Nepal Won't Close Everest; Sherpas, Firms Won't Go Up

Country desperate to keep its main tourism stream flowing
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2015 8:44 AM CDT
Nepal Won't Close Everest; Sherpas, Firms Won't Go Up
In this Saturday, April 25, 2015, photo, climbers search through crushed tents for fellow climbers caught in an avalanche at a base camp on the Nepal side of Mount Everest.   (AP Photo/Mariusz Malkowski)

(Newser) – Just a week or so after Nepal's deadly avalanche and earthquake that killed at least 7,250 people, a debate is growing between those who want the mountain to remain open for climbers and those who think it's not worth the risk. A Nepal government spokesman, cognizant of the money the country would lose from tourism if it closed the mountain (climbers pay $11,000 each), tells Reuters that "the government will not officially announce the closure because we have given the permit to climbers"—apparently succumbing to pressure from high-paying clients, notes the BBC. And while permits would be useless without the proper guides, the head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association told the BBC yesterday that "the Sherpas are willing to do as per the clients' wishes."

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But today, the AP reports that Sherpas are refusing to rebuild the main climbing route up Everest. The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee says that the looming summer season will mean melting snow and heavy rains. "It is just not possible to rebuild the route in time for climbers to attempt to scale the peak," a rep tells the AP. Meanwhile, a local tour company tells ABC.net.au that "with ongoing aftershocks and tremors, we can't continue expeditions. And there is nothing in place for climbers anyway … so there is no point in continuing this season." (Some good news from Nepal: Searchers found a 101-year-old man Saturday in Kathmandu).

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