Supreme Court allows NMA to issue climbing permits for 33 peaks

KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court on Sunday said that the Nepal Mountaineering Association could issue climbing permits to world mountaineers for expedition on 33 mountains of the country.

After a discussion with the government attorneys, officials and other stakeholders including the NMA representatives, the apex court decided to continue its stay order which was issued against the government decision to bar the country’s only alpine club from handling the trekking peaks that range from Mt Chhukung Ri (5,550m) to Shigu Chuli (6,501m).

A division bench of Justices Devendra Gopal Shrestha and Baidya Nath Upadhyay issued an order letting the NMA to continue its task of handling all 33 trekking and expedition peaks, according to a source at the SC.

“Now, the NMA has been authorised to issue climbing permits for all mountains that it has been doing for last four decades,” NMA President Ang Tshering Sherpa said after receiving the SC’s order.

Earlier, a single bench of Justice Om Prakash Mishra on December 7 had issued an interim order against implementation of a decision taken by the Council of Ministers on October 9 to bar the NMA from issuing climbing permits for mountains. The Cabinet decision had also mandated the Department of Tourism to handle all those peaks.

The NMA annually collects over USD 500,000 as the fees from climbers attempting to summit 27 peaks, while six other peaks were declared royalty-free recently.

Depending on the range and altitude of the peaks, the NMA has fixed permit fee up to USD 250 for each foreign climber as it has been handling 15 expedition peaks and 18 climbing peaks since 1977.