Nepal Cracking Down on Bizarre Everest Attempts

Nepalese officials will be installed at base camp beginning spring 2014
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2013 9:02 AM CDT
Participants of the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon begin their race at the Everest base camp in the Khumbu region of the Nepal Himalayas, Wednesday, May 29, 2013.   (AP Photo/Himex Nepal, Dinesh Gole)
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(Newser) – Beginning next spring, climbers hoping to scale Everest will encounter a new group at base camp: government babysitters. Nepal will install a government team at the camp to watch over expedition teams; the move follows that infamous Sherpa-climber brawl earlier this year, the BBC reports. Those at the new post will coordinate rescues, keep an eye on the environment, and help out climbers by offering "communication and safety related services," a rep said, adding, "When there is the presence of the government on the ground, the message 'violating the law is punishable' becomes clearer."

The team will also serve as liaison officers; climbers are required to work with such an officer, who verifies all summits. But here's the team's most interesting job: Officials will police record-setting attempts on the peak. "These days we see people trying to make bizarre records like, for instance, standing on their head or taking off their clothes while on the summit. These behaviors don't bode well for the dignity of Everest," the former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association tells the BBC. He says the team will make sure climbers "inform them beforehand if they intend to make a new record"—allowing the team to approve or deny the bid. (Not that government officials will actually be on the summit to forcibly prevent any denied attempts, notes the BBC.)

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