Everest 2008: Tibet Still On Crackdown, Nepal Issuing Permits

everest tibet
More news from Nepal and Tibet today, as the Spring Season on Everest draws ever closer. Unrest in Lhasa continues, while in Nepal, the government has begun issuing climbing permits.

The BBC is reporting that China is continuing to crackdown on protests, and admits that they’ve now spread into other provinces in the region, as demonstrators have made their disappointment known. Despite those demonstrations however, hundreds of Chinese troops have moved into Lhasa, and reporters saw as many as 400 personal carriers moving in the region, a clear sign that China has stepped up it’s efforts to bring calm to the country.

According to the article, all foreign press have been expelled from the country, and there are no longer any direct reports coming from within the borders. At this point, we’re relying on word of mouth as to what is happening there. German journalist Georg Blume is reported to be the last westerner to leave. He says that before he left, there were police everywhere, continuing their house to house searches.

The unrest in the region has caused a number of teams that were scheduled to go to the North Side of Everest to cancel their plans altogether. ExWeb reported a few days ago that Alex Abramov’s Seven Summits Team has cancelled their 2008 expedition. There are plenty of rumors of other big teams pulling out altogether as well. Considering the unrest in Tibet, and limited access to the mountain, I can hardly blame them.

Meanwhile, in Nepal, the story is a bit different. After rumors circulated about the South Side having limited access as well, this week we got word that there wouldn’t be an limitations and that from their point of view, Everest was open for business. Today we have word that two climbing permits have been issued, one for Dhaulagiri and one for Ama Dablam. They are expected to announce more Everest news and permits later today.

They have made clear their restrictions for the mountain as well. Teams will be allowed up to Camp 2 until May 1st. Between May 1 and May 10 climbers will be required to “rest in Base Camp”. After that, it’s a free for all for the summit. This seems a bit counter to what we’d heard earlier in the week, but at least it’s clarified some.

I’m beginning to think that the North Side is going to be a lonely place this year, while the South Side will be where the party is at. After all, how else are you going to “rest” in BC for ten days?

Kraig Becker

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