Nepal to allow climbers to scale 5 more peaks

Nepal will open 5 more peaks above 8,000 meters for expeditions when the autumn climbing season begins, a tourism official said Tuesday, August 20, raising the total number of such mountains to 13.

The Himalayan nation currently allows climbers to scale eight mountains above 8,000 meters, including the world’s tallest peak, Mount Everest.

The new peaks include three in the Kanchenjunga region and two from the Everest region. Lhotse Middle, Lhotse Shar, Kanchenjunga South, Kanchenjunga Central and Kanchenjunga West — all measuring above 8,400 m (27,559 ft) — will soon be open for expeditions, pending approval from the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA).

Purna Chandra Bhattarai, a senior official at the tourism ministry, said the Switzerland-based organization, which represents climbers and mountaineers from around the world, would likely make a decision at its annual meeting in early October.

“Of course, it will increase the revenue. But we would also like to encourage people to explore and climb these other mountains, apart from the world’s eight highest peaks,” Bhattarai told AFP.

Bhattarai said earlier this month that Nepal plans to keep a closer eye on expeditions to Mount Everest to ensure that climbers keep the famed peak clean and to prevent rows between locals and visitors.

Experts have also warned that overcrowding on the mountain was clogging up movement and causing dangerous delays in ascents.

On May 29, Nepal marked the 60th anniversary of the first scaling of Everest, honoring the family members of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the pioneering climbers.

More than 300 mountains are open for expeditions in Nepal, where tourism is a huge source of revenue for the impoverished country.

Th tourism ministry collected 35 million rupees ($344,000) in mountaineering revenues during the most recent spring season, according to Bhattarai.

source: Rappler, 20 Aug 2013

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