Ever dreamed of climbing Mt Everest? Few of us are so courageous and even fewer think of doing this alone. Nonetheless, over the years, 4,879 climbers have tried. Most have succeeded, some were forced to turn back and more than 250 people have died on Everest since 1920, with the vast majority of those deaths taking place since 1980.
The loss of lives made the government announce some major changes in its policy starting 2018. One of the major changes in the regulation is the mandatory provision of taking guides while climbing the mountains, including Mt. Everest, in an attempt to improve the safety of the climbers and ensure the rights of high-altitude Nepali guides.
- Foreign climbers must be accompanied by a guide
- People who are blind are banned from climbing
- Double amputees (legs and hands) are banned from climbing
- There will be a strict provision to check the medical certificate of the climbers to determine whether they are physically fit to climb the mountains
However, it is unclear whether the government will allow foreign guides with the climbing licence to make solo bids or act as a climbing guide. The government’s decision to ban double amputees and visually impaired climbers has been also labelled as “discriminatory”.
In the past, the American Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind person to conquer Mt Everest (May 25, 2001) while Mark Joseph Inglis of New Zealand is the first double leg amputee to reach the peak on May 15, 2006.
This year death toll stands at six, including:
- “Swiss Machine” Ueli Steck,
- 85-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan, who died attempting to reclaim his title as the world’s oldest person to reach the top.
- Vladimir Strba, 49-year-old Slovakian climber, who died while making a solo climb this spring season (April-May).
The government has so far opened 414 mountains for commercial climbing among more than 1,300 peaks. Foreign climbers can obtain Everest climbing permit paying $11,000 each as royalty.