Japanese mountaineer Nobokazu Kuriki, 33, is attempting to become the first summiteer to climb Mt Everest this year.
This is the first Everest permit issued after the devastating earthquake of April 25.
“Kuriki’s expedition will tell the rest of the world that Mt Everest is open for expedition,” Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa said Sherpa, handing over permit and Nepali flag to Kuriki amid a function on Sunday.
Japanese photographer Masaru Kadotani will accompany Kuriki till Camp 2. The duo will head to Lukla on August 25. Kuriki has been permitted to climb via regular route.
Tika Ram Gurung of Bochi Bochi Trek, which is managing the expedition, said process to seek permission for support staff for Kuriki is underway.
This is Kuriki’s fifth attempt on Everest. He had tried two times each from Nepali side and the Tibetan side.
“I lost my nine fingers while attempting to climb Everest in 2012. But I haven’t lost hope. I am hopeful of successful this time around,” Kuriki said, adding that he wants tell the rest of the world that Nepal is safe.
The Department for Tourism (DoT) has received applications from 14 expedition teams so far. “We have already issued permits to 10 expedition teams. Similarly, four expedition teams are in the process of getting approval,” said Sherpa.
DoT has issued permits to two expedition teams to climb Mustang Himal I (6,915 meters). Similarly, it has permitted one expedition each to climb Gaugiri (6,110m), Aichyn (6,055m), Makalu (8,463m), Mainsail (6,242m), Annapurna South (7,219m), Annapurna I (8,091m) and Manaslu (8,163m). Similarly, DoT is in the process of issuing permits to one expedition team each to climb Lhonak (6,070m), Dzanye II (6,318m), Shey Shikhar (6,139m) and Manaslu (8,163m).
Govinda Bahadur Karki, director general of DoT, said Kuriki’s expedition will help mountaineers who are in a dilemma over whether it is possible to climb Nepali mountains in the coming season. “Nepal is safe to visit. With so many climbers applying for permission, we are hopeful that tourism industry will recover fast and that the situation will become normal soon,” said Karki.
Meanwhile, the tourism ministry is planning to take necessary measures to enhance safety of trekkers and mountaineers as well as support staff. Mohan Krishna Sapkota, acting secretary of tourism ministry, said efforts were underway to set up weather forecast system, build emergency shelters along major trekking areas and mountaineering routes, raise insurance cover of support staff, and make guide/porter mandatory for trekkers.
The ministry has been working to implement ‘no trekking without guide/porter’ policy. Minister Sherpa said they were doing necessary homework to introduce the policy. “If such a policy has to be introduced, we will inform six months in advance,” he added.
Minister Sherpa also said the ministry was working to bring a new policy for tourism recovery and make easy for entrepreneurs to recover loss that they faced due to the disaster.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa (R) hands over permission letter and national flag to Nobokazi Kuruki of Japan as he sets out to scale Mt Everest amid a press meet at Nepal Tourism Board, Bhrikutimandap.