Dawa Steven Sherpa, managing director of the Nepalese expedition operator “Asian Trekking”, writes to me. “And as usual the rule will be rolled back and a compromise will be reached. The sad thing is that there is a way to do all this through engaging in dialog with the stakeholders and come to the inevitable compromise without making international headlines and without making the Nepal Government look backwards and foolish.”

No more solos?

South side of Mount Everest

South side of Mount Everest

According to the “new” draft, helicopter flights above Base Camp are to be allowed only for transport of climbing equipment and rescue. The latter has always been so; the former had been admitted by the government for the first time this spring.
But what does the proposed rule mean that every Everest climber must be accompanied by a mountain guide? Will it be valid only for members of commercial expedition or really fpr all climbers? In this case solo climbs like Reinhold Messner’s legendary one on the north side of Everest during the monsoon in 1980 would be excluded forever on the south side of the mountain.

Peculiar irony
Oh, and the government wants to enshrine that Sherpa summiters also receive an Everest certificate. What a peculiar irony! Until this year exactly this was common practice – until the Tourism Ministry suddenly stated that Sherpas according to the rules were no regular expedition members and therefore had no claim to get summit certificates. And now they try to make us believe that certificates for Sherpas are something new? Honestly, I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. This “mosquito bite” is really itching.

P.S.: Now I’ll leave for a short trip to the sea. 🙂 In the middle of next week I’ll be back for you.


22. July 2016 | 15:54