Nepal Wants to Keep Old, Young, Disabled Off Everest

And ensure qualified mountaineers are able to climb such tall peaks
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2015 9:09 AM CDT
Nepal Wants to Keep Old, Young, Disabled Off Everest
In this March 18, 2015, file photo, trekkers take an acclimatization hike on the way to Everest base camp in Nepal.   (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa, file)

Mount Everest finally reopened last month after the deadly April earthquake, but Nepal wants to limit who is allowed to climb the peak. Officials there say they want a ban that would keep the very young, elderly, disabled, and inexperienced off the world's tallest mountain for safety and to maintain Everest's "glory," the Guardian reports. Those under 18 and over 75, as well as disabled climbers, would be denied their chance at high-altitude prestige; also disallowed would be climbers who can't prove they can ascend mountains of 21,325-plus feet (Everest is 29,029 feet high). "We cannot let everyone go on Everest and die," says Nepal's tourism minister, who wants the ban in place by spring. "If they are not physically and mentally fit, it will be like a legal suicide."

The ban is controversial: Although Everest fanatics bring millions of tourism dollars to Nepal each year, overcrowding and mismanagement have tainted the sport, especially when it comes to the oft-underpaid Sherpas who risk their lives (16 Sherpas died on the mountain during an April avalanche). But Mark Inglis, the first double amputee to reach the summit, doesn't agree with the blanket "disabled" ban. "It really doesn't matter how many limbs you've got, but how able you are," he tells the New Zealand Herald. "There are plenty of people out there who are able-bodied who will never ever make it up Everest." Skeptics include the president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association. "I doubt this will be implemented," he tells the Guardian. "Earlier such plans were aborted because of pressure from human rights organizations and foreign embassies." (In the Telegraph, two experienced mountaineers discuss whether the ban is reasonable.)

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