Nepal Changes Its Mind Again

COVID-19 Himalaya
Making last-minute plans for the Khumbu? Better think twice. Photo: Felix Berg

Just hours after Nepal announced that as of October 17, it would waive the mandatory quarantine imposed on foreigners, authorities changed their minds and delayed the country’s tentative opening date to November 17, according to the Kathmandu Post. The sudden volte-face was apparently due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

The rise of COVID-19 cases in Nepal, according to Johns Hopkins University.

This news is crushing to local and international tour operators, who had jumped to offer treks and climbs starting as soon as next week, based on the previous encouraging news.

Even if Nepal actually opens in a month — no guarantee, as we’ve seen — mid-November may be too late. Not everyone will want to trek and especially climb so late in the season, when days are shorter, temperatures almost wintry and storms likely.

But mainly, the continuing uncertainty is too great to arrange solid climbing plans, especially amid rumors of new lockdowns on the horizon. No one wants a repeat of last March, when hundreds of trekkers and climbers were trapped in Kathmandu for weeks.

Thanks to reader Damien Francois for alerting us to this news.

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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