A few days back, I shared the news that Nepal was mulling over some new regulations governing climbers attempting Mt. Everest. According to various reports around the Internet –– including articles from The New York Times and Channel News Asia –– the new rules would require climbers to have completed at least one Nepali peak of 6500 meters (21,325 ft) or higher and would institute a price floor that would require operators to charge no less than $35,000 for an expedition. These regulations, which have been generally applauded by outside observers, are designed to limit the number of inexperienced mountaineers who are coming to the mountain. This past spring, inexperience was blamed for the death of at least some of the 11 people who perished on the mountain, and by weeding out some of those individuals, the hope is to reduce traffic jams and speed things along on summit day.
Of course, that all sounds well and good, but what if those new proposed regulations aren’t real? Since I posted that story on Monday, I’ve heard from a very reliable source that this just might be the case. In fact, when the news of these rules were shared with contacts inside Nepal, the response was that there has been no such proposal at all, which in true Nepali fashion only helps to confuse and cloud the situation further.
My natural inclination upon hearing that the new rules aren’t real was that of incredulity. After all, the story had been picked up by some very reputable news outlets and was even shared by the mainstream press. Surely, where there’s smoke, there is fire, right? But then I reminded myself that this is Nepal we’re talking about and it is difficult to trust anything that allegedly comes from within the government there. Over the years, there have been all kinds of proposed rules from the Ministry of Tourism for instance, but most of them don’t end up going anywhere. Perhaps this falls into that category as well, but at this point only time will tell.
Rather than pull the original story from a few days back or retract it, I thought it was best to post another article sharing this new bit of information. At this point, its unclear whether or not these rules are actually being considered or have even been proposed at all. Most of us who follow the Himalayan climbing scene of advocated for stricter regulations on climbers attempting 8000 meter peaks, and especially Everest, so any changes are long over due in some regards. For now though, we’ll just have to wait to see if there is any movement in this area, although as with all things regarding the Nepali government, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for change to come.
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