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Nepal bans solo climbers from scaling Everest

Nepal has banned solo climbers from scaling its mountains, including Mount Everest, in a bid to reduce accidents, an official said Saturday.

The cabinet late Thursday endorsed a revision to the Himalayan nation’s mountaineering regulations, banning solo climbers from its mountains — one of a string of measures being flagged ahead of the 2018 spring climbing season.

“The changes have barred solo expeditions, which were allowed before,” Maheshwor Neupane, secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, told AFP.

Neupane said that the law was revised to make mountaineering safer and decrease deaths.

​Experienced Swiss climber Ueli Steck lost his life in April this year when he slipped and fell from a steep ridge during a solo acclimatization climb to Nuptse, a peak neighboring Everest.

The ban is likely to anger elite solo mountaineers, who enjoy the challenge of climbing alone, even eschewing bottled oxygen, and who blame a huge influx of commercial expeditions for creating potentially deadly bottlenecks on the world’s tallest peak.

Officials carry the body of Nepalese mountaineer Min Bahadur Sherchan, airlifted from Everest Base Camp to a hospital in Kathmandu, on May 7, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The cabinet also endorsed a ban on double amputee and blind climbers, although Everest has drawn multitudes of mountaineers wanting to overcome their disabilities and achieve the formidable feat.

Thousands of mountaineers flock to Nepal — home to eight of the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 meters — each spring and autumn when clear weather provides good climbing conditions.

Almost 450 climbers — 190 foreigners and 259 Nepalis — reached the summit of Everest from the south side in Nepal last year.

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