15 Feb 2014

Everest fees to be reduced

1:05 pm on 15 February 2014

Nepal is to reduce climbing fees for Mt Everest and other Himalayan peaks to attract more mountaineers, despite concerns of overcrowding during the climbing season.

The government will cut licence fees for foreign individuals trying to scale the world's highest peak from $US25,000 to $US11,000 from next year.

However, tourism ministry official Dipendra Paudel said on Friday fees for group expeditions to Everest will go up, in a bid to discourage large numbers climbing together and to reduce tensions on the mountain during peak months.

Under existing rules, groups of seven climbers pay $US70,000 in total, which officials say encourages climbers of varying abilities to club together. But under the new fees, a group of seven pays $US77,000.

"The past rules led to a situation where a team had several members, not all of them equally competent," Paudel said.

"We also realised that this often resulted in clashes among the mountaineers. This format also hampered the rescue efforts," he said.

"We hope the new measure would help increase the number of climbers (overall)," Paudel added.

An aerial view of Mt Everest (centre).

An aerial view of Mt Everest (centre). Photo: AFP (2003 - file)

Hundreds scale Mt Everest every year, but many climbers warn of the dangers of overcrowding during the climbing season from March to May.

There was a brawl last year between three European climbers and Nepalese guides.

Photographs showing queues of climbers waiting their turn to reach the summit, as well as gathering mounds of rubbish, have also highlighted problems on the "roof of the world".

Under the new fees, individual climbers tackling other 8,000-metre peaks will be charged $US1800 instead of the existing $US5000.

Mt Everest contributes $US3 million to Nepal annually.