Friday, December 3, 2021

Nepal adopting safety measures for Everest climbing season

Kathmandu, March 9 (IANS) Nepal is adopting special safety and communications measures this year for climbers attempting to scale Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, an official here said.

The move comes following the deaths of 16 Sherpa guides in 2014 in an Everest avalanche, which grabbed international attention highlighting the risk and challenges of climbing the 8,848-metre peak.

As the climbing season begins with spring, generally at the end of March, the government of Nepal has been doing necessary homework for setting up a full-time dedicated team at the Everest base camp (at 5,364 metres).

“Preparations are underway to assign a dedicated team at the base camp for effective communication with climbers,” Tulasi Prasad Gautam, director general of Nepal’s Department of Tourism, told Xinhua news agency on Monday.

The Department of Tourism, Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN), Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) and Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) will be holding a meeting by the end of this week to finalise the size of the team.

According to the plan, the team will comprise members from SPCC, Himalayan Rescue Association, the tourism ministry, and a liaison officer besides security personnel.

The Himalayan nation’s government is also paying special attention to the use of more communication devices like smartphones and satellite phones to keep climbers updated about the weather.

“The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology is conducting research for possible arrangements to place weather update devices in the area,” Keshav Bimoli, spokesperson of the Department of Tourism, told Xinhua.

In February, the route to scale the Mount Everest, which has been in use since 1990, was revised keeping in view the possible risks. According to the revised route, the climbers will not face the Khumbu Icefall, the site of last year’s deadliest disaster wherein an avalanche claimed the lives of 16 Sherpa guides.

The revised route will entail a three-hour longer trek than the previous one.

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