Substandard Equipment 'Making Mountaineering Riskier'

Substandard Equipment 'Making Mountaineering Riskier'

 04 Apr, 2021
By Chhetu Sherpa Rising Nepal

Kathmandu, Apr. 4: The mountain guides have appealed to the government to properly regulate the implementation of the rules related to the protection of the mountain climbers as the risk of fatalities is high for lack of the prior management of rules and regulation for mountain climbers.

They have stressed safe mountain climbing with prior protective gear intact citing the increased facilities for lack of rope trail as per the international standard or lack of proper tie in case of already installed rope trail.

All the high mountain ranges of the country such as Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Manaslu, Makalu and Kanchenjunga are climbed through rope trails. But, the lack of regulation of the needed equipment for climbing is posing risks and resulting in casualties.

Tul Singh Gurung, General Secretary at Nepal National Mountain Guide Association (NNMGA) appealed to the Department of Tourism (DoT) for all the needed equipment for mountain climbing citing the fatalities invited by the lack of regulation on the equipment used for climbing.

There is a regulation that the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) should certify after testing all the installed rope trail before putting them in use.

However, Gurung said that there is an appeal to the department to have a careful watch on the prior process citing the below-average quality of equipment used or having used the lopsided rope trail.

The international mountain climbers have shown dissatisfaction with the installed equipment for mountain climbing such as ropes, jumper, ice axe, harness, carabineer, rock piton road for they are not up to the standard.

Sagarmatha pollution control committee (SPCC) has installed the rope trail up to the second camp and from then onwards, the Nepal Mountaineering Association has shouldered the responsibility.

Sharmila Lama, a mountain climber said, “We can trace the old ropes along the trail for lack of management of the old ropes as they are not managed by bringing it to the base camp.”

She said that the first-time climber, cannot differentiate between the old and new ropes and sometimes climbs on the old rope which causes fatalities and accidents.

The mountain guides claimed that even the name of the country is muddled through by various mountain climbers for lack of proper regulation monitoring all the protective gears. Guides have put forward the suggestion to the DoT not to shoulder the rope tying responsibility to uncertified people and companies.

Lakpa Sherpa, Chairperson at the Nepal Mountaineering Instructors Association (NMIA) said, "If we fail to put concern on the regulation of the equipment used for mountain climbing then it can lead to drain the image of mountaineering of Nepal."

He has appealed to the government for tightening the screw on monitoring and regulating the prior process as well as on the equipment used during mountaineering.

Mohan Bahadur GC, spokesperson at the DoT said that one communication officer is deployed every year for regulating the process and equipment used.

There are numerous examples of the fatalities that are caused by the ignorance on the part of the government in regulating all the equipment and protective gear for mountain climbers.

There is an allegation that the tied ropes are not as per the standard as one has to climb numerous hard rocks besides climbing on ice. The ropes need to be hanged about 40 degrees and have to tie to another rope through a locking carabineer but in Nepal, ropes are compounded on each other which causes breakage on a rope because of heat and excessive rub leading to fatal accidents.