Nepal | June 03, 2020

Everest permit-dodger Davy released on bail

Agence France Presse
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Kathmandu, May 22

A South African, who was detained for trying to climb Mount Everest without a permit, was released on bail today after paying a $10 bond.

Ryan Sean Davy, 43, spent six days in police custody after being caught hiding in a cave near the Everest base camp without a permit costing $11,000 needed to climb the world’s tallest mountain. He was arrested during questioning under the country’s public order laws for swearing at tourism officials — allegations that he denies.

“I paid them 1,000 rupees ($10). That’s what I had in my pocket,” Davy told AFP at the Kathmandu district office, where he was brought for the bail hearing.

The South African, who has no prior mountaineering experience, said he could not afford the hefty permit fee, but wanted to scale Everest and document his experience in a book and film.

He still faces charges related to his summit attempt, which carries a maximum $22,000 fine — double the cost of the permit he was trying to avoid. “The decision against him is in process, but once the government decides on the fine amount, he can pay and collect his passport,” Dinesh Bhattarai, head of the tourism department, told AFP.

“We are looking at the laws to decide on action against him if he fails to pay.” Davy has said he cannot afford the fine. When caught two weeks ago, the South African told officials he climbed as far as Camp One — at 6,000 metres — despite being without proper equipment.

His passport was confiscated by government officials, who ordered that he return to Kathmandu to collect it and pay a fine — a journey he made by foot because he could not afford a plane ticket.

Johannesburg-born, but US-based, Davy moved to Aspen in Colorado six months ago to prepare for his Everest bid, living out of a van as he was short on cash. He said he taught himself to climb by reading mountaineering books and watching YouTube videos.

Davy said that had he reached the Everest summit, he planned to cross to the Tibet side of the mountain — a move that would have landed him in trouble with Chinese authorities as well.

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A version of this article appears in print on May 23, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.


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