Elite Exped Clears Up Permitting Controversy

Recently, a story by The Himalayan Times stated that a team of Elite Exped climbers had illegally climbed to Camp 3 on Everest while holding a permit for Lingtren. Elite Exped’s communications team contacted ExplorersWeb to deny the accusations. They also offered a suitable explanation for the permits of the Lingtren and Lobuche climbers.

We have several packages we run at Everest, which require different permits. We have a Lobuche East Peak package which features bespoke training at EBC [Everest Base Camp]. We have a training set up at our EBC camp where clients can practice skills they will later use to climb Lobuche.

But anyone staying at Everest Base Camp needs a permit, so we obtained Lingtren permits for all the climbers in the EBC training package and Lobuche East peak climb, apart from two trekkers. We had Lingtren permits because it allows us to stay and train at EBC, and a separate [permit] for Lobuche East. Everything was done as per the regulations. The permit list [includes] the two trekkers who were not climbing Lobuche, but wanted to stay a night or two in the base camp.

Two clients from the group were originally booked to do the EBC training and climb Lobuche, but after we had organized the permits, they told us of their desire to also climb Everest.

All our permits for Everest had been filled in before, so we asked the other guiding companies if they had space on their permit application to add them on. That is why they appear on an SST Everest permit, not an Elite Exped one. This again is a common practice, and all guiding companies help each other out like this to allow for last-minute changes of plans. [It is] still in line with all regulations and guidelines.


If the climbers want to stay at EBC but not beyond, a permit for Lingtren is more cost-effective than one for the other surrounding peaks. If they had wanted to climb the Khumbu Icefall but not all the way to the summit of Everest, the climbers needed at least a Nuptse permit, as is often done. However, the Elite Exped team strongly denied that any of their none-Everest climbers set foot in the Icefall. Two clients have contacted ExplorersWeb to corroborate the company’s version. Elite Exped continued:

The training took place no more than 30-40 meters in front of our base camp. And our acclimatization hike went up to the Khumbu Viewpoint, which is a generic point for hiking and acclimatizing. All climbers on the Lingtren permit to train in EBC did not go any higher than training in the “lower Khumbu Icefall.” The whole EBC area is on the glacier and so is known as the Khumbu Icefall, even though the Icefall is a huge place and has different points higher up the glacier…

The group with Lingtren permits had a second permit for Lobuche, which they then climbed. ExplorersWeb has viewed both permits.

We genuinely do not understand where the [Himalayan Times’] report came from. Because a simply check of the permit information would prove we had done nothing wrong. THT did not reach out to us to fact check before publication, despite having our contact details. We have no idea where it has come from or why. Despite us reaching out multiple times, the story is still incorrect and we are trying to get it corrected…


As for the helicopter flight Nirmal Purja took to Base Camp, Elite Exped confirms the flight but says it was part of a rescue operation.

Nims [Purja] did fly to Camp 2 but it was for a rescue mission. Flights are sanctioned for rescues. On the morning of 19th May, it was reported that some VIP clients became unwell and needed medical attention. Nims had been due to fly to Base Camp but as he is extensively medically trained and is exped[ition] leader, it was decided he should go on the rescue mission to C2 to assess the situation.

Several were found to be in need of medical attention and so Nims flew back with them to Kathmandu the following day, on the next available rescue helicopter in the next available weather window. There is nothing ‘illegal’ about this action as rescue flights are sanctioned.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.