Mountaineers seeking climbing permission for the first time in Nepal are getting attracted to small mountains. According to the Department of Tourism, there has been an unprecedented increase in the interest to climb mountains between 6,000-8,000 meters. Altogether 1,118 people have applied for the same this autumn.
According to the department, 1,001 climbers sought permissions for 45 different mountains between September and November. The department director Mira Acharya informs that the number could further increase as the department will be handing out permits for a couple more weeks.
Compared to the past, this year climbers are attracted towards more new mountains. There are 414 mountains that Nepal has opened for mountaineering. Of them, 86 have never been scaled before. This autumn, the mountaineers have thus far sought permits for six new mountains—Amphu 1 (6,740m), Hanku Chuli (6,433m), Hangu Sarupic (6,764m), Linchu Chuli (6,659 m), Panpoche 1 (6,620m), Panpoche 2 (6,504m). In the case of successful ascents of these six, there will now be only 80 virgin above-6,500 mountains that are open for mountaineering in Nepal.
Climbers need to seek trekking permit for above 6,500m. As trekking permits are mandatory, only actual mountaineers are known to climb these mountains.
Every year, climbers attempt to scale new mountains to set new records. They want to list their name as the first on mountain-top. Mountaineers often go through the virgin list and try to climb those that have not been attempted before.
There are more than 1,300 mountains in Nepal. However, according to Nepal Mountaineering Association, the country has not been able to successfully promote them and thus only a fraction of them are open for climbing. The association has asked for the private sector to be given the responsibility of mountain promotion for the coming tourism year. Currently, the association gives permissions for 27 above-6,500 mountains. Every year, it collects more than Rs 100 million in royalty.
According to the Department of Tourism, this autumn season 10 members of two climbing teams came seeking permission to climb Mount Everest. As only spring season is suitable to climb the Everest, both the teams were unsuccessful. The Department further informs that no team has in this season attempted Nuptse and Lhotse that involves passing through a treacherous route to Everest. Acharya says ascent efforts fail in this season because of falling ice, snow accumulation and unpredictable winds.
This autumn, climbers have been most attracted to Manaslu (8,163m) and Ama Dablam (6,814m). Until 31 October, 264 members from 27 teams have gone to climb Manaslu after getting permission. Similarly, 301 members from 26 teams have taken permits for Ama Dablam, according to the department. Among the 1,118 climbers from 62 different countries, 880 are men and 238 women. These climbers come from 62 different countries, and the department has collected Rs 63.6 million in royalty from them.