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Icefall doctors open Everest route, Base Camp being set up

Base camp being set up to host the world climbers to acclimatise in the Khumbu region. Courtesy: Nima Gyalzen Sherpa

KATHMANDU:  As the world mountaineers head to the Mt Everest region for acclimatisation, the icefall doctors have opened a climbing route from the Base Camp to Camp I by placing ropes and ladders on the treacherous section of the Khumbu icefall.

Ang Dorjee Sherpa, the chairman of Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), confirmed that a team of eight icefall doctors opened the climbing route. The SPCC has been assigned to handle icefall doctors and garbage in the Everest region by the government.

The traditional route used till 2014 is open now, he told THT Online over telephone from Namche Bazaar.

The route, however, was modified in 2015 after the death of 16 Sherpa climbers from the release of an ice serac off the same section in 2014. Through this route, the climb from the Base Camp to Camp I in the Western Cwm, which is the glacial valley basin at the foot of Mt Everest’s Lhotse Face, was considered to be safer. It, however, would take some 60 more minutes to reach Camp I.

Icefall doctors were closely monitoring the situation whether they would give a try to shifting the route more towards the centre that they had done in the last two spring seasons, Sherpa said, adding that the position and movement of hanging glacier would determine their next move to track the central route.

According to him, only 21 ladders were used to open the route to Camp I.

In addition to over 80 ladders which were transported to the Base Camp in the previous years, the SPCC also brought 50 new ladders from the UK this season, Sherpa informed.

The team of trained icefall doctors has only been assigned to fix a route up to Camp II and the government has allowed the Expedition Operators Association Nepal to airlift more ropes to the higher camp by next month facilitating the expedition teams jointly fix the ropes on their own to the summit points on Mt Everest and Mt Lhotse.

It will take a couple of hours to open the route from Camp I to Camp II, according to Sherpa.

Nima Gyalzen Sherpa of Sherpa Khangri Outdoor informed that most of the expedition operating agencies had already sent their support staff to the base camp to place tents and manage the logistics for the world climbers.

Mingma Sherpa, Managing Director at Seven Summit Treks said that his company handled at least 78 foreign climbers from Nepal side. “At least 18 members from Indian Navy would also be attempting to summit Mt Everest,” he added.

Till date, the Department of Tourism has received applications from different 19 expeditions for Mt Everest.

The world’s highest peak would receive over 500 foreign climbers this season, according to the expedition operators.

The Government of Nepal collects USD 11,000 as royalty from each foreign climber to issue a climbing permit for Mt Everest.

–  By Rajan Pokharel for THT

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