In a first, the Nepal government has decided to issue licenses for mountaineering guides to climb the Himalayan mountains.
To date, based on the recommendation of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, an institution comprising several stakeholders in the mountaineering sector, the government had allowed the guides to travel with the mountaineers, reports Xinhua news agency.
“We are issuing the licenses to the mountaineering guides for the first time. The licensed guides will be responsible for helping the mountaineers to climb the country’s mountains,” Meera Acharya, undersecretary at the Department of Tourism, which issues mountaineering permits, told Xinhua.
She said that a notice will be issued regarding the criteria to obtain a license in the next few days.
“The policy will be implemented right after the notice is issued,” she said.
According to Ang Tshering Sherpa, former President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, there are over 8,000 mountaineering guides in the country.
After receiving names of potential mountaineering guides from expedition agencies, the association recommends the names to the Nepali government for approval to work as guides for expeditions.
Most of the mountaineering guides are from Nepal’s Sherpa community, which is world-famous for mountain climbing.
Mingma Sherpa, the chairperson of Seven Summit Treks, one of the leading mountaineering expedition companies in Nepal, said that the government needs to issue different categories of licenses based on the experiences and expertise of the climbing guides.
“Issuing the same licenses to all the mountaineering guides would not be practical as a guide who has climbed Mt. Everest several times and one who has not climbed any tall mountains, could not be compared,” he said.
According to Nepal’s Department of Tourism, it issued permits to 2,166 climbers to summit mountains in in 2019, and 985 had succeeded in climbing them successfully.