In view of the 'traffic jams' of climbers attempting to scale the highest peak, Mt Everest, during the spring season in the recent years, the government has set a quota system to reduce congestion on the route.
The Department of Tourism (DoT) has issued a notice on 21 April stating that new arrangements have been made to manage the spring climbing of 2021 and to reduce the risk of the deadly coronavirus infection from spreading on the climbing route. According to the department, a person who has obtained permission to climb Mt Everest will be able to start climbing from the date of rope fixing by the Icefall Doctors, depending on the favorable weather. In the first phase, the climbers and teams who have obtained permissions through climbing permit numbers 6, 7, 9, 14, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 36, 37 and 38 will be able to go for the expedition.
Similarly, after their return, the climbers with the permission numbers 40, 41, 43, 45, 46, 47, 49, 50, 51, 52, 55, 57, 59, 62, 63, 67 and 68 will be allowed to scale Mt Everest.
The department hopes that this will help reduce traffic congestion which is caused by all climbers lining up to summit the mountain at the same time.
Likewise, climbers who have obtained permit number 72 and above will go for expedition depending on the favorable weather.
The concerned agencies have to manage the expeditions to ensure that the number of climbers on the route do not exceed 170 people at any given time through mutual consent and coordination.
In case of any change in plans, the local climbing management agency has to manage the safe ascent of the climbers, reads the notice.
In 2019, the government issued 381 Everest climbing permits, a record number so far, leading to “traffic jams” on the icy route to the top of the world. Also, 10 people died on the Nepal side, the highest death toll in four years.
"The department believes that the risk will be reduced as only 170 people will be on the ascent route at a time after the last leg of the climb," states the notice.
The department of Tourism has also warned the climbers not to stray from their group while travelling on the permitted mountain climbing route, staying in the base camp and on the higher routes. The guides have to urge the climbers not to cause unnecessary congestion on the route.
This condition, however, is not applicable to climbers on Everest and Lhotse as the two peaks are connected by South Col which is 7,906 metres high.
As per Department of Tourism, 659 mountaineers from 74 groups have taken expedition permits to climb 16 mountains till Tuesday. Of them, 371 people from 39 groups have taken permission for Mt Everest. Of them, 87 are women.