MSNBC is reporting that American Climber William Brant Holland has been dismissed from Everest after Nepali officials found a “Free Tibet” flag in his bags in Base Camp. Holland is reportedly on his way back to Kathmandu where his fate will be decided more fully. It’s quite possible he’ll receive a ban from climbing in Nepal for a number of years.
Obviously this is the first crackdown, that we’ve heard of anyway, with Nepal enforcing the rules on the South Side of Everest this season. We’ve speculated on more than one occasion here as to what would happen if someone violated the policies that were clearly set fourth by the Nepal Ministry of Tourism at the start of the season, and now we know.
For Holland, this has to be a painful and expensive lesson. He was climbing with Himalayan Guides Treks and Expeditions out of Kathmandu, and they generally charge in the neighborhood of about $20k USD, and up, for an Everest climb. You can bet that Holland won’t see one dime of that money back, nor do I think he should either. He possibly put the whole team in jeopardy with his actions, as the Ministry could have decided that if they can’t keep tabs on their clients, they shouldn’t be on the mountain at all.
The Rules of Everest this year suck. There are no two ways about it. However, if you want to climb, you have to play by the rules, and clearly Holland had plans to circumvent them. I would have applauded his audacity for unfurling the flag at the summit, I would have chided him at the same time for putting the rest of the team at risk of not being able to go up. While I think it’s a shame that Nepal has taken such stringent measures to silence and control the climbers on the South Side, I think Holland should have respected those rules and abided by them if he had hoped to climb the mountain.
The question now is, was this the last such incident we’ll see? My guess is that this will send a ripple through the BC and others will probably take things a bit more seriously now. They’ve seen the consequences first hand, and I doubt any of them want to come home.
Thanks to Carl for sending me this link. Much appreciated.