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 Everest 2008 Nepal: No Permits issued today

Update 3/20/2008 America: South side update: Permits were not issued today for Everest... Friday is a holiday in Nepal and Saturday is the office is closed.

Ice Fall work has not been started yet. We understand the ice fall is most years is "done" the first week of April, last year (2007) it was not open until April 7.

Stay tuned... Messages/Questions in the the Nepal Tourism Board

Earlier Update : The Second part of the questions and answers follow the first part...

Q&A with Sarad Pradhan Nepal Tourism Board with questions from the staff at EverestNews.com 3/19/2008

Dear Sarad Pradhan, Please reply to these questions as soon as possible, so people can understand where things are.

All questions apply to Everest climbing In Nepal (not Tibet)
1.) Can climbers summit Mt Everest before May 1st? if not why not?

Ans: Climbers can summit Mt. Everest before May 1st. But the concern of Chinese authority is that there should not be any climber on the top during the expedition of Olympic torch. Climbing Everest is not like a marathon, and you need the support of all kinds of people like Sherpas, high-altitude porters, Sardar etc. to climb it successfully.

2.) Can climbers climb above base camp between May 1 and May 10th?

Ans: Various associations related with tourism in Nepal including Nepal Mountaineering Association have submitted an appeal to the government saying that they would not allow any expedition to go beyond 3rd camp during this period and would not allow any anti-Chinese in the Everest region.

3.) If climbers cannot climb above Base camp between May 1 and May 10th, then why not?

Ans: I think I have given answer above.

4.) Can climbers summit for sure on May 11th, or is another delay possible if the Chinese do not summit before May 10th?

Ans: I cannot predict it. Assumption doesn't work in this kind of issue.

5.) What happens if the Chinese do not summit until late, like May 23rd? Which is what happened a couple of years ago. Then what?

Ans: It's difficult for me to answer on 'Ifs' because it all depends on the situation. I cannot make assumption.

6.) Will Chinese climbers or the torch be on the Nepal side of the Mountain at all?

Ans: Top of Everest is shared both by Nepal and China. As far as I know they climb from North and descend from the North itself.

7.) At least one company attempted to obtain a permit yesterday from Nepal and was told that the people were out of town.  When will Nepal permits again?

Ans: The government will issue the permission once the technical problem is solved.

8.) Are there multiple people who can issue permits or only one man?

Ans: The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation issue the permission, not by individual. There is certain formality to complete for it.

9.) Are trekkers allowed to go to Base camp between now and May 1st?

Ans: Trekkers are allowed to go to Base camp any time. But they have to obtain TIMS certificate from Nepal Tourism Board or Trekking Agents Association of Nepal before embarking the trek. TIMS is distributed free of cost and it's for keeping record of trekkers.

10.) Will there be a limit from Nepal on the number of permits issued?

Ans: As far as I know there is no policy right now existed to limit the climbing.

11.) Is Nepal concerned that by the climbers not being able to climb between May 1 and May 10th, that the climb could be more dangerous that normal?

[No Answer was given.]

12.) Do you see ANY possibility that climbers will be able not to climb after May 10th?

Ans: As I said earlier, it all depends on the development of situation at that moment. It's difficult for me to predict on this issue right now. 

Sarad Pradhan Nepal Tourism Board 3/19/2008

Part Two:

Sarad Pradhan, thank you very much for your answers..

A couple of follow up questions..

1.)  You stated,    "Various associations related with tourism in Nepal including Nepal Mountaineering Association have submitted an appeal to the government saying that they would not allow any expedition to go beyond 3rd camp during this period and would not allow any anti-Chinese in the Everest region"

We understand that, but do you think the government will rule on this request?

Ans: The Government has taken it seriously but give its decision soon to the associations.

2.)  You stated,  "concern of Chinese authority"

Why is Nepal concerned about the Chinese so much?

Ans: Nepal has taken one China policy and will abide by it. It has given words to Chinese authority that it won't allow anti-Chinese activity in Nepal. Nepal's policy to India is also same as China.

3.)     In America, people have the right to protest and have freedom of speech.

In Nepal , people are free too, why limit people's rights to freedom and freedom of speech?

I think it's too political question for me. I cannot answer on it. I am not authorised to speak on this issue. You can ask this question to Human Right organisations here in Kathmandu.

Rgs, Sarad

Earlier Update

Everest from the South Side in Nepal

sbrr2.jpg (46375 bytes)

Full size picture

Base Camp - 17,500 feet (5350 meters)

This is a picture of the popular South Col Route up Mt. Everest.  Base camp is located at 17,500 feet.   This is where climbers begin their true trip up the mountain.  This is also where support staff often remain to monitor the expeditions and provide medical assistance when necessary.  Many organizations offer hiking trips which just go to base camp as the trip is not technically challenging (though you must be very fit). 

From base camp, climbers typically train and acclimate (permitting the body to adjust to the decreased oxygen in the air) by traveling and bringing supplies back and forth through the often treacherous Khumbu Icefall.    This training and recuperation continues throughout the climb, with the final summit push often being the only time to climbers do not go back and forth between camps to train, bring supplies, and recuperate for the next push. 

