Mount Everest: New Regulations and “Government Mechanism” to Police Mountain
The Nepalese government has announced that Mount Everest will now be monitored by a "government mechanism," which will police the world's highest peak from base camp.
The Nepalese government has announced that Mount Everest will now be monitored by a “government mechanism,” which will police the world’s highest peak from base camp. Purna Chandra Bhattarai–chief of the tourism industry division that monitors mountaineering in Nepal–recently told the BBC, “a permanent government mechanism at the Everest base camp… [will] regulate mountaineering activities.” The “Integrated Service Center,” as Bhattarai referred to the new mountain regulators, will take the place of liaison officers who rarely traveled with expeditions into the field. The liaison officers’ jobs of checking climbing permits and validating ascents of Everest will now be performed by the Integrated Service Center. “Up until now, the information whether someone made it to the summit took time to reach us in Kathmandu while the rest of the world knew about it first through the media,” Bhattarai told the BBC. “That will change now.”
Other new regulations will also be enforced by the new government institution. For example, helicopter travel will now be restricted to rescue missions only. “[T]he vibrations and even the sound can cause the snow to fall, endangering lives of other climbers,” reported Bhattarai. Also, any climber that plans to set a new record on Everest will now be required to announce their plans first to the integrated team on the mountain. In the past, plans to set “bizarre” records such as taking off all clothes on the summit or standing on one’s head on Everest, went unannounced by the climbers despite a previous regulation that required climbers to divulge these plans to the tourism ministry. Now, however, any record-setting plans will be discussed by the climbers and the integrated team before their ascents. But expedition leaders and others have openly questioned the Integrated Service Center’s ability to monitor any actions above Everest’s base camp. President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, Zimba Zangbu Sherpa, told the BBC, “If climbers still violate the rules, the administration will not be able to stop them because the officials at base camp cannot be expected to reach the summit every now and then.” However, the Nepalese government now states that the team members stationed at base camp will also be required to access higher points on the mountain if need be.
The team members will also have legal authority on Everest, which is a direct response to the brawl that occurred on Everest earlier this year. As previously reported by Rock and Ice, the European climbers Simone Moro, Ueli Steck and Jonathan Griffith were attacked by roughly 100 Sherpas at Camp 2 on Everest this past April. The western climbers were on an unsupported ascent of the mountain when their paths crossed with Sherpas fixing lines above Camp 2 for other climbers. After a dispute over icefall that Sherpas said was caused by Moro, Steck and Griffith as they crossed the Sherpas’ ropes, a violent altercation ensued in which the European climbers were physically assaulted and threatened with murder if they didn’t leave the mountain. The Nepalese government hopes to avoid future incidents such as this high-altitude brawl by having the Integrated Service Center stationed at Everest’s base camp.