Urging climbers to not give up their expeditions on Mount Everest, Tourism Minister of Nepal, Tulsi Gautam said that the repairs are under way and the climbing season can start from next week.
The avalanches triggered on Mount Everest due to the massive earthquake in Nepal on Sunday claimed the life of 18 mountaineers. The earthquake had also destroyed ladders through the treacherous Khumbu icefall higher up the mountain, casting clouds of doubt over the upcoming climbing season.
“The ladders will be repaired in the next two to three days and climbing will continue, there is no reason for anyone to quit their expedition,” Gautam told a news agency.
He also said that the government had held talks with mountaineers and guides and they were ready to resume the activity.
A 70-year-old Chinese mountaineer who lost both legs to frostbite while attempting to climb Mount Everest four decades ago has successfully climbed the mountain in his fifth attempt.
Xia Boyu, 70, reached the top of the world’s highest peak at 8.40 a.m. on Monday, becoming the first double leg amputee to accomplish the feat from the Nepal side, said Tourism Ministry official Gyanendra Shrestha from Everest Base Camp, the Kathmandu Post reported on Tuesday.
More than 50 other climbers also succeeded in scaling the summit, said the official.
The same day Steve Plain, an Australian, also reached the Everest, setting a speed record for climbing the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents.
Xia was part of a 20-man Chinese Everest expedition mission that tried to scale the 8,848 metre peak in 1975. However, about 200 metre from the top the climbers were forced to turn back due to high-altitude storms.
That time Xia suffered severe frostbite and lost both his legs. He returned to Mount Everest in 2014, but an avalanche killed 16 Nepali high-altitude guides that time, forcing the expedition to call off its summit bid.
He was back in 2015, but again the climbing season was abandoned when a powerful earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, killing 20 on the Everest.
Xia made his last attempt in 2016 but bad weather forced him to turn back. His dream was nearly shattered after the government amended the Mountaineering Expedition Regulation in December, prohibiting double amputees, persons without arms and legs and blind persons from attempting to climb mountains in Nepal.
However, disability advocacy groups filed a petition in the Supreme Court, arguing that the government had violated the rights of differently-abled people and the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities.
Subsequently, the court overruled the controversial government ban in March, allowing Xia to fulfil his four-decade-old dream.
Xia was quoted by the People’s Daily telling a friend earlier this week that he had been preparing for the moment for 43 years.