Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Himalaya Fall 2016: More Nepali Peaks Climbed Without Permits

Last week I posted the story of American climber Sean Burch, who is under investigation in Nepal for climbing as many as 31 peaks without obtaining a permit first. It turns out, he may not be the only one who has thumbed his nose at authority in the Himalayan country. Today we have word that three Spaniards have also made first ascents of two mountains there without first obtaining permits as well.

According to The Himalayan Times, Santi Padrós, Oriol Baro and Roger Cararach claim to have summited Mt Karyolung (6530m/21,423 ft) and Mt Numbur (6958m/22,828 ft) earlier this month without government permission. The three men reportedly organized and planned the expedition completely independently, and were doing so in honor of a fallen comrade. They dedicated the two ascents to Domen Kastelic, a Slovenian climber who perished on Mont Blanc recently.

Unfortunately, as Burch has learned, climbing a mountain in Nepal without the proper permits is a serious offense, and officials there are now investigating the trio's claims. If they are found to have violated the laws, the three men will face a ten year ban from climbing in Nepal, and a substantial fine. The law stipulates that anyone climbing without a permit must pay "a fine equal to twice the royalty fixed for Mt Everest." The cost for climbing Everest currently stands at $11,000.

While Everest is obviously the crown jewel for climbing in Nepal, obtaining permits for smaller mountains below 7000 meters (22,965 ft) cost just $700 apiece. Expeditions are also generally required to have an assigned liaison officer as well, and are encouraged to employ high-altitude porters, although some independent teams go it completely alone.

According to The Times, all three of the climbers made it to the summit of Karyolung back on October 31, but Padrós says he topped out on Numbur on his own. Both mountains were climbed along completely new routes, as the team said they were looking to explore the region and scout it for potential new climbs in the future. Instead, they decided to summit a couple of mountains while they were in the area as well.

What exactly will happen to these three men remains to be seen, but one thing is certain. Nepali officials don't like to not get paid, so it seems likely they'll face that impending fine and suspension. The government isn't going to take these kinds of reports lightly, and will probably make examples of them to prevent future incidences as well.

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