Nepal committee recommends new rules requiring Mt Everest climbers to be more experienced

Overcrowded conditions on Mount Everest can lead to hours-long waits on some passages and traffic and congestion at crucial points where oxygen levels dip dangerously low/Photo file : AP

AP — A Nepal government committee formed after a bad mountaineering season on Mount Everest has recommended new rules that would require climbers to have scaled tall peaks, undergone proper training, and possess certificates of good health and insurance that would cover rescue costs if required.

A report by the committee released Wednesday says people must have successfully climbed a peak higher than 6,500 metres before they can apply for a permit to scale Mount Everest. Each climber would also be required to have a highly experienced guide.

To discourage cost-cutting that can put climbers’ lives at risk, the ministry also said that clients of expedition companies would have to prove, before setting out, that they had paid at least $35,000 for the expedition. (A typical total price tag easily surpasses $50,000.)

“Everest cannot be climbed just based on one’s wishes,” Yogesh Bhattarai, the tourism minister, said at a news conference. “We are testing their health conditions and climbing skills before issuing climbing permits.”

Of the 11 people who died during the spring climbing season this year, nine were climbing from the southern side of the peak in Nepal, making it one of the worst years on the mountain.

The government was criticized for allowing too many climbers on the world’s highest peak.

Mountaineering authorities were also criticized for not stopping inexperienced climbers who had difficulty coping with harsh conditions on Everest and slowed down other climbers on the trail to the 8,850-metre summit.

The spring climbing season began in March and ended in May.

The government is expected to amend its mountaineering regulations following the recommendations.

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