the Finance Ministry approved a plan that would allow climbers to return after last year's cancelled season. But at that time, the official decision still rested with the Council of Ministers, which had yet to weigh in on the subject. Now, the decision has been made at long last, as the news was announced yesterday that the government has indeed extended those permits for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
We all know the story by now. Last year, following the massive earthquake that devastated Nepal, the Everest climbing season was cancelled, sending hundreds of climbers home before they even had a chance to set foot on the mountain. Following similar issues in 2014, the government extended the permits then, and it was expected they would do the same thing once again. That proved to be true, although it has taken government officials months to announce the plan. Now, just a few weeks before climbers set off for Nepal, the decision as been made at long last.
The decision impacts 801 climbers of which 265 were expected to climb Everest. The other mountaineers were spread out across a number of other mountains throughout the country, including other 8000-meter peaks. Those individuals can now apply to have their permits reinstated, although it could take up to two weeks to have them processed.
The current cost for an Everest climbing permit is $11,000 so you can understand why so many people were waiting anxiously for news on this decision. Now, they can move forward with future plans to climb the mountain, although many will probably wait until next year due to the short window to prepare for this season.
As you can imagine, this news has been met with sighs of relief and applause from the mountaineering community. Climbers will begin heading to Nepal at the end of March, and for many of them this news was most welcome.