Nepal | November 26, 2020

Row over multiple Mt Manaslu summit points hits certificate issuance

Rajan Pokhrel
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KATHMANDU: It has been more than a month since over 150 climbers returned from Mt Manaslu standing atop the world’s eighth highest peak which lies in western Nepal. But only three climbers have received the summit certificates from the government authorities till date this season.

Officials at the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said that the DoT stopped issuing summit certificates to the Manaslu climbers of 17 different expeditions, saying verification of the climbers claim of treading on the real summit point at the altitude of 8,163 metres turned out to be easier said than done.

Earlier, THT disclosed that most of the climbers, including foreigners and Sherpas, claimed of having summitted the peak on September 30 and October 1 without reaching the main summit point. “An expedition comprising of Russian and Nepali climbers received three certificates prior to THT’s revelation,” an official at DoT said.

The DoT officials, who barred climbing Sherpas from obtaining certificates due to a vague provision of the existing mountaineering regulation since last year, admitted that it was the responsibility of the liaison officers to certify the climbers’ claim recommending them the certificates.

“The liaison officer of the respective group should recommend for certificates stating that he/she stayed at the base camp throughout the climbing period while the team also needs to submit summit photo to get a certificate.”

Interestingly, majority of the LOs, like in the past, have failed to accompany the expeditions on Mt Manaslu despite charging over USD 2,000 per expedition.

According to DoT, liaison officers have already attended Mt Manaslu debriefing.

It was completely unfair this season while DoT had provided certificates to all Mt Manaslu climbers without verifying the summit points in the past, Mingma Sherpa, Managing Director at Seven Summit Treks said, urging the DoT for an early issuance of summit certificates to the summiteers.

According to him, it was a general practice on Mt Manaslu that climbers have different options to make summit for many years. “It’s highly impossible for all climbers to make it to the tiny summit at 8,163 m in a very short window,” he said.

Climbers also agreed that the two summit places situated some five to 10 metres below the main summit point.

With Nepal’s mountaineering loosing its ethical norms over unhealthy comercialisation in the recent days, serious climbers always believe that there were no fore-summits in any mountain in the world.

Talking to THT recently, the world’s greatest mountaineer Reinhold Messner also reacted that Nepal’s mountaineering was more about tourism than the traditional alpinism.

As per regulation, DoT shall issue certificates to climbers who have successfully reached the main summit point, the prescribed altitude of the respective mountains.

“DoT has asked all expedition operators to submit a video clip/digital photo of the summit while applying for certificates to the expedition members,” DoT’s Director Indiresh Dahal who heads the mountaineering section said. Following a controversy over Mt Everest summit in the last spring season, DoT considered the summit certificate as a serious issue, he added.

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