China has canceled their Everest climbing season, and Nepal's situation around COVID-19 is deteriorating rapidly. | Wikipedia photo.
This year’s mountaineering season on Everest seems to be about two separate stories, one of extremely limited access to the Chinese side of the mountain, and one of the typical crowds on the Nepalese side. China has now officially canceled mountaineering access to the north, largely as a precaution against a raging COVID-19 outbreak in the Nepalese base camp. Nepal, with a struggling economy that relies largely on climbing and trekking tourism, opted to issue over 400 climbing permits this year to international climbers. Naturally, the risk of contracting a respiratory disease like COVID-19 compounds at altitude, yet Sherpa and guides were still willing to work on the mountain in order to provide much-needed support their families. While several teams have already summited and are off the mountain, and some commercial guiding companies already opting to pull the plug on their trips, nearly 250 climbers are still waiting in base camp for the next weather window to open up. Two climbers died high on the mountain last week; their deaths were not attributed to COVID-19. Professional climbers Kilian Jornet and David Goettler, looking to link Everest and neighboring Lhotse in one push, are also still on the mountain.
The Khumbu Valley is now again under lockdown orders, and officials have set up medical isolation units down valley at the Lukla airport for patients being transported from base camp. With numbers country-wide still on the rise, and now surpassing neighboring India both in deaths and in per-capita infections, Nepal is being forced into an extremely tough position.
Two climbers died on Everest earlier this week, with the usual crowds and a COVID-19 outbreak in basecamp complicating this year's climbing season. | Wikimedia photo. The Everest climbing season officially began earlier this month, and with the first teams summitting just a few days ago tragically came the first fatalities of the season. Two climbers (a Swiss-Pakistani and an American) were reported to have died on the upper mountain from altitude sickness on Wednesday. The guiding company
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