Spaniards climb ‘sacred peaks’ sans DoT permit

Kathmandu, November 29

Three Spanish climbers scaled Mt Karyolung (6,530m) and Mt Numbur (6,958m) without obtaining a climbing permit from the Department of Tourism earlier this month.

Santi Padrós, Oriol Baro and Roger Cararach claim that they have ‘opened new climbing routes to the top of the sacred mountains.’ “We organised the expedition ourselves and we did not obtain any permit from the department of tourism because we wanted to explore the region for future climbs,” Padrós replied to THT via email.

A mountain guide accredited by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations said their climb was dedicated to Slovenian mountaineer Domen Kastelic who died in an avalanche on Monte Blanc in Western Europe recently.

But DoT is clearly not impressed. “It’s illegal to attempt to climb mountains without obtaining the government permit,” DoT’s Director Durga Datta Dhakal said, adding that the department would take legal action against Spanish climbers.

Dhakal said the government should impose a ban on three climbers from visiting country for mountaineering for 10 years and also collect a fine equal to twice the royalty fixed for Mt Everest from them for scaling an opened peak without permit.

An expeditionist has to pay a royalty of $11,000 to obtain a DoT permit to scale Mt Everest. DoT issued climbing permits to 162 expeditions for several mountains – except Mt Numbur, Mt Karyolung and Mt Khatang – for autumn.

According to country’s mountaineering regulation, a three-member expedition to any mountain below 7,000m must obtain a permit from DoT by paying the government a royalty of $700 per mountain.

Along with garbage deposit, the expedition must have a liaison officer in each mountain and should also employ high altitude workers to begin climbing activities.

Padrós, Baro and Cararach, who arrived in Kathmandu on October 16, stayed in Solukhumbu region for three weeks acclimatising themselves before attempting to climb Mt Karyolung, Mt Numbur and Mt Khatang (6,790m). “After reaching Mt Numbur base camp at Dudh Kunda (4,600m) in four days, we spent 17 days there to make ascents to three peaks,”

Padrós told THT. According to him, all three stood atop Mt Karyolung on October 31, while, he along with Baro, made it up to 5,900m on Mt Numbur on November 4. The climbers said they ran out of time to scale Mt Khatang.

The Spanish climbers claimed to have discovered two new routes to Mt Karyolung and Mt Numbur. “We have named the routes as ‘Pilar Dudh K(h)unda’ (1,400 m VI/6a, AI4, M4) to Mt Karyolung and the ‘Nepali Sun’ (1,000m VI/5, M4) to Mt Numbur,” Padrós, who runs Dolomismo, a mountain and canyoning guiding company in Spain, told THT.

According to him, the team spent 10 hours climbing on the icy slope of Mt Numbur up to 6,900m.

File photo of Mountaineers Roger and Santi ascending towards the Karyolung summit. Photo Courtesy: Santi Padros
File photo of Mountaineers Roger and Santi ascending towards the Karyolung summit. Photo Courtesy: Santi Padros