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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Restrict number of Mt Everest climbers: Maharashtra’s mountaineering body tells Nepal

Climbers face a limited weather window because of heavy crowding at the summit, says Akhil Maharashtra Giryarohan Mahasangh.

pune Updated: May 29, 2019 16:40 IST
Yogesh Joshi and Prachi Bari
Yogesh Joshi and Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Nihal Ashpak Bagwan (27), a student of physical education at Bharati Vidyapeeth, Katraj, in Pune, died of exhaustion while descending from Mount Everest on May 24, according to Nepali officials.
Nihal Ashpak Bagwan (27), a student of physical education at Bharati Vidyapeeth, Katraj, in Pune, died of exhaustion while descending from Mount Everest on May 24, according to Nepali officials.(HT PHOTO)

Akhil Maharashtra Giryarohan Mahasangh (AMGM), the apex body of mountaineer organisations in the state, has asked Nepal government to restrict the number of mountaineers climbing Mount Everest.

One climber from Pune and another from Mumbai died on Mount Everest during the current climbing season in the last one week, due to heavy crowding at the summit as climbers face a limited weather window.

The recent tragedy, according to some adventure groups, exposes greed and money, as driving force behind the summit expedition.

Umesh Zirpe, president of AMGM, said, “The federation will soon write to the Indian Embassy in Nepal, requesting it to ask Nepal tourism department ‘to bring some restrictions’ on the permits issued to mountaineers, check their qualification and provide basic rescue and medical facilities at the base camps to avoid untoward incidents during the summit.”

Majority of deaths, according to Zirpe, occurred scaling down from the peak. Exhausted climbers are often forced to wait for hours for their turn to ascend or descend on a single rope, increasing chances of breathlessness, exhaustion, frostbite or altitude sickness.

“Nepal government charges $11,000 to issue permit to climb Everest. However, while issuing these permits, the tourism department does not pay attention to how many climbers should be allowed,” said Zirpe.

The letter will also state that the authorities, should ensure the climbers have previous experience in mountaineering and have climbed a minimum of two 7,000-metre peaks. Climbers must undergo mountaineering training and be medically fit.

Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world and also known as the third pole of the world. At least 6,000 individuals have climbed to the top and each year, the number continues to grow.

On May 22, highest mountain witnessed an unprecedented situation of hordes of climbers and their sherpas walking in a long queue towards the summit. More than 200 climbers were attempting the peak that day. Along with them were there around 250 sherpas who were frightfully struggling to ensure their clients reach to the top and come back to camp 4 (7900m) safely.

Nihal Ashpak Bagwan (27), had just achieved his dream of climbing Mount Everest, but he did not live to enjoy the achievement. He died during the descent on May 23. “Bagwan attempted his first Mount Everest climb in 2017 and had to abort the summit just 400 metres away,” said one of his climbing coaches Shekhar Babu, of Transcend Adventure.

“Mountaineering is an adventure sport where one needs to be well trained with essential technical skills and physical, mental fitness. Be it a 6,000 m mountain or Everest of 8,848 m, sound health is a foundation uncompromising,” said Zirpe.

First Published: May 29, 2019 16:39 IST

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