Nepal Issues Record Number of Permits to Climbers Hoping to Scale Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the ultimate challenge for climbers looking to put their skills to the test. Over 6,300 individuals have reached the summit and, this year, another 463 will be attempting the feat – a record-breaking total. While exciting for those involved, experts have expressed concern over possible overcrowding at the top of the mountain, which could lead to disastrous results.
Speaking with CNN, Yubaraj Khatiwada, director of Nepal’s Tourism Department, shared that climbers from 65 countries – 96 females and 367 males – have received the go ahead to climb Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. The majority are expected to attempt the ascent during the spring, with a small amount of individuals said to be planning a less-than-favorable climb later in the year.
To ensure their success, over 1,500 Sherpas and other staff members will be stationed at base camp and along the route.
Climbing to the summit of Mount Everest is a multi-week commitment. It takes approximately two weeks to ascend to base camp, which is situated at around 17,000 feet. After spending an additional two weeks adjusting to the altitude change, they’ll head for the summit, an endeavor that takes, on average, four days.
While ascending to the top of Mount Everest has been the goal of mountain climbers for decades, it’s become even more popular over the past few years. This increased interest has resulted in traffic jams at the summit, with climbers forced to wait in an area known as the “death zone.” At over 26,200 feet above sea level, the air is too thin to survive without supplementary oxygen.
Speaking with Reuters, Garrett Madison of Madison Mountaineering said, “The challenges with more climbers on the mountain will be potential traffic jams on the climbing route, especially if the weather windows are few and far between. This can lead to climbers running out of oxygen and facing exhaustion/exposure in the ‘death zone’.”
The majority of climbers get stuck at the Hillary Step. To prevent this from happening this year, authorities plan to set up more than one rope, with Khatiwada telling CNN, “The geography we can’t change… but we are trying to manage by adding multiple ropes.”
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An American climber has already lost his life this year trying to ascend to the mountain’s summit. On May 2, it was announced that a Seattle-based former professor died while at Camp 2, approximately 21,000 feet above sea level.
According to International Mountain Guides, his death wasn’t the result of poor weather or a climbing-related incident.