KATHMANDU (Agencies): Nepal has issued permits for a record 463 climbers so far for this spring season’s expeditions to Mount Everest even as experts worry about dangerous overcrowding at the summit.
Some 367 male and 96 female climbers from 65 countries have received permission so far to scale the tallest mountain in the world from Nepal’s side, Yubaraj Khatiwada, the director of Nepal’s Tourism Department, told CNN. American and Chinese mountaineers top the list.
Spring is the prime time to climb Mount Everest, although some mountaineers might climb in the less favorable autumn season.
Most climbers try to ascend the peak in May. There’s a brief window of time – usually after mid-May – when temperatures are warmer, and the high-altitude winds known as the jet stream have moved away from the mountains.
The climbers, along with staff members and Sherpa guides, would spend nearly two weeks hiking to the Everest base camp, which sits at an altitude of around 17,000 feet (almost 5,200 meters).
They would then spend about two weeks adjusting to the altitude and waiting on good weather conditions before continuing for another four days, reaching other camps and finally ascending to the summit.
Mountaineers have warned of the dangers of overcrowding on Everest.
Large numbers of people trying to reach the summit during a short time frame have led to traffic jams at the summit in the past, with hundreds of people waiting in line to reach Everest’s top.
The more than 460 climbers who have received permission to climb this spring will be accompanied by more than 1,500 Nepali Sherpas and other staff at the base camp and above. To avoid overcrowding, Nepali authorities say they are setting up more than one rope wherever possible.