Control crowd on Mt Everest: Junko Tabei to Nepal

KATHMANDU: Legendary mountaineer Junko Tabei, who is the first woman to climb Mt Everest, has suggested Nepal to control the crowd of mountaineers in the world’s highest peak.

Talking to journalists in Kathmandu, Tabei opined that it was not good to allow hundreds of climbers to move up to the Mt Everest in a single season.

“Allowing a large number of climbers in a season poses high risks to mountain environment and the climbers as well,” she added.

Recounting her climbing attempts in early days, Tabei who is Nepal's honorary tourism goodwill ambassador said that there was only one expedition team which had been allowed to attempt to climb Mt Everest.

As the government now opens climbing for all mountaineers, more than four hundreds have opted to climb Mt Everest annually in recent years, especially in spring season. “Government needs to control such crowd on Mt Everest,” she maintained.

Tabei, however, appealed world climbers and visitors to come to Nepal as the country needed more tourists now than ever. Everest trekking route is all safe for visitors in the aftermath of April earthquake, she said.

Considering Nepal as my second home, I came here to support quake-hit country while the year 2015 marked the 40th anniversary of my first ever successful ascent to the world’s highest mountain, she further added.

The renowned Japanese mountaineer, who came here with more than 35 Japanese trekkers to support the country’s tourism economy in the aftermath of devastating quake, said she had interacted with local residents in Khumbu region. “They are very resilient as well as committed to building back their lives better.”

Tabei also recounted the fate of her hometown Fukushima which was struck by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 transforming the rural haven to ravaged wasteland. “Being a resident of Fukusima, I know how difficult had it to rebuild lives in time of crisis,” she said.

Being a sub-leader of Japanese Women's Everest Expedition and leader of its climbing party, she successfully climbed Mt Everest in 1975, becoming the first woman in the world to reach the world's highest peak.  In 1992, she also became the first woman in the world to reach the highest mountain on each of the seven continents.

Tabei is also involved in different development projects through Himalayan Adventure Trust. HAT’s activities mainly focused on protecting the mountain environment in Nepal and abroad. “We have been supporting Khumbu locals as well as the government agencies to keep the environment clean,” she said, adding that HAT also launched numerous outreach activities to educate people about the environment.

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