Nepal celebrated Mt. Everest Diamond Jubilee on May 29 remembering the two heroic souls: Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary amidst a grand function. The historic event started with the procession from Bhrikutimandap led by the families of Tenzing and Hillary in a horse-cart buggy, followed by the buggy that carried famous mountaineers like Reinhold Messner, 21 time Everest climber Phurba Tashi Sherpa, last surving member of 1953 Everest Expedition team Mr. Kancha Sherpa ended at Basantapur Durbar Square. The procession was followed by large number of people from all walks of life including Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Mr. Ram Kumar Shrestha. Traditional Nepali music and police band played the music throughout the procession that ended at the Durbar Square of Kathmandu in Hanumandhoka. Addressing the function that followed after the procession Tourism Minister Ram Kumar Shrestha said the government would adopt strict measures while issuing Mt Everest climbing permits to ensure mountaineers’ safety.
He further said the government would verify climbers’ experience, health and age before allowing them to climb Everest. The move was meant to ensure climbers’ safety and also to stop overcrowding on Everest, Shrestha said.
He added that the government’s liaison officers in the Everest region would be mobilized in a more effective manner amid concerns that they are not performing well when it comes to stopping ‘unprofessional conduct’ in the Everest region. The government has also doubled health and other insurances of porters, high-altitude Sherpa guides and individuals involved in the rescue mission in the mountain region. Secretary of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sushil Ghimire said Everest is an asset not only for the Nepalese but for people all around the world. “The highest peak is open for all people,” he said. The grandson of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, Tashi Tenzing, who has climbed Everest three times, said everyone deserves to climb Everest. “We cannot restrict or stop anyone from climbing the tallest mountain.”
President of Everest Summiteers’ Association Wanchu Sherpa urged the government to make proper allocation of revenue in the Khumbu region from royalty collected by issuing climbing permits. The government collects more than Rs 270 million by issuing the permits annually.
Wanchu urged the government to develop a road up to Surkhe—the lower part of Lukla. Annually, hundreds of tourists get stranded in Lukla, the only gateway to Everest. “As people are stranded, they are compelled to pay US$ 500 to return to Kathmandu through a helicopter. In between 1953 to 2013, more than 4,000 individuals have climbed Everest.
Officiating chief executive officer of Nepal Tourism Board Subash Nirola said that tourism should be promoted more systematically. “Tourism promotion at the Himalayas supports the development of livelihood of remote places as it boosts the local economy and creates employment opportunities,” he said. Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal awarded different individuals on the occasion of TAAN Day on Wednesday. Minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation Ram Kumar Shrestha handed over awards to Tika Ram Gurung, Ballav Mani Dahal, Diwakar Panta, Devi Prasad Panta, Shiva Adhikari, Shiva Shrestha, Nima Chhamji Sherpa — the youngest Nepali woman to reach the summit of Mt Everest — and Eliza Tuladhar of The Himalayan Times daily.
In the evening, the special program was organized in the Narayanhiti Palace to celebrate this event. The Chairman of Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi felicitated the personalities related with Mt. Everest climbing with certificate. Among the prominent persons felicitated were Reinhold Messner, 21 time Everest climber Phurba Tashi Sherpa, last surving member of 1953 Everest Expedition team Mr. Kancha Sherpa, Amelia Rose Hillary, granddaughter of Sir Edmund Hillary, Tashi Tenzing Sherpa, grandson of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and many others.
“Two people worked together to take human history to the top of the world,” said Amelia Rose Hillary, Edmund Hillary’s granddaughter. “This is the celebration of that story.”
“It is good to see the government acknowledge people’s passion,” said Hilary Carlile, Edmund Hillary’s niece and deputy chair of the Himalayan Trust he established.
Speaking on behalf of the recipients, mountaineer Reinhold Messner, who made the first ascent without oxygen and the first solo summiting of Everest, said the mountain was cleaner than it had been 15 years ago.
Garbage had become a problem on the mountain, known as the “roof of the world,” as traffic increased, but the government made it mandatory for climbers to bring back their garbage 15 years ago. Cleaning campaigns also have been conducted on the peak.
“I greatly appreciate the initiative taken by the veteran mountaineers and mountain lovers in philanthropic actives in and around Everest region in improving conditions of local communities,” said Khilaraj Regmi, the chair of the Ministerial Council, who also acknowledged the work of rescue workers and doctors.
Ms. Amelia Rose Hillary has been appointed as Brand Ambassador of Nepal Tourism Board and Mt. Everest Diamond Jubilee amidst the program.
Earlier, on May 28, Secretary of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sushil Ghimire handed over the Tenzing Hillary Award to Everest Summitters Association amidst the function. In the same function, he also inaugurated the postal and photo exhibition at Nepal Tourism Board.
In a function organized at Hillary Park in Khumjung on May 26 as a part of the 60th anniversary, Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Shushil Ghimire, said that the government was committed to making tourism a sustainable industry.
He emphasized the need for ensuring that tourism activities in the mountain area cause minimum harm to environment. Stating that the climate in the mountain region was becoming harsher than in the past, Apa Sherpa, who holds the record of climbing Everest 21 times, requested one and all to unite to maintain ecological balance in the region.
“Vast changes in the climate of the mountain region have occurred between my first ascent in 1990 and the 21st ascent in 2011. All people should be aware of this,” Sherpa said.
A tree planting ceremony was held at the function. Carliele Hillary, vice-chair of the Himalayan Trust and niece of the late Sir Edmund Hillary, planted a tree in the park in memory of her uncle. Government officials, the New Zealand ambassador and other diplomats were among those attending the function.
International Everest Conference was also organized Khumjung on May 26. Technical sessions were held at Khumjung School Auditorium, in which working papers on global warming and its effect on the Himalayas were presented. Main presentation was done by Dr. Ganesh Raj Joshi, Secretary of Nepal Government. Mr. Frits Vrijlandt, President of UIAA, Mr. Ang Tshering Sherpa, Honorary Member of UIAA also made presentations on the occasion. Program was participated by acclaimed summiteers, government officials, national and international journalists and local people.