Nepal has issued a record 454 permits to climb Mount Everest this spring, officials said Monday. He comes four years after at least four of his deaths on the world’s highest peaks were attributed to overcrowding.
“This is the maximum number of permits issued by the agency to climb Mount Everest,” Bijan Koirala, director of the tourism board, told AFP, adding that the number could go up.
More than 900 climbers will make it to the summit in the coming weeks, with most of these climbers attempting to reach the summit with the help of Nepalese guides.
This can lead to traffic jams and bottlenecks en route to the summit when the window period for reaching the summit is shortened due to bad weather.
In 2019, massive queues on Everest forced teams to wait for hours in freezing temperatures, reducing oxygen levels and potentially leading to illness and fatigue.
At least four of the 11 deaths that year were due to overcrowding.
This season, China had the highest number of climbers with climbing permits (96), followed by the United States (87).
Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told AFP that the high number of climbers this season is a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic, which has prevented many climbers from traveling to Nepal in recent years. He said.
Additionally, new regulations on the Chinese side of Everest (climbers must first climb another 8,000-meter peak) have sent more Chinese to Nepal.
A team of professional climbers are currently preparing the route to Everest and have already secured ropes to Camp IV at an altitude of 7,924 meters (25,997 feet).
Sherpa said the recent snowfall has increased the risk of avalanches occurring in the mountains.
“Normally, we have snowfall during the winter months, but recently we have had snowfall in the spring. The fresh snow remains soft, increasing the risk of avalanches,” said Sherpa.
On April 12, three Nepali climbers went missing while trying to cross the dangerous Khumbu Icefall.
Nepal is home to 8 of the world’s 10 highest peaks, and the foreign climbers who flock to them are a major source of income for the country.
The government has collected a total of $4.86 million from Everest permits, charging $11,000 per foreign climber.