Nepal announces indefinite freeze on Everest

March 15th, 2008 - 6:35 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, March 15 (IANS) Going out of its way to appease its giant northern neighbour China, Nepal, known as the home of Mt. Everest, the highest peak on earth, has put an indefinite freeze on the route to the 8848m summit via its territory, days after China announced a similar halt to Everest expeditions from the northern side through annexed Tibet. Nepal Television Saturday said Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung has said that out of consideration for the request made by Beijing to facilitate its torch run to the peak for the Olympic Games, Nepal has decided to stop all expeditions heading for the magic peak for two months.

However, the freeze is an indefinite one till now since China has not said when it will carry the Olympic torch to the peak.

For the first time in its history, since it was first conquered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, the world’s most loved and charismatic peak has been snarled by political considerations.

Mountaineers from all over the world, who have already spent a fortune on buying gear, hiring guides and trying to obtain climbing permits, have begun protesting since China announced its decision.

Two all-women’s teams from Nepal, which were among the first to announce their plan to attempt the summit this year, will receive a blow to their dreams.

The first summit in memory of Sir Edmund Hillary that aims to clean the Everest area and raise awareness about the dangers of global warming among the Himalayan peaks will also be blocked by the Nepal decision.

Nepal’s unprecedented decision comes after a Chinese delegation visited Kathmandu to lobby against Everest expeditions this summer.

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