‘There is no risk of infection in the Sagarmatha region as reported in the media.’
KATHMANDU, May 14: As many as 170 people have climbed Mount Sagarmatha which remained unclaimed last year. The Department of Tourism (DoT) has stated that the number may fluctuate as details are yet to come.
In the same season of 2019, the work of fixing ropes was completed on May 14. This year, the same number of climbers are on their way back after completing the ascent before May 14. The DoT considers the success of climbing before the first wind of this year to be much greater than in previous years. The DoT has also stated that the ascent of Sagarmatha will resume only from May 19 as the weather has deteriorated since Thursday.
The first international climber of the year was a team led by Bahrain's Prince Shaikh Mohammed Hamad Mohammed Al Khalifa. The team is also the first to climb Sagarmatha this year. According to the DoT, the number of climbers from Nepal has increased this year after the Chinese halted the ascent from their side.
Mira Acharya, Director of the DoT, who returned to the capital from the Everest Base Camp on Thursday, said that last year no ascents could take place due to COVID-19 but the second wave of the pandemic did not affect the ascent of Sagarmatha this year.
According to Acharya, no one has died so far due to the infection even though patients with symptoms similar to COVID-19 were found in Sagarmatha. "The death toll from the corona infection is on the rise across the country. But in the Sagarmatha region, there is no risk of infection as reported in the media,” she clarified.
A total of 408 people from 43 groups have taken permission to climb Mt Sagarmatha this year. Of them, 93 are women and 315 men. Similarly, 774 people in 86 groups from 79 countries have secured permits to climb different mountains during the spring season this year. As this season is considered safer than other seasons for climbing, the number of arrivals of climbers are higher. When climbing a mountain in the spring, climbers have to pay the highest fee.
So far this year, more than Rs 714.8 million in royalties have been collected from mountaineering. More than Rs 660 million has been collected from climbers attempting Sagarmatha alone. As this season is the most favorable for climbing, domestic and foreign climbers have been seeking permission to climb most of the mountains including Sagarmatha.