Nepal bans novice climbers from Everest

2:04 p.m. on October 2, 2015 (EDT)
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http://www.ksl.com/?sid=36732771&nid=235&fm=home_page&s_cid=toppick3

safety and environmental impact cited as the causes.  i can't imagine the companies that guide people on Everest are happy.  I suppose more people will try to claim they aren't really a "novice."  apparently, they are trying to weed people out by requiring that they climb at least one other peak at least 6,500 feet.  so Elbrus or Denali wouldn't be enough, but Aconcagua would.  

3:07 p.m. on October 2, 2015 (EDT)
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Hmmmm.... Aconcagua acceptable, but not Denali? Of mountains I have climbed, Denali and Vinson are far more challenging than Aconcagua and require much more experience.

I think you mean 6500 meters, not feet. The article gives the "feet" as 21,325, Denali is 20,320 ft  (or 20,237 according to the newest survey) and Aconcagua is 6961 m/22,837ft.

I lost interest  in Everest many years ago when it became such a crowded zoo. There are a lot more interesting peaks around.

7:40 p.m. on October 2, 2015 (EDT)
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Finally.

8:50 p.m. on October 2, 2015 (EDT)
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The secretary of Nepal's Ministry of Tourism says,

"We must maintain the glory of Everest climbing." 

And yet they allow helicopters to fly to the top of Everest and do prolific high altitude rescues along with 3 to 4 trips daily to base camp.

Helicopters alone have ruined the Everest experience, in my opinion.

And then there's the elitism of paid clients outsourcing the risk to sherpas, at least according to veteran climber Grayson Schaffer.

Some solutions:

**  No guided tours.  If Messner can do it solo without oxygen, so can everyone else.  Or not try.

**  All climbers (non-sherpas) must carry their own oxygen and ropes and packs and all gear, and must set out their own rope lines.

**  All climbers therefore must make as many trips up the mountain as the sherpas, and therefore not outsource the risk to sherpas.

3:38 a.m. on October 4, 2015 (EDT)
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Good luck with these regulations...

One reason so many are allowed on the hill is Everest puts food on a lot of tables.  I don't see Nepal turning away the cash and jobs these activities generate.  I think the Sherpa would rather risk climbing than the economic alternatives, after all they already are doing this.  I don't think  the multitudes employed in ancillary activities such as transportation and hospitality will be happy losing their jobs.  I don't see a surge in accidents resulting from inept, unguided expeditions doing anything for the glory of Everest.  I don't think those Hillary wannabes with Everest Bucket List Fever will be content being forced to settle for a base camp vacation.

It already costs a bunch to take a summit vacation; something tells me these folks will find whatever additional money it takes to make the Nepalese government keep the mountain open for tuna intent on crossing this item off their vanity to-do list.  Furthermore there are routes to the summit approached from other nations' territories, so Nepal's restrictions only impact its own people and economy.  India has demonstrated the same disregard for those on the mountain, allowing other, significantly more dangerous climbing venues to become over crowded, resulting in similar multiple death tragedies.  Thus I don't think India will follow Nepal's lead and restrict access to Everest in a similar manner.  And China?  We all know human welfare takes a back seat to money as far as that culture goes.

In the end tuna will beg for a solution, while the unemployed Sherpa will demand Nepal make this unemployment problem go away.  So money will talk, the tuna will walk, and the Sherpa will be back in business, as usual.

Ed

11:40 a.m. on October 4, 2015 (EDT)
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Ed is right that the Nepalese government will find a way to continue the expeditions. The Base Camp and other "trekker" expeditions will continue (there have been fatalities on the treks as well, along with on the "Trekking peaks").

But Ed leaves off one thing - the Sherpa and other local guides (not all the guides on Everest and the other Himalayan peaks are Sherpa, which is a specific ethnic group) have been complaining for years about the money going into the pockets of the government with little of it making its way to the guides and porters. The Nepalese government, like many 3rd world governments, is full of corruption. According to a Sherpa friend of mine, only a few hundred dollars at most of the $60,000 that is the fee collected by the government per climber makes it into the pocket of the individual guide or porter. The avalanche in 2014 did prompt an increase (huge percentage-wise, still small amount of money) in the insurance policy for each guide and porter to go to the families of guides and porters injured or killed. By contrast, the amount of insurance that California requires me to carry to drive my car is huge. Yes, cost of living in Nepal is much less than in California, but the pay and insurance for the guides and porters is tiny even considering the lower cost of living.

12:02 a.m. on October 13, 2015 (EDT)
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Bill S said:

..the Sherpa and other local guides.. ..have been complaining for years about the money going into the pockets of the government with little of it making its way to the guides and porters.

Very true.  True with guiding everywhere in the third world.  True of guiding in general.  Most guides I have talked to live frugal lives, else have second jobs, even during the season.

Ed

3:33 p.m. on November 25, 2015 (EST)
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How does elevation determine level of expertise or preparedness? Other than knowing how you respond to altitude, which can change from trip to trip even for experienced high altitude climbers, there's no correlation between experience at altitude with alpine skills. What if a complete novice takes a guided trip up the relatively simple climb/trek of aconcagua? Now they suddenly know more or have more skills than an alpinist who hasn't been that high?

Also I think the idea that the only people climbing are the ultra rich and inexperienced is a tired one. People refinance their homes, work their whole lives, as well as work very hard physically to prepare for lifetime trips like this. People can make bad choices at altitude that get them into serious trouble, regardless of experience. We've seen that over and over with experienced climbers and guides.

 

Tipi - unfortunately everyone can't do it without oxygen. There are very few people with the genetic advantage that allows their body to handle that level of oxygen safely, and most of those people are probably not mountaineers. It doesn't make a climber weak for using oxygen; just warmer, able to think more clearly, and move more quickly. Even with it many people fail.

 

I agree that to be a more pure climbing experience the climbers can carry more of their own gear, but to suggest that every person sets their own rope would be such a dangerous cluster. Why not have non-sherpa guides set the route?

 

 

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