Kathmandu: Expeditions to Mount Everest this spring in Nepal have come to a standstill as local Sherpa guides and foreign climbers began to descend from the base camp of the world’s highest peak, stakeholders said.
After one of the deadliest avalanches in the Everest region left 13 Sherpa guides dead and three others missing, entrepreneurs had been in a dilemma whether to resume the mountaineering activities this season.
“There are 48 groups going back. Everyone needs a high level of support to climb Everest,” an official with Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) told Xinhua from the base camp by phone.
“Boycott by Sherpas and fresh avalanches in the region have dashed hopes of any group reaching the summit this year,” he added.
Shangrila Nepal, Himalayan Guides, Nepal Treks and Expedition, Nepal Trekking and Himalayan Treks and Expedition — the major mountaineering package sellers in Nepal — said they were preparing to cancel the expeditions while some of them have already called back their climbers.
“With yet another avalanche in the same region and tragedy faced by the Sherpa community, there is no mood amonthe local guides and other technical men to continue the expeditions,” Ang Kaji Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), the umbrella organisation for people involved in mountaineering activities, said Monday.
Professional organisations, including NMA, said more than 175 guides, technical men and climbers have already returned from the base camp.
Nepal tourism ministry’s records show that Everest expeditions were last closed down in 1987 and that was because of bad weather. The ministry has so far not made any formal decision in this regard.
The government has also extended the expedition permission by five years which means that those reluctant to scale Everest this year can climb the highest peak any time within the coming five years while they were also allowed to scale other mountains in the country by getting approval from the ministry.
In all, 335 mountaineers from 41 countries had received approval from the tourism ministry to scale Everest this spring by paying royalty to the Nepali government.