Double amputees to be barred from climbing mountains

  • Sherpas to get summit certificates
  •  Lone attempts on Mt Everest to be banned

Kathmandu, December 5

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has decided to revise the country’s mountaineering regulation, ensuring that sirdars, mountain guides and high-altitude workers who accompany expeditions to the top of the climbing peaks, including Mt Everest, shall get summit certificates.

A revision to the Mountaineering Expedition Regulation under the Tourism Act, which has already been forwarded by the ministry to the Council of Ministers, also states that people with complete blindness and double amputation, as well as those proven medically unfit for climbing, will be restricted from attempting to scale mountains.

The government move comes at a time when Hari Budha Magar, a former British Gurkha who lost both his legs in wars, announced he would climb the world’s highest peak in the next spring season. Magar had already climbed Mera peak as part of his training for Mt Everest, according to US-based Myrmidon Expeditions, which was planning an expedition for Magar along with Himalayan Ski Trek in Kathmandu.

The fifth revision of the regulation also proposes to ban lone attempts, stating that every individual climber attempting to scale Mt Everest must take along at least a mountain guide. Without fixing the maximum age-limit, a provision barring youngsters below 16 years of age from obtaining climbing permits will remain unchanged in the revised regulation. An expedition could use at least 15 walkie-talkie sets instead of 12, it added.

According to the proposal, climbing gear and necessary equipment must be carried by climbers or their authorised workers in mountains.

Joint Secretary Ghanashyam Upadhyay, who heads the Tourism Industry Division in the ministry, said the ministry had registered a final draft of the revised Tourism Act in the Cabinet for approval. “According to the proposal finalised by the ministry, climbing Sherpas will get certificates after summiting mountains,” he said, adding that medical and life insurance for liaison officers, base camp workers and climbing guides will also be increased.

Earlier, the Department of Tourism refused to award high-altitude workers summit certificates, citing a clause of the Mountaineering Expedition Regulation that bars them from obtaining summit certificates.

The Cabinet has already forwarded the ministry’s 10-point proposal to the financial and infrastructure committee under the Council of Ministers for its final review. “The Cabinet will take the  final call once the committee reviews it,” Upadhyay added.