Nepal Continues to Play with Everest Climbers – Updated

Everest Alpineglow
Everest Alpineglow

In April of 2014, over 300 climbers saw their dreams of climbing Everest come short when the most deadly incident in the history of Everest brought an early end to the season. 16 mountain workers were killed from the release of an ice serac on the west shoulder of Everest onto the Khumbu Icefall.

The resulting actions taken by some in the Sherpa community resulted in an effective cancellation of the season as they refused to support the member climbers. However, one climber, Jing Wang of China flew a helicopter to camp 2 and went on to summit with a small team of Sherpas.

This tragic accident continues to have deep echoes throughout the Everest community. Operators are still adjusting prices, even with signed contracts in place with members with set prices. They are asking for more money to cover higher insurance polices for the mountain workers. Some operators are still unsure if they will switch to what is now perceived as a more politically stable north side for their spring 2015 expeditions. Others are offering climbs on both sides letting the members choose.

One large question was if and how the Nepal government would follow through on their promise made in June of 2014 to honor climber’s Everest permits for 5 years. We now have an answer. Technically thee permits will be honored but practically they have been refused. Once again, the government is showing an amazing disdain for the very people who bring millions into their economy.

As reported today in the Himalayan:

the government issued a directive last month to extend by five years all group permits that were issued to Mt Everest expeditions during the last spring season. This effectively means that the same members of the expedition will have to scale Mt Everest together within the next five years. If even one member of an expedition scales the mountain, permits of others will be cancelled.

This is an amazing twist on what should have been a simple gesture. It is practically impossible for the exact same people to come together under the same guide service. This is as absurd as the Nepal government saying Everest was “open” when the icefall was not being safely maintained last spring. However, when Jing Wang summited, albeit using helicopter assistance, the government proudly declared Everest was open in spite of initially chastising her for “illegally” using a helicopter. Later they gave her an award as they took her $30,000 “gift” for schools in Kathmandu.

So, the net effect will be that anyone who had bought a permit for $10,000 for a spring 2014 Everest expedition will be forced to a new permit that now costs $11,000 if they want to attempt Everest from Nepal.

On a slightly more pleasant note, a new company has announced WIFI service throughout the Khumbu including at Everest Base Camp.

EverestLink announced:

Everest Link is a fixed-wireless access service to the Internet. We operate our own wireless network. It is versatile, reliable and scalable. Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Kathmandu. We offer our services in Lukla, Phakding, Monju, Sewangma, Namche,Thame, Tengboche, Pangboche, Dingboche, Pheriche, Lobuche, Gorekshep, Phortse, Dole, Macharmo, Gokyo, Shyangboche, Chomay go, Tawoche ri, Lobuche ri, Everest BC, Phanga ri, Thaknak ri and more in some areas.

Access is available as low as US$2.33 a day. It will be interesting to see if this new system really works as thousands of climbers, support staff, mountain workers and trekkers gather next spring. Personally I would still carry a satellite phone as communicating back home to friends and family plus getting reliable weather reports are important to me.


Update Nov 19, 2014

Nepal reverses the crazy Everest 2014 team requirement permit policy that required original team to climb together if they wanted to use their permit. Now individuals can use their 2014 permit once until 2019. Excellent decision by Nepal and puts them on a good track of respecting the customer. source


Climb On!







Share this post:

19 thoughts on “Nepal Continues to Play with Everest Climbers – Updated

  1. Thanks for your up date Alan. I have two friends who are caught up in this Everest problem and found the permit offer just plain ridiculous. The update re permits has given them a glimmer of hope for 2015 and 2016. Cheers Kate

  2. I really don’t like the fact of “copyrighting of Everest by Nepal Govt.”. Seems that Nepal Govt. is making full advantage of ‘owning’ the entry to world’s highest mountain. They are not only getting irresponsible to the sherpas, but also playing with the dream of many climbers. Thanks Alan for this post.

    1. Thanks to the government? You must be kidding! If they hadn’t “given” the permit extension in the first place, maybe there wouldn’t have been a… cancellation. Telling people, before the final decision, they could come back opened the door to the cancellation. Were you there, on Everest, on April 18th 2014?

  3. The new permit “twist” is absurd. Those people just threw away a bunch of money in 2014 and Nepal doesn’t give a $&#@^.

  4. I wondered if anyone knows if there are moves afoot to create a route from the Nepal side whilst avoiding the Icefall? Whilst it wouldn’t eliminate all of the danger it would seem to eliminate the most dangerous part of the mountain.

    1. Hi Peter, yes there is talk of moving the route far south and away from the west shoulder of Everest. It would make the climb t C1 several hours longer and more physical but in theory would be safer. Personally I don’t expect it to happen but I do think the route will be moved, how much is to be based on current conditions.

  5. Thanks Alan for the up to date report. Apart from the confusion, I expect more climbers will go to the North side in Tibet – this of course could mean over crowding on the North side which is what the Nepal side has had many problems with. This is a shame for climbers who have only ever wanted to climb the Tibetan North side, may now find that the over crowding problem will make it more difficult. I always thought climbing from the Tibetan side is more difficult than the South so perhaps there will not be too many of the people just wanting to climb Everest without having too much climbing experience and just want to do it to for their own commercial reasons. The Nepal side of course has the most difficult part of Everest, the Khumbu ice fall, because it is unstable and dangerous, as we all know too well, and am guessing that it will always be unstable. I can only hope also that people on the South side will not “jump” to Camp 2 by other means such as heliciptors. That is not the way to climb this great mountain.

      1. John, yes. But with the recent “progress” between the US and China at the APAC meeting, I hope the political volleyball will stop with respect to Everest.

        1. We can only hope so, but I wouldn’t want the people of the khumbu region to suffer because of less tourism, if it wasn’t for the climbers/Trekkers then I could see the locals suffering

  6. Alan,

    Thanks for posting this article. The way I read it is first-come, first-served. Those who delay in their return (with the same expedition) forfeit their permit fees. I see this is a ploy for them to cash in again on the climbers – nothing new for a corrupt government. Climbers who cannot or do not put Everest as their number one priority pay a steep fee. ‘Tis a shame it has come to this extreme stance but I can’t say I was surprised. I thought the situation sorted out too nicely to actually be believable. Perhaps the Tibet side offers us a more welcoming approach with fewer problems? I remain unsure but resolute to try the Nepal side if they honor my 2014 permit.

  7. is the nelapese govt nepotistic? when will they appoint some experienced sherpa climbers to positions of power to enact sensible laws for all? problem is theres too many people with too much money to burn, almost doesnt matter what the govt do. every year they continue to rake in too much money from the cash cow that is the himalayas

  8. Thanks Alan for the bad news on our hard earned money. I must admit that I am not surprised by any of this. They are truly doing what they can to kill their Golden Goose. People will go where they feel welcome and perceive the risks to be lower and that will drive many climbers to Tibet, further damaging an already fragile economy run by shortsighted, inept and crooked politicians. How sad for both the climbers and the country. This is a lose-lose decision. I wonder if there is any way to persuade them to rethink this?

Comments are closed.