March 07, Kathmandu: As this year’s mountaineering season approaches, preparations for the climb have begun. But the Russia-Ukrainian war is also affecting mountaineering. According to Kul Bahadur Gurung, General Secretary of Nepal Mountaineering Association, the number of climbers coming from European countries will decrease due to the ongoing war between the two countries.

“Pre-bookings from Russia and Ukraine have almost been canceled,” Gurung said. “It is likely to affect other parts of Europe as well.”Entrepreneurs expect a significant increase in the number of Asian climbers this season. Nepal has already rejected many protocols against Covid-19.

Gurung said that due to the ongoing war in Russia and Ukraine and the Corona Protocol, many tourists visiting European countries could be attracted to Nepal. That is why there is a possibility of more Asian tourists coming for mountaineering this time, he argues.

Tourists who come for mountaineering and trekking in Nepal are on the list of expensive tourists. Because they have to stay in Nepal for a long time. This also prolongs the overall stay of tourists.

According to the data of 2021, the average stay of a tourist in Nepal is 15.1 days. It seems that a tourist spends USD 65 per day in Nepal.

Will the previous year’s record be broken?

In 2021, most of the climbers had taken permission to climb Mt. Everest. According to the Tourism Department, even in the Corona epidemic,394 people were allowed to climb Mt. Everest that year. In 2019, 381 people had taken permission.

In the spring of 2021, 659 people from 74 groups had taken permission to climb 16 mountains. According to Surya Prasad Upadhyaya, director of the tourism department, this year the average number of climbers is expected to be the same as last year.

Meanwhile, the Nepal Mountaineering Association estimates that if Asian mountaineers come to Nepal, this record will be broken this year as well. According to the Department of Tourism, in 2019, a total of 50 climbers from Russia had obtained permission for mountaineering. Of these, 31 had reached the summit. In the same year, only 7 out of 20 people from Ukraine managed to reach the summit.

In 2019, 283 Russian citizens had obtained permission to climb the mountain through the Nepal Mountaineering Association. From Ukraine, 103 people were allowed. The expedition was canceled by the government in 2020. The detailed report for 2021 has not been made public yet.

In Nepal, both the department and the mountaineering association issue separate mountaineering permits. The government has given the responsibility of managing two and a half dozen mountains to the association.

What preparation is going for this year?

According to the director of the department, Upadhyaya, the officers have been selected and trained for this season. If there is a request for permission from the agencies, the department will start taking such requests. Upadhyay informed that the agency which has been given the responsibility of rope fixing from the past has also been given permission.

The same agency will deploy icefall doctors and fix the ropes. An experienced Sherpa team is deployed in such a team. This time, it is preparing to ‘trial’ the GPS tracking system that has been said to be implemented for a long time to know the location of the climber.

Apart from this, there will be no new change as compared to last year, said Upadhyaya. Last year, PCR tests should be done to go to the mountains. This year, protocols against Corona have not been tightened.The question of management was raised in 2019 when a picture of a huge crowd reaching the summit became public.

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