Nepal grants climbing permit to 729 mountaineers this season

Tents at Everest base camp where mountaineers are acclimatising. Photo Courtesy: Lakpa Rita Sherpa
Tents at Everest base camp where mountaineers are acclimatising. Photo Courtesy: Lakpa Rita Sherpa

KATHMANDU: With the world mountaineers traversing through the treacherous Khumbu icefall on Mt Everest, Nepal's Department of Tourism today said it had issued climbing permits to at least 729 mountaineers who would be attempting to climb 21 different mountains in the spring season.

“As of today, 376 world climbers including 20 Nepalis representing five teams obtained climbing permits for Mt Everest while a nine-member team comprising five South Koreans will be applying in a day or two becoming the last to seek permit for the world’s highest peak in the season,” Durga Dutta Dhakal, DoT’s Director said.

According to him, climbers of 41 expeditions from different 44 countries have already headed to Khumbu region for acclimatisation.

“At least 53 female climbers, three of them as team leader, have headed to Mt Everest,” he shared. DoT record shows that there were only 289 foreign climbers who had obtained climbing permits for Mt Everest in the last spring season.

After traversing through the icefall section, Jim Davidson, a Colorado-based seasoned mountaineer, told THT  Online from base camp that icefall was in good shape in the lower third due to some recent snow. “The middle third, up to the so-called football field, had a bit more hard ice exposed than in 2015 and a few more precarious spots while there are less ladders than in 2015, perhaps about 10 to cross-up to the level of 18,800 feet,” he said.

According to Ronnie Muhl of Adventures Global, there was a meeting in the base camp yesterday to discuss the fixing of lines above Camp II and all the way to the summit. This year too, the ministry has allowed for all of the fixing gear including ropes, pitons, screws and biners to be flown by chopper up to Camp II. At least 16 loads have already been airlifted to Camp II while such move certainly eliminates lots of dangerous load carries through the icefall by Sherpas, he added. Along with Mt Everest, at least 100 climbers for Mt Lhotse and 30 for Mt Nuptse will also be using the icefall route.