Remember the story of the Indian couple who faked their Everest summit last spring? It was a husband and wife duo by the name Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod who said they had reached the top of the highest mountain on Earth, only to discover later that they had faked their summit photos and never really made it above Base Camp. The two Indian police officers would later receive a 10 year ban on climbing in Nepal, and have been suspended from their jobs ever since. Now, the Nepali government is taking action against the guiding company that led them to Base Camp for also falsifying information.
According to The Himalayan Times, the Rathods were led to Everest BC by a company called Makalu Adventure, which is now being fined $4000 for submitting fake claims to the Department of Tourism in Nepal. Representatives from the company submitted falsified documents in order to obtain summit certificates for Dinesh and Tarkeshwari. But of course, the couple never reached the summit, and that had to have been known by the Sherpa guides, who first corroborated their claims, but then later backed off as the scrutiny intensified.
Under Nepal law, the government there has the right to fine Makalu Adventure as much as much as Rs 25,000, which is roughly $230. But, in this case, the DoT has elected to keep the company’s $4000 garbage deposit, which is money that guide services put down in good faith, with the idea that it will be returned to them following an expedition, provided they pack out all of their garbage.
The ruling was just made within the past few days after members of the Department of Tourism spoke with Furba and Fursemba Sherpa, who were members of the team. Those two guides have been out of contact for months, but finally were able to come forward and be interviewed about the situation. They testified that the Rathods never went above 6000 meters (19,685 ft), and therefore couldn’t have summited the mountain as they – along with Liaison Officer Ganesh Prasad Timsina and Makalu Adventure – had claimed.
Initially, representatives from Makalu Adventures blamed the Sherpas for the false reports, but that doesn’t actually seem to be the case. The entire incident has Nepali officials reviewing the country’s current laws and policies governing mountaineering, including the use of liaison officers, who have been the subject of much scrutiny recently due to the fact that most never even go to Everest Base Camp with the teams they are suppose to be working with.
The whole affair has been a messy one from the start. Hopefully now it will be put behind us and we can start thinking about the spring climbing season ahead. It isn’t as far off as you might think at this point.