Kathmandu, March 10
Nepals Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has put a ban on taking and circulating pictures, videos and filming of other climbers or members of expedition teams on Mt Everest other than of oneself starting this season.
Issuing a notice on Wednesday, the Department of Tourism put the ban, saying that each climber can take, share and make images and videos of their group or of oneself, but they will face action if they take, make and share photos of other climbers without the department’s consent.
In the wake of a picture that went viral on May 2019 about the “traffic jam” on Mt Everest taken by one record holder climber, Nirmal Purja, Nepali officials have been facing other similar kinds of criticism by the international media over the threat to the Himalayan eco-system.
The mountaineering community and some international media have criticized the hollow management of the Nepal government in managing the expedition on Mt Everest after the photo, “traffic jam in Everest” went viral.
Later, several other climbers took pictures of other climbers, filming at the top of Mt Everest and circulated them on the Internet.
Officials said some other attempts were made to defame Mt Everest’s tourism management by circulating the pictures like piling of garbage at Everest base camp, an avalanche in Everest during the earthquake in 2015.
“Such activities have given negative publicity about the Everest so we decided to put a ban on taking pictures, movie and filming in the Everest by others,” Mira Acharya, an official at Nepal’s Tourism Department told the Nepali media, “to stop these kinds of negative publicity, we have come up with the new guideline that includes other mountains in the country as well”.
Nepal has eight mountains whose heights are higher than 8,000 metres and Nepal witnesses a huge rush of mountaineers during the climbing season that generally falls in mid-May.
Similarly, the new guideline also stated that any climber should have appropriate medical and health conditions for climbing the mountains.
In the past, due to some climbers, who did not have the appropriate health and medical conditions to climb the mountains, emergency rescue operations had to be mounted.
“We honour the personal freedom of climbers, but that does not mean they can post images and videos of others without their consent. Either through commercial cameras or mobile sets, all such activities have been banned,” Acharya told the Nepali media here.
If anyone intends to disseminate still photographs and videos of people, avalanches and even dead bodies on the mountain among other things, they must secure consent from the Department of Tourism, the government agency that issues Everest climbing permits, the Kathmandu Post quoted the official.
According to Ang Tsering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, though, it would not be possible to prevent the dissemination of videos or photos taken on Everest because millennials stand out for their use of technology, and even the older generation has embraced digital life.
“You make a click here and in an instant, your photo goes around the world,” he told the newspaper.
A total of 6,507 mountaineers have climbed Everest from the Nepal side since Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and New Zealander Edmund Hillary first set foot atop the world’s highest peak in May 1953.
The year 2019 was significant in terms of records set on the world’s tallest peak. On May 22 and 23, a total of 223 and 212 climbers reached the summit, which has been recorded as the highest and the second-highest number of climbers on the top of Everest on any particular day.
There were no expeditions last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused Nepal loss of millions in revenue, while thousands of people in the Himalayan region were rendered jobless.
Foreigners pay $11,000 for a permit to climb Everest and spend anywhere between $40,000 and $90,000 for the entire expedition. — IANS