Record-breaking female climber in Nepal can’t get home to Hong Kong due to Covid rules
Kathmandu — A female mountaineer cannot leave Nepal to go home to Hong Kong due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Beijing.
Tsang Yin-Hung, who in May became the fastest woman to climb Mount Everest, said trying to return home was harder than her record-breaking ascent.
Nepal has had a surge of infections including at the base camp of Everest, prompting several countries to block travel from there. The daily positive rate of infections in Nepal stands at more than 24 per cent, among the highest in the world at this time.
The travel restriction was imposed after the climbing season began and there were fresh outbreaks in Nepal.
The 44-year-old schoolteacher turned mountaineer climbed Everest in 25 hours and 50 minutes last month but said flying back home was harder than getting to the 8,848.86-metre (29,032ft) peak.
She said: “I think the summit climb for me was possible and achievable. But going back home (looks) hopeless. There is no way to go back.
“There are no flights (from Nepal) to any place in China or Hong Kong.”
Nepal officials say they have allowed two weekly flights from China, but these were not operational.
The Chinese embassy in Kathmandu did not immediately respond to an email on the lack of flights.
Climbers from other countries have already returned on mainly chartered flights.
China’s Sun Yi Quan, 34, who climbed Everest three times before but gave up on his fourth attempt in May due to a coronavirus outbreak at base camp, said his team of 13 climbers too had failed to get a flight back home.
Kathmandu has been partially shut down since May due to the surge in Covid-19 with 622,640 infections and 8,772 deaths in the nation so far.
Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, a senior official at the Seven Summit Treks company said more than 30 Chinese climbers were stranded in Kathmandu.