This year Nepal Government issued permits to record 381 climbers to scale the Mount Everest as part of the —making the 2019 season one of the busiest climbing season ever.
However, the government’s biggest push to commercialize the world highest peak face criticisms for poor management and traffic jam and issuing of permits to more climbers that it could handle bringing the way authorities manage Everest under massive scrutiny.
This season has been the deadliest climbing season with 11 deaths on Everest. Many climbers and media have claimed that some of the deaths this year were caused by the traffic jam on the way to the top which made the climbers wait for hours on the way up and down.
During an interview with Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, the BBC had presented a documentary report on Everest expedition this season. In the documentary, the BBC claimed that of the total 60 liaison officers deployed at the base camp to regulate the expedition team, only five were on the duty.
“Did that revelation disturb you?” Mathew Amliwala had asked PM Oli. But Oli was without a concrete answer.
Oli also claimed that the situation is not as worse as it is rumored and the reason behind the deaths was not due to the crowd.
In contrast to BBC claim, the Department of Tourism, two days later, said that only 15 of the deployed 37 officials for the 44 expedition teams had not reached the base camp, according to a report by Onlinekhabar.
Many of the liaison officers who did not reach the base camp said they were unable to reach there due to their health condition, it further said.
Mountaineer Pemba Dorje Sherpa also denied the reports that too many people on the Everest were the cause of deaths.
‘No, climbers do not die due to traffic jam,” said the 20 time Everest summiteer in a television interview Janata Janna Chahanchan.
“Most of the deaths are due to inexperience and weather condition. Ascending Everest is itself a risky business. There is always a danger of avalanches and blizzards,” he said.
“When the queue is longer, climbers may suffer from cold and frostbite. There is also a risk of running out of oxygen. But we cannot blame traffic jam for the climbers’ deaths.”
“Of course, overcrowding has been a problem that needs to be addressed. To avoid such crowds the government should issue 300 or fewer permits in the coming year.”
Another major concern about Everest is the heap of trash left by the mountain expeditioners. Although the government has launched Everest clean-up drive from time to time, the rubbish such as fluorescent tents, discarded climbing equipment, empty gas canisters and even human excrement litter the route to the summit of the 8,848-meter (29,029-foot) peak which has made the world’s tallest peak look ugly.
Sherpa said that the government should give Everest a rest for at least a year to give space for clean-up campaign.
He was of the view that the government should deploy mountaineers or Nepal Army personnel instead of inexperienced government employees to clean the Everest.
Asked why the group of mountaineers deployed to clean the Everest did not clean the trash, he said, “The government officials who were on the base camp did not pay the climbers. Why would the mountaineers work?”
According to him, the Sherpa mountaineers were made the victim of politics in the name of trash collection by some corrupt government officials.
“They take money for cleaning the mountain and don’t pay the mountaineers. We even filed written complaints at the Tourism Board. But, they don’t listen,” he said.
He also suggested the government take concrete measures before it is too late.
“Along with clean-up drive, the government should think about not letting garbage on the Everest.”