Mount Everest is still open after last week’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Nepal that killed thousands of people, as well as 18 climbers. Regardless, the Everest climbing season may still be done for the year, as the normal route to the top of the world’s tallest mountain was excessively damaged.
The mountain was hit with an avalanche after the quake, which destroyed the climbers’ base camp. Each of the climbers pay Nepal $11,000 to be allowed to travel up the mountain, and 357 climbers had previously registered for the privilege of trekking up its slopes.
This fact has caused the government to withhold from officially end this year’s climbing season, since climber’s payments have already been accepted. The government is now letting climbers decide for themselves if they want to risk the danger in order to travel up the mountain.
Tremors Still Being Felt at Mount Everest
Officials state that they were still feeling tiny tremors throughout the area and are unsure about whether or not the route that goes through the Khumbu ice falls area could be repaired at this time. A team called the Icefall Doctors, the people who decide the route for climbers through this area of the trek, state that it is just too dangerous to try to fix the path during the current Mount Everest climbing season.
The Ice Doctors are operated by the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, which reports that the icefall area is not stable enough to conduct the expected needed repairs. In addition, the Sherpas, who are the guides for Mount Everest climbers, are refusing to climb out of respect for other guides. Even so, the government hasn’t closed Mount Everest climbing season and are even issuing permits to new climbers to travel up the mountain.
Last year 16 Sherpas were killed. An official at the Nepal Mountaineering Dept. stated that the Sherpas did not intend to rebuild the Mount Everest route this year due to safety concerns. Usually, Sherpas aid the climbers by providing things like rope, ladders, and other gear.
In addition, the warmer weather is coming soon and the icy areas will start to melt and cause even more problems that will make it unsafe for climbers to travel up the mountain. The permits that climbers currently have for this year’s Everest climbing season will last until the end of May.
For a glimpse at what it is like to trek up a mountain, check out this film about polar explorer, Eric Larsen: