Image of Everest climber descending to camp 2 from below the Lhotse wall on Everest south side, ExWeb files (click to enlarge).
Newsflash: Nepal has started granting preliminary Everest permits

Posted: Mar 25, 2008 07:03 am EDT
(MountEverest.net) This just in: "We have started to give preliminary permits for Everest from Monday (yesterday)," reads an email from the Nepal Ministry of Tourism to ExplorersWeb, ending it is good news for Everest climbers."

Preliminary, with instructions

Good news indeed, although it's still unclear what "preliminary" means exactly. Yet climbers take all they can get right now, and will at least be able to start their acclimatization trips. Also, the work with the icefall (managed by the Sagarmatha park) will hopefully be commenced.

The same Ministry spokesman told ExWeb already last week that mountaineering permits were slowly being granted, by two teams getting permit for Dhaulagiri & Ama Dablam.

Regarding Everest, the government was expected to decide "in a positive way" by the end of the week, after which the Ministry planned to issue permits albeit with "some instructions" to the mountaineers.

The instruction would permit all teams to climb up to camp 2 until May 1, then "rest" in BC between May 1-10, while starting May 11, the climb would be unrestricted.

Everest Olympics how-to

In a story last week, ExWeb went through the different scenarios for Everest climbs this year. For infrastructure reasons; a resolution needed to be reached March 20 or the entire Everest south side season was at risk to fall through.

Expedition leaders were positive that this would not happen though, and it seems that their determination is paying off. The current scenario is as follows:

Following end of May, melting of the icefall will create an increasingly objective danger and the south side has historically had few summits early June. For safety reasons, the majority of climbers should be off the mountain by May 31.

A climbing ban above BC between May 1 and 10 would not be a huge problem since most summits occur between May 10 and May 31. Climbers could first acclimatize on the mountain up to Camp 2 and then go down to rest in the valleys before a final 2-3 day acclimatization climb to camp 3 and summit bid late May.

While Everest might be harder to summit this year, the adventure is about more than the summit and this year the excitement should be larger than ever. A previous Everest summiteer told ExplorersWeb, "I would go and whatever I climbed, Everest or another peak, I would dedicate it to the Tibetan people."

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