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Nepal Mandates Everest Climbers to Use Tracking Chip

Ahead of the 2024 Mount Everest climbing season, Nepal has introduced a new regulation mandating that all climbers must rent and utilize tracking chips throughout their journey.

Rakesh Gurung, director of Nepal's department of tourism, stated to CNN that while reputable companies were already utilizing tracking chips, it is now compulsory for all climbers. He emphasized that this measure will significantly reduce search and rescue time in the event of accidents.

Climbers will be required to pay $10-15 for each chip, which will be sewn into their jackets. Upon their return, the chip will be removed, returned to the government, and stored for future use.

These tracking chips utilize the global positioning system (GPS) to communicate information with satellites. Although Gurung mentioned that the chips were manufactured in a European country, he did not specify the exact location or company responsible.

Nepal is the preferred route for the majority of individuals attempting to climb Mount Everest, with climbers paying a substantial fee of $11,000 for the climbing permit alone. Including expenses such as gear, food, supplemental oxygen, and Sherpa guides, the total cost to undertake the climb can exceed $35,000.

Nepal, home to eight of the world's ten highest peaks, earns significant tourism revenue from mountaineering. Climbing Mount Everest typically takes up to two months, with a narrow window for summiting usually occurring in mid-May.

In 2023, Nepal issued a record number of 478 climbing permits. Despite the risks associated with climbing Everest, including fatalities and missing climbers, the country continues to attract adventurers from around the globe.

Rescue operations on Mount Everest are perilous, particularly in the treacherous conditions found at high altitudes. Gelje Sherpa's heroic rescue of a Malaysian climber in 2023 exemplified the dangers and challenges faced during such operations.

"It is almost impossible to rescue climbers at that altitude," remarked Department of Tourism official Bigyan Koirala, underscoring the immense challenges involved in mountaineering at such heights.

March 26, 2024 5:05 p.m. 3792

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