BHOJENDRA BASNET, SOLUKHUMBU, April 15: A surging number of mountaineering expedition teams at Mt Everest is posing a risk of a ‘traffic jam’ at one of the world’s most treacherous climbing routes.
The expedition teams arrive a month before at the Everest Base Camp (EBC) to acclimatize. The expedition to Mt Everest, the highest peak in the world, begins after mid May if the weather system permits.
A good weather is one of the most significant factors that can be a thin line between life and death at Everest. So climbers jostle to climb upwards from Camp 2, 3 and 4 during favorable weather which inevitably leads to risk of a traffic jam.
Tourism Department says that there are more climbers this season as compared to last year. High Altitude Worker, Pemba Dorje Sherpa, warned of the risk of a traffic jam at Everest this climbing season due to high number of aspiring climbers.
Many climbers had taken permission in 2014 when an avalanche struck Everest. They are still allowed the climb Everest which has resulted in high number of climbers.
In 2015, the government introduced a new law allowing climbers three years’ window to climb Mt Everest with a single permit and fare.
“This is the final year of the three year period and the climbers who had taken permission earlier have arrived to not miss this chance. This is why there are a high number of climbers this season,” Tourism Department’s Information Official, Durgadatta Dhakal said.
Last year, 289 climbers arrived at the EBC with permission to climb Mt Everest. This year 267 have already started the trek from Namche to EBC, Everest Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) Programme Official, Kapindra Rai shared.
It is usual for the climbers to arrive till mid May and as more climbers are coming into contact the chances of the number tipping over 400 is high, according to the Department.
The number of high altitude workers accompanying the climbers is usually more than the climbers themselves. As there will be more workers accompanying the climbers, it is estimated that around 1000 individuals will reach the peak this season alone.
“Everyone will be in a hurry to reach the peak when the weather is clear, there is no management up there to fix turns for the climbers, so there is a possibility of a jam this year; as the returning climbers have less oxygen compounded with an exhausted body, it means there life hangs in the balance,” shared Sonam Sherpa of Forche, who has climbed Mt Everest five times as an aide.