445 climbers reach Mount Everest this spring: Nepal

By Shirish B Pradhan, KATHMANDU: A total of 445 climbers have reached the Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, this spring season which ended on May 31, the Nepal government said.

Of them 190 were foreigners, 223 mountain guides and 32 fee paying Nepalese climbers, according to Department of Tourism.

Last year 451 people including 197 foreigners climbed the Everest. More than 5,000 climbers have set foot on the summit of Everest from the Nepal side since Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa first conquered the world’s tallest mountain in 1953.

So far a total of 5,324 climbers summited the 8,848 metre peak. An Everest climbing permit costs USD 11,000 for foreigners and Rs 75,000 for Nepalis.

Five people have died on the Nepal side of the mountain during this season. Noted Swiss climber Ueli Steck and Nepali Min Bahadur Sherchan died while preparing to make their bids.

American doctor Roland Yearwood, Slovak climber Vladimir Strba and an Indian climber Ravi Kumar died above the 8,000 metre mark, an area known as the mountain’s ‘death zone’ where oxygen levels fall to dangerously low levels, increasing the risk of altitude sickness.

“Many climbers had to return as strong winds prevented them from climbing at the end of the season,” an official at the Department of Tourism said.

“However, we expect 2018 to be better,” he said.

Everest saw a record number of climbers this season due to a backlog resulting from the 2014 avalanche and 2015 earthquake and subsequent avalanches.

The world’s highest peak was closed for two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015 due to deadly avalanches. On April 18, 2014, a mass of snow slid down Everest near base camp and killed 16 Nepali guides.

Then in 2015, quake-triggered avalanches killed 19 climbers. Not a single climb was made on Everest in 2015.

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