Posted by: maboulette | May 24, 2020

Mt Everest Closed Over Coronavirus Fears


The coronavirus pandemic has even reached the top of the world.  Nepal announced early this month that it is shutting down all Mt Everest expeditions for the rest of this year’s climbing season due to the global pandemic.  This move followed reports from climbers that the government of China having shut the Tibet side of the mountain.

“Expeditions to Mount Everest have been closed with immediate effect. Climbing permits are cancelled till the end of April,” Nepal’s Tourism Secretary Kedar Bahadur Adhikari said. 


This decision comes at the beginning of this year’s closely watched climbing season, which as already getting underway with concerns around the overcrowding on the world’s highest peak.  Permits for climbing Everest cost about $11,000.  Breathing is already hampered at the extreme altitudes, so any outbreak of the coronavirus – that causes respiratory problems – could have been especially devastating at an Everest base camp. 

“This is disappointing news for both our expedition leaders and our clients who have trained for months for this year’s climb,” said Lukas Furtenbach, the Founder and CEO of a guided expedition company. “We understand the dire consequences a Covid-19 outbreak at base camp would have. Sadly, we have to agree that this is a responsible call to make right now.”


Adrian Ballinger, head of Alpenglow Expeditions, had already earlier said that he has been informed by the Chinese agency responsible for granting permission to climb the Tibetan side of the mountain that has stopped access there as well.

“…China announced the closure of Mt. Everest for the spring season,” Ballinger added in an Instagram post. “Climbing a mountain is not currently worth the transmission risk in the Base Camps, nor upon returning home.  While I am saddened for all the hard work our members, guides, Sherpa, local staff, partners and office have put in, and that they and we won’t get to test ourselves on the highest playground in the world this year, I am in agreement with China’s decision.” Ballinger said on Instagram.


The majority of trekking companies operate in Nepal, as climbing in Tibet has become quite expensive and more controlled in recent years.


Last year, 11 people died trying to climb Everest, and there were dramatic pictures showing large lines of climbers waiting to reach the summit.  An assortment of factors were blamed, including unfavorable weather and the increase in the number of climbing permits that are granted.

So basically, the spring climbing season for Mt. Everest has been cancelled.


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