Asia

Nepal mulls Everest age and disability restrictions

File image of Mount Everest Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mount Everest attracts climbers from all over the world

The Nepalese government is considering banning anyone deemed too young or too old or with a severe disability from climbing Mount Everest.

A spokesman said under new proposals, no-one younger than 18 or older than 75 would be allowed to climb.

The ministry of tourism could also insist that all climbers have previous mountaineering experience.

Nepal makes millions of dollars every year from the Everest industry but has been criticised for poor management.

In 2014, the mountain was closed after 16 Sherpas (guides) died in an accident.

And earlier this year, the climbing season was called off after a massive earthquake triggered an avalanche that killed 18 climbers.

Over the past decade many people have sought to establish world records on the world's highest mountain, a practice the government wants to discourage.

The youngest person to climb Mount Everest was 13 and the oldest 80.

"We don't think we should issue permits to people who cannot see or walk or who don't have arms," tourism department chief Govinda Karki told AFP news agency.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A huge earthquake in April triggered a deadly earthquake on the mountain

"Climbing Everest is not a joke... it is not a matter of discrimination. How can you climb without legs? Someone will have to carry you up. We want to make the mountains safer for everyone, so we have to insist on some rules."

Mr Karki also said the government was considering only issuing permits to climbers who have already scaled another mountain above 6,500m (21,300ft).

Over the years, Everest has attracted many climbers aiming to overcome their disabilities.

Last week, Japanese mountaineer Nobukazu Kuriki, who had previously lost nine fingers to frostbite, abandoned his attempt to climb the mountain.

In 2006, New Zealander Mark Inglis, who had lost both legs to frostbite, became the first double amputee to reach the 8,848m (29,029ft) summit.

Five years earlier, US climber Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind person to reach the top of Everest.

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