What some critics of commercial mountaineering on Mount Everest have demanded in the past is now being brought about by the corona crisis: only one team will be allowed to attempt the highest mountain on earth this spring. The Chinese-Tibetan authorities had closed Everest to foreign expeditions because of the Corona pandemic, but the ban does not apply to domestic expeditions. And so there will probably be a Chinese attempt this spring over the Tibetan north side of the mountain.
According to reports, the team of the operator Yarlo Shampo Expeditions consists of 26 members, including six women. According to sources in Tibet, the climbers were to reach the Advanced Base Camp at about 6,400 meters, below the North Col, today. It has snowed more than in previous years, it said.
Kami Rita’s proposal fell on deaf ears
The Nepalese south side of Mount Everest, on the other hand, will apparently remain completely closed this spring. The government in Kathmandu announced in mid-March that it would not issue any Everest permits this season due to the Corona pandemic. The Icefall Doctors, who normally prepare the route through the Khumbu Icefall and maintain it during the season, did not even leave for base camp but returned to their home villages.
Record holder Kami Rita Sherpa – the 50-year-old has scaled Everest 24 times – had suggested using the time off to clear the mountain of rubbish and bring down the bodies of dead climbers. The Nepalese Mountaineering Association (NMA) supported Kami Rita’s proposal. However, he obviously fell on deaf ears with the government in Kathmandu.