Closing Everest part 1 – Chinese closing Everest for climbing in spring 2008

Chinese closing Everest for climbing in spring 2008 – thousand or more climbers and staff affected

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ExplorersWeb Week in Review –

cccchinska-nota.jpg “Rumors circulating in our national and international media that Mt. Everest will be closed to climb from the Tibet side are false. China will also not limit the number of expeditions in 2008,” Ang Tshering Sherpa stated last year, following a meeting with CMA & CTMA attended by high level delegates from Beijing and Lhasa. This morning however, the President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association forwarded the pictured notice sent Monday by CTMA to Everest north side expedition leaders. The mountain will be closed, and according to another reliable source, no group visas to enter will be issued until May 10. Considering the need for acclimatization and infrastructure, climbing Everest north side this spring will be short of impossible. This is a serious blow to Everest climbers and related personnel, many of whom got the notice only one week before their Everest approach is due to begin. Reportedly, Chinese officials also attempted to convince Nepalese authorities to close the icefall on the south side of Everest this spring until May 10, and try not to have summits during the period. Nepal has reportedly rejected this request.

The situation shows serious contempt for the sport of mountaineering by Chinese Olympic officials. Reportedly, the worry is that “Free Tibet” groups would take the opportunity to voice their cause.

Not only Everest, but also Cho Oyu will be closed during this period. Hundreds of climbers are now scrambling to evaluate their situation.

In many cases, permit, porter, staff and infrastructure fees have already been paid. Those who can afford it, choose to reroute to Everest south side – putting a dangerous strain on this side of the peak, with close to 70 permits reportedly issued there already this season.

Protests are now being put forward by mountaineers to Chinese officials. “I don’t blame CMA/CTMA in Lhasa,” a western organizer told ExWeb over phone from KTM this morning, “Beijing is taking over.”

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