Published on : Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Everest climbing has always been a dream for mountaineers. Not just reaching the summit of the world tallest peak but scaling the treacherous routes and braving the challenges with the right grip and courage is something that climbers crave for.
But are the probabilities of scaling the Everest under question? Yes, temporarily. The risks are too many as the region is still not being considered safe and the death toll in the mountain have been too much owing to the quakes.
The Nepal government is also silent as the impact of the quake has been too fierce, almost taking away words from their mouth. The country is buried in deep deluge and revival will most obviously take time.
A growing number of western climbers who are fearless despite the challenges posed by nature are determined to pursue their climbing passion. If not Nepal it will be Tibet. If the Nepal government is not committing on extending the permits of the climbers who have spent more than $110,000 (71,309 pounds) on three previous attempts to conquer Everest, then they can always choose another route to scale the mighty peak.
But if this be the trend then Nepal is out for a big miss. With tourism getting diverted and mountaineers switching routes the damage that the Nepal trekking and climbing association will receive is palpable. While the permits themselves only account for a few million dollars each year, the sector overall is worth some $340 million, and the draw of Everest plays a crucial role in the industry.
The mountain alone binds Nepal’s tourism industry and earns the maximum revenue for the country. No wonder the trekking agencies and mountaineers in Nepal are urging the government to make up its mind about what to do with this year’s permits, which cost $11,000 per climber.
At this stage where the country has been struck with a natural disaster of the worst nature, it is impossible to refund the thousands of climbers who had booked their expeditions in advance. The money is deposited in the state coffers once paid. The government is now more focused on reviving the damages of the state. Nearly 8,000 people have been killed and the number of injuries, huge. The chances of epidemics breaking out are very high as nothing remains of the states sanitation facility. These greater concerns are tormenting the government. At this point extending the climbing permit will probably save the government from unnecessary botheration.
However with the government maintaining a silent stand over the matter, after two successive setbacks on Everest, climbers are voicing their descent on how there was a chaotic response by the authorities on April 25. There seems to be disillusionment as climbers are choosing the better organised Chinese route now.
China was quick to take a decision in the north face where some 200 climbers and a similar number of Sherpa mountain guides were trekking when the region was quake hit. All climbing attempts were called off immediately. The China Tibet Mountain Association, which issues climbing permits, then moved quickly to assist expeditions to descend after the quake.
Nepal on the other hand is continuously proving to be dangerous for climbers following last year’s avalanche. Already concerned about the instability of the Khumbu icefall, a particularly dangerous section of the Nepalese ascent, many climbing agencies are shifting to Tibet. Everest avalanche killed 16 people in 2014, ending the season, Nepal eventually extended climbers’ permits, and a record number of people flocked to Everest base camp in 2015.
The Nepalese government has to come up with a quick decision. But an apprehension on scaling the Everest from Nepal has left many climbers weary. Few in the climbing community believe that disasters on Everest two seasons in a row will keep people away altogether. Indeed, for some, the danger may increase the allure.
But many have aborted their plans for as much as three times in a row. The charm of scaling the highest peak and being counted among the elite few is however a dream for most. But at present trekking companies in Nepal have yet to recover from the shock of the earthquake. With several deaths, and disaster at the base camp the industry will take time to find grounds before it is back into business.