Problem of human traffic jam at Mount Everest should be resolved

Highest mountains of Nepal have been attracting people from all over the world for the past many decades. Nepal has been considered as a heaven for mountaineering as it is home to eight of the world’s 13 mountains above 8000 meters including Mount Everest.

Author : Purna Hari Amatya

People have been visiting Nepal for the past many decades to scale the attractive mountains even keeping their life at risk.

Foreigners were unaware about the highest mountains of Nepal before May 29, 1953. Nepal became popular in the world as the home of mountains after Tenzing Sherpa and Edmund Hillary set foot on the Mount Everest for the first time in May 29, 1953.

Mount Everest and other highest mountains are the icons of Nepal that are renowned in the world. Many people had also tried to summit the Mount Everest before Tenzing Sherpa and Edmund Hillary. A team led by English mountaineer George Mallory in 1924. The team of Mallory had successfully climbed the Mount Everest. But he died on his descent from the summit while his climbing partner Andrew Irvine died on the Everest. Royal Geographical Society (British Organization) formally announced its first Everest expedition in January, 1921 and also found an appropriate way for the expedition from the northern side after carrying out monitoring around the peak. The team, which had started the expedition to the Mount Everest, had used oxygen to avoid experiencing altitude sickness when attempting the summit. Mallory lost his life for not using the oxygen while seven Sherpas lost their life in the avalanche in North Col.

Mount Everest is situated in a difficult place. Late Dr Harka Gurung, a student of mountaineering history, had said, “In our common view, it is crazy to climb to the mountains by keeping the life at risk. But our definition will be proved limited in comparison to the prosperous society. We have been struggling to live our life. But people in the developed countries like adventure in their life. They will look for adventure after their life is fulfilled by materialistic things. They travel all around the world as tourists to get away from the chain of modernism.”

“Expedition is a cultural form of the desire of people to escape the mundane life. Mountain is the most sacred organ of the world where clouds play hide and seek, and where earth meets the sky,” he said. As told by Gurung, mountaineer Maurice Herzog from France, one of the developed countries of the world, had come to Nepal in 1950 and successfully climbed Mount Annapurna. Later, he published a book in French language related to mountaineering. He had described about Nepal and the beauty of mountains in that book. After publishing the book, leader Charles de Gaulle gave him the responsibility of Ministry of Youth and Sports honoring his love towards mountaineering.

Mountaineering tourism is very important for the economic development of the country. It will create different kinds of job opportunities for the people of mountain region. Especially, Sagarmatha National Park and Annapurna Conservation Area are very popular destinations among the foreign tourists. Both expedition and trekking can be done in Sagarmatha while trekking can only be done in Annapurna Conservation Area. The government had collected Rs 500 million and Rs 300 million royalty during the spring and autumn season respectively from the people to climb Mount Everest in the fiscal year 2018/2019. Climbing the mountains is the expensive and risky activity.

Highest mountains are the main attraction for those who come to visit Nepal. Foreigners have earned name and fame by climbing the highest mountains of Nepal and now they are living a luxurious life. But Tenzing Sherpa, who had made the name for Nepal in the world by summiting the Mount Everest, had to land in Darjeeling, India to eke out his life. Similarly, Angrita Sherpa, who is known as the Snow Leopard, has moved to America for a better life.

In the recent time, fake rescue and a massive human traffic jam at the summit of Mount Everest have tarnished the image of Nepal in the world. Meanwhile, Nepal Mountaineering Association trainer and a member of Himalayan Rescue Ivan G Som said, “The government has put the life of thousands of mountaineers at risk by granting permission to all of them at the same time. The government has ignored the basic necessity of nature. The environment has also been affected due to crowd.”

He underscored the need to upgrade and update the laws and regulations related to the mountaineering that were formulated in 1970s. He added that Nepal should increase the permit fee and should limit the granting of permission to avoid any untoward incident in the Everest area. Som further said that the government should hold discussions with the concerned stakeholders to resolve the existing problems. There are many possibilities of tourism in Nepal. According to Competitiveness Index, Nepal was placed at 102nd position among 141 countries.

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