Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a government decree that bans blind people and double-amputees from climbing Everest, weeks before the beginning of the popular climbing season on the world’s highest peak.
Nepal’s Department of Tourism had revised its mountaineering rules late 2017, banning double-amputees and blind people from climbing Mount Everest, in a move officials said was aimed at reducing accidents and deaths.
However the move was challenged at the country’s highest court by disability rights activists and climbers.
“The court issued the ruling because banning people from Everest is against the spirit of our constitution,’’ Kishor Paudel, an official at the Supreme Court, said.
Hari Budha Magar, a British Gurkha army veteran who had planned to set a record as the first double-amputee to successfully climb Everest this year, had campaigned against the government decision, calling it discriminatory.
Hundreds of climbers attempt to summit the 8,848-metre-high peak, which straddles Nepal and China, during the spring season from April to May, when weather conditions are favourable for climbing.
Newsmen report that according to the Himalayan Database (HDB) updated on Dec. 4, 2017, overall 288 people (173 westerners and 115 Sherpas) have died on Everest from 1921 to 2017.
The HDB said a median of four people have died each year on Everest since it was first attempted in 1921.
Focusing on modern times, the database indicated that from 2000 to 2017 deaths have increased to 6.5 annual deaths, heavily driven by the 28 Sherpa deaths on the south side in 2014 and 2015 from the serac release onto the Icefall and the earthquake.