Nepal Proposes Banning Climbers Over 50 From Everest

climbers-on-the-yellow-band

Climbers passing the Yellow Band on Mount Everest | Image Credit: Loyd Smyth | License

If you’re over 50, you might want to cross “climbing Everest” off your bucket list of things to do. The governments of Nepal and Bengal have proposed new rules that will limit access to the mountain from climbers over 50 and novice climbers, however, new talks say the age limit has been increased to 75. While most understand the Nepalese and Bengalese Governments’ reasons for wanting to limit the amount of climbers on Everest, most mountaineers and alpine experts doubt the restrictions will pass for a few reasons. According to their proposal:

Climbers over 75 years of age are banned from climbing above Everest Base Camp

First, there are mountaineers who are 75 years of age who can outclimb modern mountaineers in their 20s, without supplemental oxygen to add. These guys are from the old school, and there’s just no way to determine if a 75-year-old climber can make it to the top or not. There was a proposal to ban climbers over 50 from climbing past Everest Base Camp; that means mountaineering legends like Ed Viesturs, 57, and David Breashears, 61,  would be considered ineligible! We all know these two can outclimb any of us. So, the idea of the age limit restriction seems a difficult one and one that has never been able to stick in the past.

Climbers below 18 years of age are banned from climbing above Everest Base Camp

It’s hard to say whether anyone will disagree with this one, but it seems a safe bet that this might not be a bad idea unless you’re a child born for climbing, and you’re not 18 yet.

Climbers with no experience climbing over 22,325 ft (6,500 m) are banned from climbing above Everest Base Camp

Secondly, there isn’t an international government in place to manage or record the climbing accomplishments of mountaineers, in other words, there is no way for these two governments to begin to prove whether or not a climber has scaled a 6,000 m peak before. Even if they have, there would need to be criteria in place to designate whether or not certain 6,000+ m peaks meet the standard. For example, a climber who scales Aconcagua for the first time may not be ready for Everest, as Aconcagua is not a very technical climb, to begin with. When compared to a peak like Denali, the skills needed on Aconcagua fall far short of the ones needed on Everest, even though Everest’s status as the highest mountain on Earth also doesn’t make it a very technical climb either.

Climbers with physical disabilities are banned from climbing above Everest Base Camp

Finally, a person’s physical disabilities have been proven to not affect some climbers’ ability to scale the mountain, on Everest alone, amputees, asthmatics and diabetics have all successfully summitted the mountain while fully healthy climbers perish. There’s really no way to judge whether or not a person with a physical disability can make the cut, so, that restriction will be hard to pass.

In the end, we all know that the commercialization of Everest has exceeded the recommended scale – overcrowding causes bottlenecks, excessive human waste and leftover garbage and plenty of disputes. With the same commercialized expedition companies arriving each year, the in between climbers, those going it alone or in a private group, have to share scarce summit bid days with a load of other climbers and vice versa.

Ideally, the restriction should be “first come-first serve” up to a set cap on the number of bodies on the mountain attempting a summit bid, because remember, now, commercialization no longer stops at a summit assault. There are expeditions that take climbers only as far as Everest Base Camp, up the Khumbu Icefall or to Advanced Base Camp. However, since the majority of Nepal’s funds come from the sale of mountaineering permits, the issue becomes murky when “first come” only carries half the money as “last come.” Nepal is then left to weed out the crowd

However, since the majority of Nepal’s funds come from the sale of mountaineering permits, the issue becomes murky when “first come” only carries half the money as “last come.” Nepal is then left to weed out the crowd in between, using restrictions like the ones being considered here.

Whether or not these restrictions will stick is unknown, and even if they do, if Nepal’s record on restrictions is an indicator, they’ll last at most two to three expedition years or seasons.


Sources:

Johanson, Mark. “Nepal Looks to Restrict Climbing on Everest, But Do the New Rules Make Sense?” Men’s Journal. Men’s Journal, 30 Sept. 2015. Web. 16 Jan. 2017. <http://www.mensjournal.com/adventure/collection/nepal-looks-to-restrict-climbing-on-everest-but-do-the-new-rules-make-sense-20150930&gt;.

Connor, Neil. “Nepal Proposes barring Amateurs from Climbing Mount Everest.” Business Insider. Business Insider, 29 Sept. 2015. Web. 16 Jan. 2017. <http://www.businessinsider.com/nepal-bans-amateurs-from-climbing-everest-2015-9&gt;.

Burke, Jason. “Mount Everest to Be Declared Off-limits to Inexperienced Climbers.”The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 28 Sept. 2015. Web. 16 Jan. 2017. <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/28/mount-everest-to-be-declared-off-limits-to-inexperienced-climbers&gt;.

2 responses to “Nepal Proposes Banning Climbers Over 50 From Everest

  1. Pingback: Man Nearly Killed on Everest for Dodging $11,000 Permit. | Base Camp Magazine·

  2. Pingback: Editor’s Note: Get to Know the Editor of BCM | Base Camp Magazine·

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