Kathmandu, April 26
Climbers have started traversing through the treacherous section of the icefall route after the Department of Tourism permitted more than 400 climbers, along with their high altitude workers, to move up to the Mt Everest base camp this spring climbing season.
Col Ranveer Jamwal, who leads a 14-member Indian Army Everest Massif Expedition, said most of the teams had already started moving to Camp I and II to get them prepared for the summit push.
“We are getting ready for our first rotation on the mountain where we will go to Camp I and II and will remain up high for a weekas part of our acclimatisation,” Claudia Camila Lopez, a Columbian female climber told THT.
According to Gyanendra Shrestha, an official at the DoT, 289 mountaineers from 38 countries obtained permits for Mt Everest representing 34 teams.
He added that the department also issued 78 permits (11 teams) for Mt Lhotse and 44 permits (seven teams) for Mt Nuptse this season.
The government has collected only Rs 176 million as royalty from Everest climbers as 69 mountaineers reused their permits issued in 2014/15.
At least 432 high-altitude workers also reached the base camp to assist diversified climbers attempting to climb the world’s highest peak this season, he said.
Apart from altitude workers, more 100 base camp workers, including kitchen staff, also obtained permits to join the expedition teams.
“Only two female mountaineers — Maya Sherpa and Yanji Sherpa of Patle, Okhaldhunga — have obtained permits to serve as HAW and base camp worker, respectively.”
Summit rope fixing gear had already been ferried to Western Cwm near Camp I, according to Damber Parajuli, President of the Expedition Operators’ Association of Nepal.
Nine flights were used to carry gear up to the higher camp from Gorakshep after the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation granted permission to make the fixed flights above the base camp, he said.
“The first ever move to allow the use of chopper to transport ropes, anchors and oxygen for the climbers up to Camp I reduces movement of high altitude workers through the icefall route,” he added.
Climbers and support staff also hailed the government’s move terming it as a positive step in terms of risk management.
Sherpas also fixed the ropes up to Camp III this morning, Nima Gyalzen Sherpa, a mountain guide, told this daily from the base camp.
A version of this article appears in print on April 27, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.