Nepal has hardly been officially reopened for mountain tourists when the first restrictions are imposed. Today, the Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality banned all flights into the region around Mount Everest until further notice. Mountaineers and trekking tourists are not supposed to arrive for the time being. The reason is a corona case in Namche Bazaar, the main village of the Khumbu region. The newspaper “The Himalayan Times” reports that parts of Namche have been sealed because of the confirmed COVID-19 infection.
In the past few days, the first foreign mountaineers and trekking tourists had arrived in Kathmandu and had entered the mandatory quarantine in their hotels. On entry they had to show a negative corona test, which was not allowed to be older than 72 hours. On the fifth day of their stay another test is due. Only if this test also turns out negative, the mountain tourists are allowed to continue their journey – at the earliest seven days after arrival in Nepal.
Ama Dablam must wait
Among those staying in Kathmandu are some well-known names from the mountaineering scene: the experienced expedition leader and ten-time Everest summiteer Garrett Madison from the USA, the British Kenton Cool, who has scaled the world’s highest mountain 14 times – and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani. The 38-year-old is a member of the royal family of Qatar. In 2013 he was the first Qatari on top of Mount Everest, and in 2016 he completed his collection of the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on all continents, by scaling Denali in Alaska. Madison, Cool and Sheikh Al Thani have the same goal: the 6,812-meter-high Ama Dablam near Everest. They can only hope that the closure of the Khumbu for foreign tourists will soon be lifted.