A climber was found hiding in a cave on Mount Everest after trying to evade the $16,000 fee to scale the world's highest peak.
Nepalese officials discovered South African Ryan Sean Davy in his hideaway at the weekend after he had climbed more than 20,000 feet, the Daily Mail reports.
He was ordered off the mountain, had his passport confiscated and will be fined around $32,000, an official said.
Foreigners have to pay the Nepal government US$11,000 ($16,000) for permission to climb the 29,030 foot peak - a major earner for the impoverished country.
Gyanendra Shresth, a government liaison officer at the mountain's southerly base camp, said: "I saw him alone near base camp so I approached him and he ran away.
"I followed him with my friend and found him hiding in a cave nearby.
"He had set up camp in an isolated place to avoid government officials."
It is highly unusual for a foreign climber to attempt to scale Everest alone - most do so with the help of at least one sherpa guide and a large support team at base camp.
Davy could be banned from Nepal for five years or face a 10-year ban on climbing in the country.
Davy could not be reached for comment, but photos on a Facebook page under his name appear to show a climber traversing the Khumbu Icefall, which lies between base camp and camp one.
In an accompanying post, Davy - who identifies himself as a director and producer - said that he had reached a height of 23,000 feet (7010 metres) in six hours.
"I'm willing to be as accountable as I know how but my Everest expedition has taken a very bad turn," he wrote on Facebook.
"I am going to be honest in saying that when I arrived at Base Camp it became evident that I didn't have nearly enough money for a solo permit because of hidden costs."
Davy said he was ashamed that he couldn't afford the permit after all the help he had received in preparing for the climb.
"So I took a chance and spent the little money I had on more gear to climb and practice on the surrounding peaks for acclimatising in preparing for a stealth entry on to Everest."
He claimed he was "harrassed" when he was returned to base camp.
"I was treated like a murderer. A true testimony of how money has become more important than decency."
Davy told officials that he didn't have enough money to buy a flight from the Everest region to Kathmandu to collect his passport.
He said he would instead walk and then catch a bus - a journey that would take at least four days.