Kathmandu, March 26
As the spring season is nearing climbers from various countries have started registering their names for expedition permits at the Department of Tourism (DoT) from the end of February. As per the department, it has collected a total of Rs 39 million till date from climbers registering for mountaineering expeditions for spring season this year. Of the total amount that has been collected, a majority — Rs 35 million — is for expeditions on Mount Everest.
Till Monday (March 25) a total of 60 members from nine different expedition teams have received expedition permits. Among them, a total of 29 members from three teams have received the expedition permit for Mt Everest (8,848m).
The world’s highest peak has recorded around 5,891 summits till date.
Similarly, the DoT has issued two expedition permits for Chhopabamare (6,109m), one for Thapa Peak-Dhampus (6,012m), three for Kumbhakarna (7,710m) and nine expedition permits have been issued for Annapurna I (8,091m).
While five climbers have received expedition permit for Lhotse (8,516m) a total of 11 members have received expedition permit for Pumori (7,161m). Compared to the previous year, climbers this year have started registering for expedition permits earlier.
“Till the first week of March in the previous year, only one team with one member had registered for the expedition permit. However, this year the DoT issued the first expedition permit in the last week of February,” said Rameshwor Niraula, an official of DoT’s mountaineering department. He further said that the number of climbers in this spring season is likely to be way more than the previous year. In the previous year, a total of 768 climbers had received expedition permits in the spring season and the DoT had collected around Rs 412 million.
The expedition royalty collected in a single season in 2018 was more than the collection of whole years in previous years. According to DoT, the government had collected Rs 389.5 million in expedition royalty in 2017. Similarly, in 2016, the government had collected Rs 281.9 million from mountaineering expeditions while the figure was Rs 342.5 million in 2015. The data compiled by the department excludes the royalty collected by Nepal Mountaineering Association for expeditions on 27 smaller peaks.
Meanwhile, China recently announced that it would reduce the number of expedition permits from its side to climb Mt Everest for cleaning purposes and the DoT expects the number of climbers to increase from Nepal side. “This year China has limited the number of expedition permits for Mt Everest but no such decision has been taken yet in Nepal,” Niraula said, “This may increase the number of climbers wanting to summit Mt Everest from Nepal side.”
The government levies $11,000 per person for foreign climbers for expeditions to Mt Everest during the spring season, while Nepali climbers have to pay Rs 75,000 per person. For other mountains above 8,000 metres, the government levies $1,800 on foreigners and Rs 10,000 for Nepali climbers. Till date, the government has opened 415 peaks for mountaineering expeditions, of which 91 peaks are yet to be climbed.