Sherpas search for new route on mount everest

On the "Goddess of Turquoise" : Sherpas search for new route on Mount Everest

View from the airplane of the Himalayan mountains with Mount Everest. There should soon be a new route for mountaineers on the eight-thousander

Kathmandu A new route up one of the most popular eight-thousanders should attract more foreign climbers to the Himalayas. Nepalese mountain guides set out for a dangerous side of the mountain.

By Roshan Sedhai and Anne-Sophie Galli, dpa

It is considered one of the most feasible eight-thousanders, of which it is the second most climbed in the world. More than 4,000 people have climbed the 8,188-meter peak of Mount Cho Oyu in the Himalayas, according to data from the expedition archive "Himalayan Database".

Only on Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, were about 6000 people more. Now two groups of Nepalese Sherpa mountain guides hope to attract even more climbers from abroad to Mount Cho Oyu soon – by finding a second route that can be mastered easily.

Ascent from the Tibetan side

The route that almost everyone uses so far starts in Tibet. However, the mountain with the Tibetan name "Goddess of Turquoise" is located on the Chinese-Nepalese border, and the Nepalese Sherpas now want to find a good route from their homeland. Currently, the Nepalese side of the mountain is considered more dangerous. There are more avalanches and more rocks, says US mountaineer and blogger Alan Arnette. Also need much more technical skills.

The Sherpa teams see potential, as their team leaders tell the Deutsche Presse-Agentur in an interview. For example, China has not issued permits to foreigners to climb its Himalayan mountains since 2020 as part of its strict Corona policy. Such climbing permits are needed in China and Nepal.

And China is more restrictive even apart from the pandemic, Sherpa mountain guides say – partly because the People’s Republic doesn’t want to approve many trips to politically sensitive Tibet, and to prevent a logjam of climbers on the mountains. In addition, the price of a Cho Oyu climbing permit in the high season in spring from Tibet is about 9000 US dollars, whereas in Nepal it is only 1800.

Sherpas want to fix ropes in more difficult places

The mission of the two Sherpa teams, each with around a dozen members, has made many headlines in Nepal. The reason: Some of them are considered to be particularly good mountain guides, which is also underlined by data from the "Himalayan Database".

The 29-year-old leader of one team, Gelje Sherpa, has climbed 12 of the world’s 14 eight-thousanders, and he was a team member of the first winter mission on the world’s second-highest mountain, K2 on the China-Pakistan border. Climbs in winter are considered especially difficult because it’s colder and windier then. In the other group, Mingma Dorchi Sherpa has climbed the highest mountain Everest and the fourth highest mountain Lothse on the same day, teammate Pemba Sherpa has already climbed Mount Everest twelve times.

Now the Sherpas are looking for a route, want to fix ropes in more difficult places. They’re looking at places where climbers can acclimatize to altitude in the future, for supplies and high-altitude camps, as well as landing facilities for helicopters that might fly injured and dead people out from there, according to Pemba Sherpa.

It’s all about more tourism and work in the future

For their project, the teams say they have received money and equipment such as tents, food, ropes and oxygen tanks worth the equivalent of around 15 million rupees each (111.000 euro) get. This budget is a bit tight for the mission, which is expected to last about two months, but they do it anyway. If they succeed, it should bring more prestige and possibly more work as mountain guides.

But in the mountaineering community, not everyone is convinced by the plan. Alan Arnette, for example, believes that the Tibetan route will always remain easier and therefore appeal to a wider audience. But it also depends on the marketing strategy of a possible second route, he said. The Sherpas are convinced they will soon bring more income to the people of their Himalayan mountains in Nepal – the many mountain guides, porters, hotels and tea houses.

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