Nepal Opens New Mountaineering Options

The government of Nepal will allow mountain climbers onto five new routes on two of its tallest peaks starting this fall. The new routes include three sub-summits of Mount Kanchenjunga, third highest in the world, and two sub-summits of Mount Lhotse, fourth highest.

Nepal is home to eight of the ten highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest at 29,035 feet / 8,848 meters. The main summits of Kanchenjunga and Lhotse are, respectively, just over and just under 28,000 feet / 8,500 to 8,600 meters, and the newly-opened sub-summits – Kanchenjunga Central, Kanchenjunga South, and Kanchenjunga West; Lhotse Middle and Lhotse Shar – are all over 27,500 feet / 8,300 meters tall.

All of the over-8,000-meter mountains in Nepal are open for climbing already, so the new initiative will not be a dramatic change. But allowing expeditions to target the sub-peaks or to include them in expeditions to the main summits will give climbers new challenges and should expand mountaineering in the country.

And Tshering Sherpa of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said that the new routes will “bring new challenges to veteran climbers and light up the imaginations of youth.”

The eight main peaks earned Nepal almost half a million dollars in climbing permit fees last year and far more than that in revenue to mountaineering companies in the country. Everest climbing permits cost $25,000 for an individual and $10,000 per person in a group. Total cost for climbers average more than $50,000.

The International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation based in Switzerland is expected to endorse the new peaks at their annual general meeting in October.

kanchenjunga area

John Child is The NewsBlaze Nepal Correspondent, a journalist in Kathmandu who writes about goings-on in and around Nepal and her neighbors.