A South African attempting to climb Mount Everest alone and without a permit was ordered off the mountain, had his passport confiscated and would be fined $22,000, an official said today.
Ryan Sean Davy, 43, told officials at base camp that he had climbed alone as far as camp II 6,400 metres (21,000 feet) to acclimatise ahead of a summit push before he was caught.
Foreigners have to pay the Nepal government $11,000 for permission to climb the 8,848 metre (29,030 foot) peak — a major earner for the impoverished country.
“I saw him alone near base camp so I approached him and he ran away,” said Gyanendra Shrestha, the government liason officer at base camp.
“I followed him with my friend and found him hiding in a cave nearby,” he told AFP.
“He had set up camp in an isolated place to avoid government officials.”
It is highly unusual for a foreign climber to attempt to scale Everest alone — most do so with the help of at least one Sherpa guide and a large support team at base camp.
Davy could be banned from Nepal for five years or face a 10-year ban on climbing in the country.
Shrestha said he had also seized Davy’s passport and told him to return to Kathmandu to retrieve it.
He will also be fined $22,000 — double the cost of the permit.
Davy could not be reached for comment, but photos on a Facebook page under his name appear to show a climber traversing the Khumbu Icefall, which lies between base camp and camp one.
In an accompanying post, Davy — who identifies himself as a director and producer — said that he had reached a height of 7,010 metres in six hours.
“When I heard that most of the expeditions on Everest had retreated to base camp because of incoming weather, I made my move,” read the post.
AFP could not independently verify the authenticity of the Facebook page.
Davy told officials that he didn’t have enough money to buy a flight from the Everest region to Kathmandu to collect his passport. He said he would instead walk and then catch a bus — a journey that would take at least four days.