Climbers head back to Everest after two years

Expeditions were cancelled again in 2015 after an avalanche killed 20 people on the mountain. Photo / iStock
Expeditions were cancelled again in 2015 after an avalanche killed 20 people on the mountain. Photo / iStock

More than 200 foreign climbers are headed towards the Everest base camp, authorities say, after the mountain was closed in 2014 and 2015 following fatal avalanches.

"Altogether 236 foreigners in 22 teams have already left for the Everest region, to acclimatise themselves ahead of the climb," tourism ministry official Gyanendra Shrestha said on Monday.

A further 23 Nepalese climbers had applied for their own permits, he said, in addition to an unknown number of locals employed to accompany the foreign climbers.

The government extended the permits granted for 2014 by five years after all expeditions were cancelled that year following the death of 16 Nepali climbers hit by an avalanche while preparing the route.

In 2015, all the expeditions were cancelled again when an avalanche trigged by the April 25 earthquake killed 20 people on the mountain.

Those permits were extended for two years.

In addition to the 22 teams heading for the base camp, another six teams had applied for permits this year, he said. It was not clear how many of those were climbers who saw their trip cancelled in the past two years.

Each foreigner pays US$11,000 (NZ$16,150) to climb Everest. The ascents take place in May, but the climbers spend time on the mountain ahead of the expedition acclimatising.

The Nepali assistants, known as icefall doctors, set the ropes and ladders for the climbers ahead of the season.

They have already laid out the infrastructure this year, and reported that the slopes looked safe enough for the visits to make the summit.

- AAP

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