New Rules Could Determine Who Gets to Climb Everest

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This picture taken on May 21, 2018 shows discarded climbing equipment and rubbish scattered around Camp 4 of Mount Everest. (DOMA SHERPA/AFP/Getty Images)

Climber Nirmal Purja’s viral photograph of the traffic jam at the top of Everest this past May showed just how bad the situation had gotten. The shot was taken during the final stretch to summit the tallest mountain in the world.

Hundreds of climbers had taken advantage of a stretch of good weather to begin their climb, and now they were facing dangerous delays in a location known as the “death zone” for its very low oxygen levels as they waited for their turn to summit. The crowds contributed to one of the deadliest Everest climbing seasons in history.

This Wednesday, in an effort to increase safety, Nepali officials proposed a new set of requirements for those seeking a permit to climb the 29,035-foot peak.

As Alan Arnette reports for Outside magazine, the 59-page report stipulates that climbers would need to prove that they have summited at least one 21,325-foot mountain, and that they have paid upward of $35,000 for the expedition, in addition to the current requirements of a health certificate and employing a trained Nepali guide.

Expedition companies, in turn, would need to have at least three years’ experience guiding high-altitude climbs before leading Everest trips.

Continue the article in the Smithsonian here: