Nepal and China shut down Everest and all Himalaya
The governments of China and Nepal have suspended all climbing permits to Everest and the highest mountains in the world in an attempt to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
The slopes of Everest and the other highest mountains in the world will rest this spring following the decisions of the Chinese government two days ago, and the Nepalese government yesterday, to suspend all spring expeditions to the Himalaya.
The decisions, which affect both climbing permits and trekking permits, were taken as a precautionary measure in an attempt to reduce the spread of Coronavirus and come after the World Health Organization officially confirmed coronavirus a pandemic. According to the BBC, Nepal currently has only one confirmed case of coronavirus, but evidently with its minimal resources the effects of an outbreak could be tragic.
The decision follows that of India, which suspended all visas three days ago in efforts to halt the virus, and seems both wise and the only possible way forward. It has also been welcomed by commercial expeditions and some, such as Furtenbach Adventures, have announced that despite this enforced stop they will pay a portion of the wages of its Sherpas and staff in both Nepal and Tibet. Needless to say the local population relies heavily on this pre-monsoon period to earn its livelihood through tourism related to trekkers and climbers.
"… we continue to emphasize safety and wellbeing above all us, so we understand the dire consequences a Covid-19 outbreak at base camp would have." Furtenbach Adventures posted yesterday adding "Sadly, we have to agree that this is a responsible call to make right now."
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As you well know, mountaineering is always a risky and uncertain endeavor. Many factors can affect the success of an expedition - including weather, avalanches, altitude acclimation, personal health, and, yes, even a global pandemic. This is devasting and disappointing news for both our Sherpas and guides and our clients who have trained for months for this year’s climb. At Furtenbach, we continue to emphasize safety and wellbeing above all us, so we understand the dire consequences a Covid-19 outbreak at base camp would have. Sadly, we have to agree that this is a responsible call to make right now. As good climbers we know we must make the best of the situation at hand. We have alerted all our customers yesterday about the cancellation and are arranging transferring their deposits and spots for our 2021 expedition what’s sure to be a sold-out season. The ones that are hit hardest by the cancellation of the spring climbing season are the Sherpas and kitchen staff from Nepal and Tibet. We will help them with paying a portion of their wages and also ask all our clients if they are willing to add a small percentage of their deposits. Everything helps as for most of them Everest is their main income. At the same time, we’re already looking ahead to next year’s season, as well as the other great adventures our company offers. Lukas Furtenbach Founder and CEO of Furtenbach Adventures