(FILE) Hong Kong climber Tsang Yin-hung (C) waves along with her expedition team members upon her arrival from Everest base camp in Kathmandu, Nepal, 30 May 2021. EFE/EPA/NARENDRA SHRESTHA

Nepal registers record 454 climbers to summit Everest

Kathmandu, Apr 23 (EFE).- Nepal has issued a record 454 permits to climb Everest this spring, officials told EFE on Sunday, raising fears of overcrowding and jams on the world’s highest peak.

“We have issued 454 climbing permits, a record,” Yubaraj Khatiwada, director of Nepal’s Department of Tourism, told EFE, adding that the total could reach 500.

A growing number of climbers are looking to summit Everest and Nepal issued a record 409 permits in 2021, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

As many as 96 Chinese climbers will want to reach the peak this year, the largest group by nationality, after Beijing lifted pandemic border restrictions and imposed a new rule requiring mountaineers to have climbed a peak over 8,000 meters before attempting Everest from the Chinese side.

“The number of Chinese (climbers) has increased in Nepal because of that rule,” mountaineering expert Ang Tshering Sherpa told EFE.

As climbers acclimatize for the ascent, Nepal Expedition Operators Association president Dambar Parajuli told EFE that Sherpas have opened the route up to Camp 4, at 7,900 meters above sea level.

“We expect the climbing to begin in the first week of May,” Parajuli said.

While the record influx of mountaineers has raised fears of jams of hundreds of people trying to the ascent, it also means more revenue for Nepal, whose official coffers have already received $4.8 million for Everest climbing permits alone.

Each foreigner pays about $11,000 per permit, plus expenses of between $40,000 and $90,000 for equipment and climbing companions. EFE