Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Extension of Everest Climbing Permits Clears Another Hurdle

It's no secret that the past couple of years have been tough ones on Everest. In 2014, the season was shut down after an avalanche claimed the lives of 16 porters, and last year the massive earthquake in Nepal killed 19 more people, bringing an abrupt end to operations on the mountain as well. Since then, expedition leaders and climbers have been anxiously awaiting word as to whether or not the climbing permits issued last year would be honored moving forward. A few days back, they inched a bit closer towards a resolution, with the outcome looking very positive.

Over the past weekend, it was announced that Nepal's Finance Ministry has approved a plan from the Tourism Ministry that would extend the permits issued in 2015 for two years. That would mean that climbers who purchased a permit last season could return in 2016 or 2017 to attempt Everest once again.

The proposal isn't quite a done deal yet however. It has now been sent to the Nepali governments Cabinet for final approval. It seems likely that they'll rubber-stamp the plan however, allowing mountaineers to return without having to purchase another pricey permit.

This will come as good news for climbers who weren't on Everest as well. Many mountaineers on a variety of peaks in Nepal had their expeditions disrupted or cancelled altogether in 2015, and most of those will see their permits extended too. According to reports, 801 people were issued climbing permits for mountains in Nepal last year, with 357 of those designated for Everest.

I'm sure this news will bring a sigh of relief to many climbers who have been waiting to finalize their plans. The 2016 season isn't all that far off at this point, so if they're hoping to climb this year, they still have a bit of time to get everything together before setting off for Kathmandu in a little over a month.

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