Nepal Bans Indian Trio for Fake Everest Summit

Narender Singh Yadav and Seema Rani Goswami claimed that they summited Everest five years ago. It has taken a while, but the Nepalese government has finally concluded that this was not the case.

In 2016, the pair of Indian mountaineers submitted a photo of their summit in order to receive their coveted Everest summit certificates, but experienced climbers and Sherpas quickly called out the photos as fake. In the photo, Yadav’s oxygen mask is not attached to anything, the pair’s shadows fall in different directions, and in a notoriously windy spot, the flags they are holding hang limply.

The investigation began last August and concluded that the duo had only reached 8,200m, 600m short.

The expedition guide, Naba Kumar Phukon, has consistently denied that the pair summited. He told the Hindustan Times that “from day one, I am telling everyone that Yadav’s summit claim was false and he morphed his picture.”

Yadav accuses the guide himself of photoshopping the images.

As the number of climbers on Everest increases each year, so do those trying to register false summits. In an era when hundreds of guided climbers sometimes summit in a single day, the days of an Elizabeth Hawley carefully scrutinizing each would-be claim are long gone. And Nepal itself earns a lot of money from each Everest permit, so does not police claims of success very carefully.

Dozens of false reports are submitted each year. In the past, some false claimants turning their pseudo-summit into a lucrative motivational speaking career. Nowadays, in some countries, the benefits of such a claim are more direct. India bestows national awards on those with Everest summit certificates, for example. Yadav won the prestigious Tenzing Norway Adventure Award in 2020 for that climb, which includes a $6,700 cash prize. It has since been rescinded.

These awards are thought to be one of the reasons for the recent influx of climbers from India tackling Everest. Government officials sometimes even get promotions and lifelong benefits for topping Everest. An Indian couple, both police officers, who also faked a summit in 2016 were subsequently fired from their jobs when their ruse came to light.

Earlier this week, Yadav and Goswami were banned from all mountains in Nepal for 10 years, along with their guide, Phukon.