With the controversial summit from the Tibet side by 13 year old Jordan Romero, China seems to feel enough is enough. Starting this fall, 2010, climbers must be between 18 and 60 to be issued a permit.
This was announced by the China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) who manages mountaineering in Tibet. In a report they said
In a surprising decision, CTMA said climbers applying for a permit to attempt the 8848m peak – and any other Himalayan ranges from the north or Tibet — would have to be at least 18. The Chinese authorities have imposed an upper age limit as well – 60 – which would also frustrate any further attempts to set a new record for the oldest climber from the Tibet side.
However, there does seem to be a loophole:
Though CTMA said climbers not falling in this age group would be considered if they were able to provide medical certificates showing they were fit to make the attempt, sources said Romero would continue to retain his record since the Chinese authorities would not consider anyone below 16, the minimum age for climbers in Nepal.
This week, Sherpa Pemba Dorje announced that he wanted to find a younger climber to summit in 2011 saying that all Everest records should belong to Nepalese
“Nepal is a small country and we do not get much good publicity. I want to take an 11- or 12-year-old to the summit because I think all the Everest records should be held by Nepalese people.”
He was quoted as saying they would climb from Nepal and the tourism ministry had agreed to make an exception to their 16 year-old minimum age for a Nepalese child seeking to break the American’s record.
The oldest Everest summiter was 76-year-old Bahadur Sherchan, from Nepal, on May 26, 2008. Tamae Watanabe of Japan is the oldest woman to summit at age 63 on May 16, 2002. 80 year old Former Foreign Minister of Nepal, Mr. Sailendra Kumar Upadhyaya has already announced that he wants to attempt to set the age record but has not made the effort, yet.
It will be interesting to see how this all turns out and if common sense will trump national interest. However, I feel we will see more records from young, and old, Chinese and Nepali climbers.