In a bid to prevent accidents, Nepal has banned solo climbers from climbing its mountains, including Mount Everest, reported news agency AFP. Earlier on Friday, the cabinet declared revised regulations of the Himalayan nation’s mountaineering, where banning solo climbers from scaling its mountains was one of the key measures being flagged ahead of the 2018 spring climbing season.
The cabinet also declared a ban on double amputee and blind climbers, even though Everest has drawn multitudes of mountaineers wanting to overcome their disabilities and achieve the formidable feat.
“The changes have barred solo expeditions, which were allowed before,” Maheshwor Neupane, secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, told AFP. Neupane added that the law was revised to make mountaineering safer and decrease deaths.
Earlier in April this year, an experienced Swiss climber Ueli Steck lost his life when he slipped and fell from a steep ridge. The climber was on a solo acclimatisation climb to Nuptse, a peak neighbouring Everest.
This ban is likely to irk solo mountaineers, who enjoy the challenge of climbing alone.
According to the report, the first double amputee to reach the top of the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) peak in 2006 was New Zealander Mark Inglis, who lost both his legs to frostbite. Blind American Erik Weihenmayer scaled Everest in May 2001 and later became the only visually-impaired person to summit the highest peaks on all seven continents.
A former Gurkha soldier and an aspiring Everest climber Hari Budha Magar, who lost both his legs when he was deployed in Afghanistan, said the ban was discriminatory.
In a Facebook post after the decision was proposed earlier this month, Magar wrote,”If the cabinet passes, this is #Discrimination against disable people, breaking #HumanRights.”
Nepal, a home to eight of the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 metres witnesses thousands of mountaineers each spring and autumn when clear weather provides good climbing conditions. Last year, around 450 climbers that included 190 foreigners and 259 Nepalis, reached the summit of Everest from the south side in Nepal.