Nepal mulls ban on foreigners climbing alone on Everest

KATHMANDU (tip): Nepal is considering banning foreign climbers from scaling Mount Everest alone in a bid to reduce accidents on the world’s highest peak, an industry official said March 26 Solo climbers would be forced to take a local guide up the mountain amid concerns of safety, overcrowding and piles of rubbish on the “roof of the world,” the president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said.

The proposed ban is likely to anger elite solo mountaineers, who enjoy the challenge of climbing alone, even eschewing bottled oxygen, and who blame a huge influx of commercial expeditions for littering the peak. The proposal is one of a string of measures being flagged ahead of the start of the climbing season in late April, and comes 12 months after a brawl on the mountain between three European climbers and local guides.

“We are considering making it compulsory for individual foreign climbers to take along a local guide when they go to Everest, to reduce risks and prevent accidents,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, whose association represents tourism promoters. “Most of the accidents that take place on Everest involve mountaineers from abroad who don’t use local guides,” Sherpa told AFP. Sherpa said the guides would also help climbers carry down garbage in line with new rules requiring each mountaineer to bring back eight kilograms (17.6 pounds) of rubbish from the mountain.

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