Tourism Department Caps Number Of Climbers Allowed On Everest

In an attempt to prevent overcrowding on the world’s tallest peak, especially at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing, the Department of Tourism (DoT) has introduced a cap on the number of people allowed to climb Mount Everest this season.
Issuing a directive on Wednesday, the department specified the particular climbing permit holders who would be allowed to make an attempt on Everest in the positive weather windows that will become available after the ropes are fixed at the top.
However, if the arrangement proves difficult for the climbers, the department has given an option to expedition handling agencies to coordinate among themselves and manage climbs in such a way that the number of people attempting the summit does not exceed 170 in any given weather window.
Regarding the directive, the Expedition Operator’s Association said it would fully abide by it as it has with all the other mountaineering rules introduced by the government till now. “The climbers have already reached the base camp. Now, we will discuss with them and move forward in line with the DoT requirements,” Association President Dambar Parajuli told The Rising Nepal.
Similarly, the guideline instructs the guides and handling agencies to make sure that their climbers stay within their groups only when at base camp and on the caravan route to prevent external contact and haphazard movement.
Moreover, individuals who have returned from a trek or a climb must also mandatorily submit a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) report as proof of their infection-free status before setting off to scale another peak.
Last week, social media was abuzz with stories of a climber reportedly showing symptoms of COVID-19 at the Everest base camp. His condition warranted an airlift to Kathmandu. However, Mira Acharya, director of the Mountaineering Division at DoT, said that it was pneumonia.
“The hospital where the climber is being treated has told the department that it is pneumonia and that he is in a stable condition. We monitored the health of the other climbers he was in contact with and none of them have shown any symptoms. The department has not found any evidence to suggest he was or is COVID positive,” she informed.
As of Thursday, the DoT has granted 377 climbing permits for Everest.