KATHMANDU: The government has revised the Mountaineering Expedition Regulation under the Tourism Act barring people with complete blindness and double amputation, as well as those proven medically unfit for climbing, from attempting to scale mountains.
The Council of Ministers which passed the revised regulation yesterday also stated 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.
“The Financial and Infrastructure Committee under the Council of Ministers endorsed a revision to the Mountaineering Expedition Regulation,” a Cabinet source told THT, adding that the same came into force immediately after the endorsement.
The government’s move to bar differently-able persons including those with double amputation from climbing peaks has, however, drawn a wide criticism. Hari Budha Magar, a former British Gurkha who lost both his legs in wars, has already announced he would climb the world’s highest peak in the next spring season.
“Ability not perceived ‘disability’ must guide rules on who can trek Mt. Everest. Climbers like Hari Budha Magar shouldn’t be banned because of false assumptions about capabilities. Accessible tourism for all will make it clear that Nepal welcomes everyone!”, Ambassador of the United States to Nepal Alaina B Teplitz had tweeted.
“This is a ridiculous and ludicrous rule that should be opposed and if need be ignored at every opportunity. It is beyond belief that in this century we still have attitudes like this being held by people in authority,” Darren Swift, double amputee actor as well as trauma casualty simulator, reacted from West London, UK.
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 new provision also requires that every individual climber attempting to scale Mt Everest must take along at least a mountain guide. It has also barred youngsters below 16 years of age from obtaining climbing permits.