Kathmandu, December 16: All climbers seeking a permit to summit Mount Everest will now need to disclose their full medical history, according to a set of new rules drafted by Nepal's Tourism Department.
In addition to disclosing their medical history, climbers must also submit a medical report by a certified doctor, along with a mandatory insurance in order to obtain the permit to climb mountains in Nepal, including the world's tallest peak, The Kathmandu Post reported on Sunday. Saray Khumalo Becomes First Black African Woman to Scale Mount Everest.
The rules, which will come into effect from the next climbing season once approved, were drafted in an effort to determine that only climbers in good health attempt the high-altitude challenge, after nine persons died on Everest this year.
This was the highest number of deaths during a single season in the past four years.
"As most deaths occurred due to fitness and health issues, we (the government) have come up with these strict measures," said Mira Acharya, Director at the Department. "The draft of the new rules was submitted to the Tourism Ministry last week."
Once the Tourism Ministry approves the rules, they will be forwarded to the Cabinet for ratification.
Until now, climbers below the age of 16, persons with serious diseases and a criminal history were the only ones barred from climbing mountains.
"Besides these three rules, Nepal's mountains were open for all," said Acharya.
Regarding the insurance, the Director said: "It's search, rescue and treatment insurance, which will allow rescues and prompt treatment if the mountaineer is ill or stuck at high altitude... The insurance will also partly cover retrieval of the body in case of death."
Retrieving a body above the death zone, which is above 8,000 metres, can cost around $200,000 and costs to rescue people below the death zone ranges from $20,000 to $60,000, The Kathmanfu Post quoted rescue operators as saying.
Meanwhile, a government official said that they have not come up with a policy to restrict the number of climbers on the world's highest peak next year, largely due to the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign, which aims to bring in 2 million tourists next year.
"We have a restriction in mind but not for next year," he added.
According to the Tourism Department, 223 mountaineers ascended Mount Everest on May 22, 2019, setting a new record for the highest number of climbers to stand on top of the world in a single day.