Nepal Tourism Ministry has banned double amputees and blind persons from climbing the world’s highest peak. Scaling the Mount Everest has always been a source of inspiration for the physically challenged people.
Tourism officials in Kathmandu said the decision was taken to decrease the number of deaths in the Everest region. Altogether 29 people with disabilities attempted to climb the Everest of which 15 have reached the top of the summit.
However, two prominent climbers with disabilities, Thomas Weber and Phur Yemba Sherpa died in 2006 and 2014 respectively. More than a dozen specially-abled climbers have injured themselves while climbing or are reported missing.
Under the new rules, specially-abled climbers will have to be accompanied by a mountain guide (Sherpa) to the summit. Hari Budha Magar, a former British Gurkha soldier who lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2010, criticized the Government’s decision.
Magar was training to become the first above-knee double amputee to scale the Everest. “Nepal should be proud of me, not banning me. Whatever the government may have decided, I will be climbing the Mount Everest,” he said in a Facebook message.
Earlier, several mountaineering associations had suggested an upper age limit of 76 years for the climbers. The demand came after one 85-year-old man died in May this year in the Everest region due to low oxygen conditions.
The ban comes at a time when Nepal has rejected India’s offer to measure Everest jointly, after unconfirmed reports had emerged that the size of the mountain had shrunk after the 2015 earthquake.