(Newsdesk) In December Ted Atkins wrote an open letter regarding the mess surrounding Everest permits for 2015.
The situation came about following the big icefall accident on Everest south side last spring. The tragedy was turned into a political matter by a group of activist workers and the peak was closed by local guards. Officials arrived BC urging mountaineers to go on; Sherpas wishing to continue their work chimed in. Meetings were held and finally the mountain was abandoned save for a few climbers taking helis past the dismantled icefall and its manned controls.
The administrative aftermath became increasingly bizarre: Climbers were promised their climbing permits would be extended for five years. But one team lost the permit for all its members when a mountaineer reportedly summited Everest after bypassing the forced closure. A bunch of mountaineers sharing Lhotse permit with yet another climber who flew to Camp 2 risked to lose their permits as well.
Everest climbers were caught between a rock and a hard place. Those who disobeyed lost their permits. Those who complied lost their climb, along with their money in the tens of thousands of dollars.
And there were other restrictions attached to the promised extensions: Himalayan Times reported permits would only be valid if the expedition came back intact, in effect the same members of the expedition would have to climb together within the next five years, and the permit for the entire expedition would be voided once just one of them had summited.
Mark Horrel who blogged last week that Nepal may have become too expensive to climb anyway, was one of the climbers affected financially by the events last spring. Discussing the latest from the ministry, Horrel points out that the new changes hit hardest at small expeditions, lower peaks, independent climbers and even trekkers who may be forced to take guides. Horrel further compared cost with other peaks around the world.
Alan Arnette threw in his five cents recently while others point out that Everest north side comes with its own problems: the border is frequently shut due to the situation in Tibet.
Current status: following a recent meeting of officials, and only weeks before departure to Nepal, some new rules and costs have been added, while the overall climbing permit situation remains unclear.
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