China is planning to create a "line of separation" on the world's highest summit to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the mountain. | Flickr photo.
In one of the weirder headlines surrounding COVID we’ve seen in the last 12 months, Chinese media reported that a team of mountain guides is heading up the Tibetan side of Mount Everest to draw a “line of separation” on the summit, in the hope that it will prevent close contact of climbers coming up from opposite sides of the mountain. Both the Nepalese side and the Tibetan side are popular climbing routes to the summit. Nepal has not canceled its spring mountaineering season, despite large numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country, and China hopes this marked line will help prevent the spread of the disease on the mountain.
It is unclear how and if this separation will be enforced, given that the summit of Everest is a tiny and incredibly inhospitable place, and shared by the two nations. Much of the traffic jam that occurs with climbers in close proximity happens while on the summit ridges, not on the actual summit. China has restricted foreign and tourist access to base camp on the Tibetan side of the mountain.
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.
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