Nepal Eases Quarantine Rules, Climbers Prep for Everest, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri

8000ers Everest Himalaya
Pakistani climber Sirbaz Khan's sunglasses mirror the north side of Annapurna. Photo: Kanran On Bike

For 8,000m hopefuls, the climbing starts soon; for trekkers, an easier visit to Nepal

It’s (finally) official! Foreigners entering Nepal will not have to quarantine as long as they show a vaccination certificate and a negative PCR test when they arrive.

Not so fast, though: They also have to take a second test at their own expense and stay in their hotel until the result. Guided tours also need an insurance policy covering COVID cases.

Annapurna Base Camp. Photo: KamranOnBike

The visa-on-arrival services have also resumed, sparing visitors the fuss of applying in advance at one of Nepal’s embassies. Travelers submit all paperwork (PCR results, recommendation letter, proof of hotel booking, and insurance policy) at the airline counter before boarding. Such measures, listed by The Kathmandu Post, are expected to attract casual tourists and trekkers, whose numbers have plummeted.

Mountaineers continue to flock to Nepal for the pre-monsoon season. Yesterday, the Tourism Department issued the first Everest permits, covering the entire 16-member Bahraini team. Prince Mohamed Hamad al-Khalifa and his personal guard/climbing partners have finished trekking and distributing vaccines in the Manaslu area. They head for the Khumbu in a few days.

Permits Issued for Nepal’s 8,000’ers so far. Shared by Everest Today

Foreigners will start arriving at Everest Base Camp in about two weeks, while many have already settled into Annapurna BC. Six international teams (sharing three 15-person permits) are already wandering Annapurna’s lower slopes, in improving weather.

Tomorrow, Sherpas will hold a puja ceremony, then start fixing the route to Camp 1. Two Pakistani climbers, Sirbaz Khan and Abdul Joshi, will go up with them, intending to spend their first night in Camp 1 at 5,500m.

The sheer north face of Annapurna dwarfs three Pakistani climbers. Photo: KamranonBike

Antonios Sykaris reports that the team flew by helicopter to Base Camp. “It’s free, so jump in and don’t say anything,” he was told. Apparently, Seven Summit Treks has used many helicopter runs to supply Base Camp. The flight took them 13 minutes instead of three days of trekking. However, some members, including Sykaris’s partner Kalliope Koni, passed a bad night because of the cold and lack of acclimatization.

Kalliope Koni and Antonios Sykaris received a cold welcome at Annapurna Base Camp. Photo: Antonios Sykaris

Dhaulagiri teams continue their acclimatization treks, mainly in the Khumbu. Horia Colibasanu and Marius Gane were in Dingboche (4,400m) yesterday. “In the next days, we’ll reach about 5,600m and sleep at 5,000m,” Colibasanu said. “Everything is going exactly as planned.”

Horia Colibasanu (left) and Marius Gane of Romania acclimatize in the Everest region as prep for Dhaulagiri. Photo: Horia Colibasanu

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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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