Thursday, June 13, 2019

Congestion alone did not kill climbers on Mt Everest: government

Nepal government today claimed that a large number of deaths of climbers on the Mt Everest this season is not solely due to the ‘traffic jam’ on the highest peak of the world.
Factors like high altitude sickness, other health reasons and adverse weather are some of the causes for a large number of deaths on the highest peak of the world, according to director general of the Department of Tourism (DoT) Dandu Raj Ghimire.
The number of deaths on Mt Everest has made the sensational headlines since 2015. Though, tourism ministry claimed that death toll reached only 9, the international media reported it to be 11. “Four Indians died on the 8,848-metres high Mt Everest and two each died on Mt Kangchenjunga and Mt Makalu, bringing the total death toll of Indian climbers in the Himalayas to 8,” he said, adding that the government should check the wrong information.
A 'Traffic jam' occurs when many climbers vie for the summit at the same time, and can be especially dangerous above 8,000 metres known as the 'death zone'. The department – issuing a press note – has been facing criticism for issuing too many permits to scale Mt Everest while disregarding the safety of the climbers.”
The department – in its statement – said that it had issued 366 expedition permits in 2017 and 346 expedition permits in 2018 - not a huge difference compared to 381 permits issued this year for the highest peak. “It untrue that congestion killed climbers on Mt Everest and we urge everyone not to be swayed by false information," the statement reads.
“Such false news tarnishes our image and affects our mountaineering sector,” he added.
According to the department, more than 200 mountaineers have died on the peak since 1922, when the first climbers' deaths on Mt Everest were recorded. The majority of bodies, however, are believed to have remained buried under glaciers or snow. Five people died on Mt Everest in 2018.
In 2016 and 2017, the world's tallest peak claimed lives of six and five climbers respectively.
In 2015, quake-triggered avalanches killed 20 climbers.
According to the department, more than 4,400 people have scaled the highest peak of the world since Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first conquered the mountain in 1953.
The government has yesterday formed a five-member panel to review and recommend policies to reform the mountaineering sector.

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