Nepal: 165 new peaks open to climbers

 

Kathmandu : Nepal is gearing up to offer adventure tourists new climbing challenges next year by opening 165 virgin peaks to climbers, officials said.

"Of around 1,500 peaks in the country, only 326 are currently open for climbers. This needs to change. We are aiming to gradually open more and more peaks to attract more and more climbers," Mohan Krishna Sapkota , a Tourism Ministry spokesman said.

The peaks Nepal is preparing to open range in height from 5,500 meters to the 8,077-meter Yalungkhang West located in the Kanchenjunga massif in eastern Nepal, said Ang Tshering Sherpa, convener of a government committee formed to locate and recommend new peaks for climbing.

In Nepal, mountains lower than 5,500 meters are not considered peaks.

"We have recognized that the best way to develop the country's rural areas is by developing them as mountain tourism destinations. The peaks we have recommended for climbing are located in such a way that all regions of the country can benefit from tourism," Sherpa, who is also a former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said.

Many of the peaks are unnamed.

Among them, four have been selected to be named after mountaineering legends Sir Edmund Hillary from New Zealand, Tenzing Norgay from Nepal, Maurice Herzog from France and Louis Lachenal from France.

In 1953, Hillary and Norgay became the first men to climb Mt. Everest.

Earlier in 1950, Herzog and Lachenal climbed Mt. Annapurna, becoming the first men to climb an 8,000-meter peak.

The four are credited for having made the biggest contribution to promoting mountain tourism in Nepal.

Naming mountains after them is the best tribute to their contribution to the country, officials said.

A 7,681-meter peak and a 7,916-meter peak, both between Mt. Everest and Mt. Cho Oyu in eastern Nepal, have been picked for being named after Hillary and Norgay, respectively.

Similarly, a 7,555-meter peak and a 7,140-meter peak, both near the Annapurna range in western Nepal, have been selected to be named after Herzog and Lachenal, Sherpa said.

Mountaineers, Alpine clubs, expedition operators and trekking agencies around the world, apart from locals in Nepal, have long asked the government to open new peaks. The last time government opened new peaks was in 2004.

Nepal's mountains attract thousands of climbers every year, providing significant contribution to the economy and employing thousands in Nepal.- Kyodo News ( Sept 6,2013 )

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