The Icefall is in constant motion.  It contains enormous ice seracs, often larger than houses, which dangle precariously over the climbers heads, threatening to fall at any moment without warning, as the climbers cross endless crevasses and listen to continuous ice creaking below.  This often acts as a testing ground to judge if less experienced climbers will be capable of continuing.   The Icefall is located between 17,500 and 19,500 feet.

Camp I - 5900 meters

After the Icefall, the climbers arrive at Camp I, which is located at 19,500 feet.  Depending on the type of expedition, Camp I will either be stocked by the climbers as they ascend and descend the Icefall, or by Sherpas in advance.

The area between Camp I and Camp II is known as the Western Cwm.  As the climbers reach Camp II at 21,000 feet, they may be temporarily out of sight of their support at Base camp.  Nonetheless, modern communication devises permit the parties to stay in contact.

Camp II - 6500 meters

As the climbers leave Camp II, they travel towards the Lhotse face (Lhotse is a 27,920 foot mountain bordering Everest).  The Lhotse face is a steep, shiny icy wall.  Though not technically extremely difficult, one misstep or slip could mean a climber's life.  Indeed, many climbers have lost their lives through such mishaps. 

Camp III - 23,700 feet (7200 meters)

To reach Camp III, climbers must negotiate the Lhotse Face. Climbing a sheer wall of ice demands skill, strength and stamina. It is so steep and treacherous that many  Sherpas move directly from Camp II to Camp IV on the South Col, refusing to stay on the Lhotse Face.

Camp IV - 26,300 feet (8000 meters)

As youíre leaving C4Öitís a little bit of a down slope, with the uphill side to the left. There are typically snow on the ledges to walk down on, interspersed with rock, along with some fixed rope. The problem with the rope is that the anchors are bad, and thereís not much holding the rope and a fall could be serious. Fortunately itís not too steep, but there is a ton of exposure and people are usually tired when walking down from camp. The rock is a little down sloping to the right as well, and with crampons on, it can be bit tricky with any kind of wind. Thereís a little short slope on reliable snow which leads to the top of the Geneva Spur, and the wind pressure gradient across the spur can increase there as youíre getting set up for the rappel. Wearing an oxygen mask here can create some footing issues during the rappel, because itís impossible to see over the mask and down to the feet. For that reason, some people choose to leave Camp 4 without gas, as itís easier to keep moving down the Spur when itís important to see all the small rock steps and where the old feet are going. Navigating down through all of the spaghetti of fixed ropes is a bit of a challenge, especially with mush for brains at that point. One lands on some lower ledges which arenít so steep, where fixed ropes through here are solid. At this point, itís just a matter of staying upright, and usually, the wind has died significantly after dropping off the Spur. The route turns hard to the left onto the snowfield that leads to the top of the Yellow Bands.

Camp IV, which is at 26,300 on the Lhotse face, is typically the climbers' first overnight stay in the Death Zone.  The Death Zone is above 26,000 feet.  Though there is nothing magical about that altitude, it is at this altitude that most human bodies lose all ability to acclimate. Accordingly, the body slowly begins to deteriorate and die - thus, the name "Death Zone."  The longer a climber stays at this altitude, the more likely illness (HACE - high altitude cerebral edema - or HAPE - high altitude pulmonary edema) or death will occur.  Most climbers will use oxygen to climb and sleep at this altitude and above.  Generally, Sherpas refuse to sleep on the Lhotse face and will travel to either Camp II or Camp IV.

Camp IV is located at 26,300 feet. This is the final major camp for the summit push.  It is at this point that the climbers make their final preparations.  It is also a haven for worn-out climbers on their exhausting descent from summit attempts (both successful and not).  Sherpas or other climbers will often wait here with supplies and hot tea for returning climbers.

From Camp IV, climbers will push through the Balcony, at 27,500 feet, to the Hillary Step at 28,800 feet.  The Hillary Step, an over 70 foot rock step, is named after Sir. Edmond Hillary, who in 1953, along with Tenzing Norgay, became the first people to summit Everest.  The Hillary Step, which is climbed with fixed ropes, often becomes a bottleneck as only one climber can climb at a time.  Though the Hillary Step would not be difficult at sea level for experienced climbers, at Everest's altitude, it is considered the most technically challenging aspect of the climb.

Summit - 29,028 feet (8848 meters)

Once the climbers ascend the Hillary Step, they slowly and laboriously proceed to the summit at 29,028 feet.  The summit sits at the top of the world.  Though not the closest place to the sun due to the earth's curve, it is the highest peak on earth.  Due to the decreased air pressure, the summit contains less than one third the oxygen as at sea level.  If dropped off on the summit directly from sea level (impossible in reality), a person would die within minutes.  Typically, climbers achieving the great summit will take pictures, gain their composure, briefly enjoy the view, then return to Camp IV as quickly as possible.   The risk of staying at the summit and the exhaustion from achieving the summit is too great to permit climbers to fully enjoy the great accomplishment at that moment.  

As most readers of this page know, the return trip can be even more dangerous than the climb to the summit.

Pictures from Enrique Guallart-Furio web site http://ww2.encis.es/avent/


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