Mount Everest has closed for the rest of the climbing season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nepal’s government confirmed yesterday that the world’s tallest mountain will be shut to expeditions between March 14 and April 30. The decision comes a day after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic. Everest is now closed from the north side (Tibet) and the south side (Nepal).
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Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai announced that “as a precaution” against the outbreak “climbing this season has been closed”. The country will not allow climbers access to any of its Himalayan peaks. Nepal has so far confirmed just one case of the virus.
Nepal earns $4-million in climbing permit fees every year for its mountains, according to local estimates and is home to eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks. A permit to climb Everest costs $11,000 and the two-week summit window normally begins in the second week of May
Adrian Ballinger of Squaw Valley, CA based Alpenglow Expeditions accepted the decision, saying: “While canceling a climb is never an outcome we want, this time, it’s the responsible thing to do.”
In the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak, China had already canceled all Everest expeditions from the Tibetan side.