Nepal Mandates Tracking Chips for Mount Everest Climbers

Nepal implements a new requirement for climbers ascending Mount Everest, mandating the use of tracking chips during their expedition. This measure, aimed at enhancing safety and expediting search and rescue operations, entails climbers renting and utilizing GPS-equipped chips sewn into their jackets. The decision comes amidst growing concerns over climbing safety and the need to streamline rescue efforts in the treacherous terrain of the world's highest peak.

Nepal Mandates Tracking Chips for Mount Everest Climbers

Nepal has announced a new mandate for all Mount Everest climbers ahead of the 2024 season: the use of tracking chips throughout their ascent.

Rakesh Gurung, director of Nepal’s department of tourism, stated to CNN that while reputable companies were previously utilizing these chips, it is now compulsory for all climbers. This measure aims to reduce search and rescue duration in case of accidents.

Each climber will be required to rent and use a tracking chip, costing between $10 to $15, which will be sewn into their jackets. Once the expedition is completed, the chip will be removed, returned to the government, and reserved for subsequent climbers.

These tracking chips operate via the global positioning system (GPS) to relay information to satellites. Although Gurung mentioned that the chips were manufactured in "a European country," specific details regarding the manufacturer or location were not disclosed.

Nepal, home to eight of the world's ten highest peaks, including Mount Everest, generates substantial tourism revenue from mountaineering. Climbing Everest via Nepal involves hefty expenses, with climbing permits alone costing $11,000 per person, and total expenses exceeding $35,000 including gear, guides, and supplies.

The ascent of Mount Everest typically takes up to two months, with a narrow window for summiting usually in mid-May due to weather conditions.

Despite the risks involved, rescues at such high altitudes are challenging. In 2023, Gelje Sherpa, aged 30, forfeited his summit attempt to execute a daring rescue of a Malaysian climber in the Everest "death zone."

According to Bigyan Koirala, an official from the Department of Tourism, rescuing climbers at extreme altitudes is nearly impossible, highlighting the perilous nature of climbing at the world's highest peaks.

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Abdulkadir ŞEKER

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