It Could Now Cost You At Least $51,000 To Climb Everest
Would-be climbers seeking a permit for Everest could soon be forced to prove they are experienced mountaineers and pay a bigger fee before being granted permission to climb.
New safety measures, proposed by Nepali official, are aimed at reducing the number of permits issued for the world's highest peak, and ultimately save lives.
It comes after one of the deadliest climbing seasons in recent years.
Eleven climbers went missing on the 8,850-metre mountain in May despite there being no major avalanches or earthquakes.
Overcrowding and inexperience were quickly blamed, while guides criticised officials for allowing anyone who paid AU$16,000 to attempt the climb.
At seasons end, a Nepalese panel -- made up of government officials, climbing experts and agencies representing the climbing community -- was set up to identify and provide solutions to the deadly issues.
The committee's report was released on Thursday, recommending that all climbers be forced to prove they have successfully scaled a peak higher than 6,500 metres before being granted a permit.
It also proposes that climbers submit a certificate of good health and physical fitness, be accompanied by a trained Nepalese guard and pay a fee of at least AU$51,000.
In the past, anyone could attempt to summit on the Nepalese side, as long as they handed over a copy of their passport, limited biographical data and had a certificate showing they were fit to climb, but there is no way for officials to verify the fitness check.
The number of permits handed out has increased nearly every year since the 1990s with the Nepalese government issuing a record 381 permits this season.
Many of those tried to make a run for the top within two weeks in late May. This is the period between the storms of winter and spring and the onset of the summer monsoon when the mountain is often shrouded in fog.
As a result, there were delays of up to four hours, leaving some climbers with dangerously low levels of oxygen.
It was during this period that this now-famous photo, taken by experience mountaineer Nirmal Purja, was posted to social media, sparking global outcry and concern.
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After months of consultation, it appears the proposed new safety rules will be implemented by the start of the 2020 climbing season.
“Everest cannot be climbed just based on one’s wishes,” tourism minister Yogesh Bhattarai, told reporters.
"We will take this forward by amending the laws and regulations. We will make our mountains safe, managed and dignified".