In a statement released by the Nepal Tourism Board, the Department of Tourism, Nepal Government, who issued climbing permits, explains what led to the tragedy that claimed the lives of at least 8 climbers.
“Mount Everest has always been one of the world’s great natural wonders. A sight of remarkable beauty, it has also become an aspiration of ascent for climbers the world over. Sadly, Everest’s raw, often unforgivingly exposed natural environment can turn a lifelong dream into tragedy.
During the period of May 22 and 23, this was the case for 8 climbers who lost their lives at the mountain this season owing to various causes.
Nepal Tourism Board extends deepest condolences for the loss of lives at Everest, 8,848 m, during this recent expedition. As the body responsible for issuing permits to climbers, the Department of Tourism (DoT), Nepal Government, issued 116 climbing permits for different peaks for Spring 2019.
Conscious of the need to manage climbing numbers, especially with ever-changing climatic circumstances, 44 permits were issued for Mt. Everest through which 381 climbers were permitted to climb the peak in Spring 2019. As in the previous years, climbing permits for Everest were limited by the DoT as per stringent rules, to ensure sustainable, safe and mountain friendly tourism.
As stated, the weather on the mountain has a critical role at play in climbing success. The forecast predicted for the period of May 16 and May 21-24 was favorable for climbers. Free to choose dates for their final ascent, most climbers chose the window period of May 21-24. However, due to extreme winds on May 21, expeditions could not proceed beyond Camp 4. Climbers could only proceed towards the peak on May 22/ 23, which led to congestion of climbers near the peak of Mt. Everest for a short period. Regrettably, losses of life occurred in the extreme altitude. Currently, all efforts are underway to facilitate transportation of the bodies of those who lost their lives and rescue of missing climbers.
On behalf of the entire tourism industry, we extend heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members and friends of the climbers who lost their lives. Nepal Government takes this matter seriously, and Nepal Tourism Board is disturbed by the reports of expeditions.
As is known, climbing Everest is a hardcore adventure activity, a daunting experience even for the most trained and professional climbers. Every life lost is one too many. Solutions for more safe and sustainable options for climbing must come from this heartbreaking time.
Nepal recognizes the need to work closely with expedition companies and teams to control the safety of climber flows in the face of climatic risks and sensitivities. Nepal tourism industry also requests the international travel industry and media friends, as well as our potential visitors for future expeditions, to be aware of all the risk factors included in climbing peaks above 8,000 m. Intense training, precautions, and attention to every minor detail, are of extreme importance for climbing the Himalayan peaks.
The tourism industry of Nepal is committed to working with the global climbing community to establish the right model for enabling trekking to continue for the benefits of tourists and people of Nepal. Mount Everest will always be a source of great natural wonder and tourist aspiration. Nepal stands with the global trekking community to continue to allow this gift of nature to be safely, sustainably celebrated.
Importantly, the Nepal Government, DoT, Nepal tourism industry and people of Nepal salute the heroes who lost their precious lives pursuing their greatest passions, defying all challenges in the glory of the human spirit.”