The Nepal government announced this week it would set up a permanent government team at the base camp of Mount Everest which observers believe is a first step towards the tightening of regulations around the number of climbers on the mountain, and what they do on it.
UIAA Honorary member Ang Tshering, the immediate past president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association which helped recommended the new rules also hopes it will limit the quest for “bizarre records” on the mountain by making climbers announce beforehand what record they intend to set.
The government presence should also improve safety and moderate more extreme behavoir such as a recent high altitude brawl on Mount Everest which made headlines.
Ang Tshering says here:
“We have had many examples in the past when climbers did not share their plan to set a record beforehand and they made the record claims only after they reached the summit.
“These days we see people trying to make bizarre records like, for instance, standing on their head or taking off their clothes while on the summit. These behaviours don’t bode well for the dignity of Everest, which is a global icon. And now the integrated team will make sure that expedition teams inform them beforehand if they intend to make a new record. The team will then let the climbers know whether the planned record-making effort falls within stipulated criteria set by the government.
Purna Chandra Bhattarai, chief of the tourism industry division that oversees mountaineering says in the same article:
“A need for a permanent government mechanism at the Everest base camp… [will] regulate mountaineering activities … The Integrated Service Centre will also facilitate climbers by offering them communication and safety related services.”
Surendra Sapkota, Under Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, responsible for the trekking and the mountains is quoted in another report which states that the government wants to identify new peaks to open for climbing, to add to the 326 already open, and reduce pollution at Everest and other peaks.
“Our plan is to put a team of government officials at the Everest base camp, including security officials and doctors. We will also double the insurance for support staff, Nepalis, mostly Sherpas, who help the climbers at the base camps.”