After Nepal's Big Everest Embarrassment, an Experiment

Some climbers will be outfitted with $300 GPS devices
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2017 11:42 AM CDT
High-Tech Experiment Will Try to Stop Everest Cheaters
In this Nov. 12, 2015, file photo, Mt. Everest is seen from the way to Kalapatthar in Nepal.   (Tashi Sherpa)

Some climbers attempting to scale Mount Everest during the upcoming spring climbing season will be strapped with a GPS device to locate them in case they are in trouble and to prevent false claims of reaching the summit, officials said Monday. Hundreds of climbers are expected to attempt to climb the world's highest peak in April and May, but only a few will be fitted with the devices as an experiment. The chief of Nepal's tourism department says the devices, costing about $300 apiece, would help locate climbers who are in trouble on the mountain so rescuers can be sent. The devices will also track the movement of the climbers; the data will be checked after they get back from the mountain to determine whether they reached the summit and should be issued a climber's certificate, reports the AP.

Last year, an Indian couple claimed they scaled the peak and received a certificate from mountaineering authorities, but in a huge embarrassment for Nepalese mountaineering authorities it was later determined that they had altered their photo on the summit. Climbers only need a photo showing them on the 29,035-foot-high summit and a report from a government-assigned liaison official. The officials, however, rarely stay on the mountain to monitor the climbers. Climbers are also covered with heavy clothing, climbing gear and oxygen masks, making it difficult for them to be clearly recognized in photographs. The 2017 spring climbing season is expected to be busy. Hundreds of climbers were able to scale the peak last year following two years of disasters on the mountain. (More Mount Everest stories.)

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