Qomolangma not officially closed to climbers, Nepal says

Updated: 2015-05-05 09:22


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Qomolangma not officially closed to climbers, Nepal says

The Mount Qomolangma south base camp in Nepal is seen on April 26, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

KATHMANDU - Mount Qomolangma remains open to climbers, a senior official at Nepal's tourism department said on Monday, despite avalanches after last month's devastating earthquake destroyed much of the established route to the summit of the world's highest peak.

Nepal's worst earthquake in decades has killed more than 7,200 people, including at least 18 climbers on Qomolangma who were hit by a massive avalanche that wiped out part of the base camp.

But Nepal, which makes millions of dollars from climbers, has hesitated over whether or not to officially close the mountain, and on Monday was still leaving the decision to individual climbers on whether to press ahead.

Climbers pay $11,000 each to climb Qomolangma, and 357 were registered for this climbing season.

"The government will not officially announce the closure because we have given the permit to climbers," Tulsi Prasad Gautam of Nepal's tourism department told Reuters.

"The route is still damaged and the climbers at base camp don't think the route will be fixed anytime soon. It's up to the climbers and the organisers who are at base camp to take a decision: we are not asking them to do one thing or another."

Gautam, who last Thursday said a team would be able to repair the route through the treacherous Khumbu icefalls within a week, said on Monday that small tremors were still being felt on Qomolangma.

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