A few months back a number of sites reported on plans to expand, and pave, the road to Everest Base Camp on the North Side. (Read more details at The Adventurist) The new, smoother road would make it much easier for climbers, and their support teams, to reach BC, and the reports were that the Chinese Government wanted to see it done by Spring 2008 for the Olympic Torch run.
Later we received news that the road was now on hold while the government conducted studies on the impact of more traffic on the surrounding environment. Specifically, the concerns were over the fragile nature of the glaciers in the area.
Today Everest News is reporting that the road is moving ahead as scheduled and that it should be done well before the Spring season opens. While the concerns over the environment remain, the Chinese are determined to push this project through, and really, when have the Chinese been all that concerned about the environment in recent years?
I guess we should have seen this one coming. Everest News notes that the road will allow a lot more tourists to make it to BC, which will likely turn into an even bigger zoo than it had been in the past few years. While I have never had a problem with them improving the road itself to allow better access for the climbers, I do think access should be very limited for tourists. It doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case, and considering how big of a showcase the Chinese are making out of the Torch on the summit, I expect that BC for 2008 is going to be one crazy place. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
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