Climbers eye virgin peaks in western Nepal

KATHMANDU: With the year’s autumn climbing activities gaining momentum in Nepal, the country’s unclimbed peaks are all set to receive the first-ever climbers, according to the Department of Tourism.

Rameshwar Niraula, a DoT official, said that the department issued climbing permits to eight foreign climbers to commence expeditions on Panpoche - I (6,620 m) and Panpoche - II (6,504 m) in western Nepal.

According to him, a three-member team of Georgian climbers from Satori Adventures Pvt Ltd will be attempting to climb Panpoche – I and II, both ‘virgin’ peaks, in the autumn season while another five-member team of climbers from Seven Summit Treks also obtained a permit for Panpoche –I in the autumn season.

“It is the very first team to attempt to climb both peaks after the government opened the mountains for climbing in 2014,” he said.

Rishi Bhandari, managing director at Satori Adventures said that Georgian climbers Archil Badriashvili, Tepnadze Giorgi and Bakari Gelashvili will be attempting to climb both Panpoche –I and II. “Badriashvili-led team along with their support staff has already reached Samagaun area to begin their climbing activities,” he said.

Mingma Sherpa, chairman at Seven Summit Treks said that a team led by Italian climber Francois Cazzanelli also left for western Nepal to attempt to climb Panpoche – I. The team includes Francesco Ratti, Marco Camandona, Emrik Favre from Italy and Swiss climber Andreas Stefan Steindl.

“We have decided to run expeditions on ‘virgin’ peaks this autumn to explore the new adventure opportunities for the world climbers in Nepal’s Himalayan regions,” the operators said.

The DoT collects $200 as royalty from each foreign climber attempting to climb the ‘virgin’ peaks.