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23 Jan 2018 7:10
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  •   Home > News > International

    Nepal bans solo, amputee and visually impaired climbers in effort to reduce accidents and deaths

    New rules mean all of the country's peaks are now off limit to many would-be climbers — among them a Gurkha veteran who lost both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan.


    Nepal has banned solo, visually impaired and double amputee climbers from attempting its many mountains, including the world's highest peak Mount Everest, in a bid to reduce accidents.

    Each year the Himalayan nation attracts thousands of climbers wanting to push their boundaries or overcome their disabilities by ascending some of the world's most challenging terrain.

    More than 600 people successfully climbed Mt Everest in 2017, and six people died trying.

    Among them was an 85-year-old-man attempting to reclaim his record as the oldest person to climb the mountain.

    World-renowned and widely-respected Swiss mountaineer Ueli Steck perished while trying to climb a neighbouring peak in an acclimatisation exercise.

    Gurkha veteran banned but says he will climb anyway

    One of the would-be summiteers whose plans appear to have been dashed by the ban is Nepalese Gurkha veteran Hari Budha Magar, who lost both his legs in an explosion while serving with the British Army in Afghanistan in 2010.

    He wanted to become the first above-the-knee double amputee to conquer the world's highest peak.

    "Nepal should be proud of me, not banning me," he said in a Facebook post.

    "There is no such country which bans disabled people from climbing," he said.

    He said the ban amounted to discrimination, and said he would try to climb Mount Everest in the 2018 spring season in defiance of the government's ban.

    Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 highest peaks.

    Lone climbers enjoy the challenge of climbing alone, but large tour groups where less-experienced mountaineers pay for layers of local support and climbing guidance are a profitable venture.

    People under 16 years old are already banned from gaining climbing permits in Nepal.

    The new rules will also mandate that foreign climbers must employ a local guide.

    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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