22 Feb 2014

Brawling on top of the world

12:00 am on 22 February 2014

Just over 60 years ago, the world celebrated as Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay cooperated to conquer Everest - but now Nepal is deploying security staff at Everest base camp to clamp down on brawls between climbers.

Crowding on the Hillary Step - with conflict not far behind.

Crowding on the Hillary Step - with conflict not far behind. Photo: AFP

Last April a fight erupted between European mountaineers and a group of Sherpas at 7470m, raising concerns about the safety and security of climbers.

Although that dispute was eventually resolved, the BBC reports that Everest's slopes are becoming more crowded - and more rowdy.

An office staffed by army and police will open in April at Everest base camp as the climbing season gets under way.

Nepali tourism ministry official Dipendra Poudel said that the security team of nine will comprise three officers each from Nepal's army, police and armed police force.

He added that they would be assisted by officials from the tourism ministry.

Ropes dispute

Last year's brawl - which made headlines around the world - was allegedly over the fixing of ropes on the slope.

Officials say the new office will also be able to help climbers in distress, clean the mountain and enforce climbing rules, .

More than 3000 people have scaled 8848m Mount Everest since Hillary and Tenzing .