Kathmandu: Several cracks and holes have developed in the Mount Everest region due to last year’s devastating earthquakes that killed about 9,000 people across Nepal, according to a specialist team responsible for maintaining the climbing route on the world’s highest peak.
“The great earthquakes of April 25 and May as well as a large number of aftershocks have caused some damage in the Everest region,” Ang Tshering Sherpa, chairman of Nepal Mountaineering Association, said.
“The ice-fall doctors fixing the ladders and ropes have informed that due to the cracks and holes developed on the slope of the mountain they need to fix more ladders this time,” he said.
Icefall doctors are Sherpa mountaineers charged with repairing the climbing route on Mount Everest.
“This time we need 10 doctors, which is more than the usual number of six to fix the ropes and install aluminium ladders,” Sherpa told Press Trust of India.
They also need more time to fix the ladders due to the problem, he added.
So far, more than 440 aftershocks with magnitude 4 or more have hit Nepal after the two earthquakes last year.
The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) has been authorised to fix ladders and ropes in the mountains.
The ice-fall doctors prepare the route from the base camp to usually camp I, paving the way for climbers to ascend the peak. However, it may also require to fix ropes in few places above the camp I.
Due to the delay in fixing ropes, the climbers, who have already reached the base camp are yet to start their climb towards the peak.
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.