The number of permits for climbing Everest is now limited

The number of permits for climbing Everest is now limited
The number of permits for climbing Everest is now limited

The peaks of Nepal, starting with Everest, should in the future be less accessible to the greatest number of people: the Supreme Court of the Himalayan country has ordered the government to limit the number of permits issued for these very popular climbs.

The carrying capacity of mountainous regions “must be respected” and an adequate maximum number of permits must be determined, ruled the highest Nepalese court, according to a summary made public this week of its decision dating from the end of April.

11,000 dollars

The Court “ordered to limit the number of climbers” on several peaks, including Everest, the highest in the world, which rises to an altitude of 8,850 meters, Deepak Bikram Mishra, a lawyer who had filed a request to this effect, as the spring climbing season begins. Nepal currently grants permits to anyone who wants to climb Everest and is willing to pay $11,000 to do so. Last year, 478 were granted, a record. “We are putting too much pressure on the mountain and we need to give it a little breathing space,” said Deepak Bikram Mishra.

This lawyer explained to AFP that the Supreme Court had thus responded to the population’s concerns regarding the protection of nature in Nepal, which is home to eight of the ten highest peaks on the planet. In addition to limiting (unspecified) the number of mountaineers, she recommended “measures for waste management and environmental preservation” in the mountains, he underlined.

This jurisdiction also calls for restrictions on the use of helicopters, which it calls to be reserved for emergency relief operations only. In recent years, these aircraft have been frequently mobilized to transport climbers to base camps and over dangerous areas.

945 climbers in 2024

Every spring, when temperatures are milder and winds generally weak, Nepal welcomes hundreds of people in search of adventure to its mountains. A massive human traffic jam on Everest in 2019 forced expedition members to wait for long hours on its slopes in very low temperatures. At least four of the 11 deaths recorded that year were attributable to overcrowding.

The president of the Nepalese Mountaineering Association, Nima Nuru Sherpa, for his part, was cautious following the announcement of the Supreme Court’s decisions, considering that they should only be implemented after an in-depth study.

“It is not yet clear what impact this will have on the (tourism) industry. We do not know on what basis the limitations will be set and how these will be distributed among the expedition organizers,” he stressed. “We should instead focus on how we can make the mountains safer,” he concluded. Nepal has issued permits to 945 climbers since the start of the year, including 403 for Everest.

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