Stricter rules for climbers overcrowded Mount Everest: “It became a bucket list thing”
Climbers who want to climb Mount Everest must now comply with stricter rules. For example, you must be able to prove that you have previously climbed a mountain of at least 6500 meters. But how do you prove that? “A photo is easy to manipulate and a certificate can easily be put together.”
The stricter regulations are a result of immense crowds on the highest mountain in the world. More than 800 people climbed Mount Everest this year, an absolute record.
Because of the crowds there were traffic jams towards the top of the mountain, which led to unsafe situations. Some climbers sometimes had to wait hours before they could continue due to the crowds on the 8848 meter high mountain, with all the associated risks.
According to Robin Baks, director of the Dutch Climbing and Mountaineering Association (NKBV), things have ‘gotten out of hand’ in recent years on the highest mountain in the world. “It becomes a kind of bucket list thing, the base camp (where climbers gather before they start the last part of the trip, ed) becomes more and more a tourist attraction,” he says.
“It used to be pretty basic with a few tents, now there are even half coffee tents.”
According to Baks, more and more people without experience are starting the famous climb. “For example, they pay 100,000 euros and then sleep in a heated cabin with flat screens in the base camp. During the trip up they are constantly accompanied by a sherpa, who also carries all the stuff and afterwards they are flown back with a helicopter.”
Experts warned earlier this summer that some climbers were too inexperienced or poorly prepared. They called on the Nepalese authorities to issue climbing permits. “That is of course double, because for many Nepalese it is their main source of income, entire villages live off the mountaineers.”
Nevertheless, measures have now been announced to make the mountain safer. For example, before they get a permit to start the world-famous climb, they need to hire a good guide and take out insurance that also covers a possible rescue.
Climbers must also be able to prove that they have previously climbed a mountain of at least 6500 meters. But how to prove such a thing? “That is very difficult. When climbing some mountains you get a certificate, not in others. Usually a photo is made at the top, but both such a photo and a certificate are of course easy to manipulate. So I am curious how they will check that. “