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Everest Closed - Chinese Olympic bid stops climbers

© The Bantam
China's Olympic Everest bid has left hundreds of mountaineers and porters in limbo as the Chinese authorities have postponed all other attempts on the mountain. In a document sent to guides and mountaineering associations, giving them just a few weeks of warning, China has put forward the following reasons for the climbing ban:

“Concern of heavy climbing activities, crowded climbing routes and increasing environmental pressures will cause potential safety problems in Qomolangma (Everest) areas. We are not ability [sic] to accept your expedition, so please accept our deeply [sic] regret.”

Kenton Cool from the guiding outfit Dream Guides is scheduled to take Sir Ranulph Fiennes on an Everest attempt this season. He is still upbeat about his chances:

“I have spoken to my contacts in Nepal and they have reassured me that our expedition is going ahead as planned. We expect no problems as we are attempting the mountain from the South side. Our planned summit day hasn't changed.”

China has banned all climbing from the Chinese (North) side and has entered in to talks with Nepal to try and secure a ban from the South (Nepalese) side of the mountain – thus shutting all potential climbers from the summit. So far Nepal has refused to close the South side.

Jack Geldard, Editor of UKClimbing.com has this to say;

“It's a blow to mountaineering. Government funding for mountaineering in this country has been cut to virtually nothing, grants for expeditions have been completely stopped and there is no funding for competition climbing. The little money we did receive has been channelled in to Olympic sports. It is oddly fitting that the Olympic Everest debacle turns out to be another kick in the teeth for climbers worldwide.”

Most mountaineering groups feel that this ban is completely unjustified in terms of overcrowding and safety. They say the real reason China has banned these climbers from attempting the mountain is to stop a potential demonstration from the Free Tibet campaign – a campaign that has historically been supported by many climbers and mountaineers. Fears over a summit clash, with the Olympic torch being over shadowed by a Free Tibet banner may have prompted this sudden action.

There are protests in Kathmandu today by the trekking agencies and local Sherpas who risk losing vital work if the mountain is closed. Many of those who will have been employed on the Chinese side will now be out work for this season. The local economy will be hit hard.

The upshot of this ban could be a huge increase in activity on the open side of the mountain, with increased dangers from over crowding as all the teams initially attempting Everest from the North side change their objective at the last minute.


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12 Mar, 2008
eh why do that? someone explain it to me in simple talk.. i have a headache and cant be bothered to fry my eyes reading the long article ( sorry)
12 Mar, 2008
which part of "Everest Closed - Chinese Olympic bid stops climbers" did you want explained? anyway on the one hand i agree with Jack's point about the motivations behind the ban and the possible effects on the (maybe) open side, but it seems like it would be a good idea to allow the mountain to "rest" for a season.
12 Mar, 2008
i somehow doubt that the Chinese are being influenced by environmental concerns. I agree it should be allowed to rest at some point but i dont think Nepal should give into Chinese pressure. Also giving it a rest would affect the livelyhood of many people not just publicity craving westerners so maybe it should be sacrificed for the greater good of the himalayas. It would be fantastic if some climbers or better still tibetan climbers could 'intecept' the chinese and their olympic torch.
12 Mar, 2008
And kill them or something? What an odd suggestion... not really in the Olympic spirit, are we? PS. BTW, Tibetans are Chinese too... some will be in the Olympic team perhaps... will you boo them too?
12 Mar, 2008
Presumably you think that there is an environmentat problem? This would be solved by cleaning the mountain. The arbitrary authoritarian way in which the Chinese have shut down access is not good news, It's going to increase pressure later on and damage the livelihoods of the everest industry. Havig said that I think the typical climber attempting Everest whould be more richly rewarded spending that time and money getting real mountaineering training and experience and then doing a few 4000ers in the Alps under their own steam.
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