Just a few weeks ago Everest was thought to be off limits to climbers due to the Olympic Torch Everest bid - which meant that China closed the mountain to all other climbers. It seems that sense has prevailed and the Nepalese government has kept the South side of Everest open.
Tom Briggs from Jagged Globe reports on the Everest situation:
"The Nepalese Ministry have issued the full permit for climbing Everest from Nepal this spring (see photo).
Most teams are already trekking into the mountain on preliminary permits, which were issued last week. Teams are not allowed to operate above camp 3 (7300m) until after 10 May, by which time the Chinese would have hoped to get the Olympic torch to the summit.
Gorak Shep, Base Camp and Camp 2 will be staffed by Nepalese soldiers. If the Chinese don't get to the top by 10 May, teams from the South side will still be allowed to climb above 10 May."
Kenton Cool is taking veteran explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes on his second Everest attempt. He is excited about the news:
"I've been issued with a preliminary permit for climbing this season on Everest - WOOHOO!!!"
Good luck to all climbers this year. Will we see a 'Free Tibet' banner on the summit?
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