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Everest climbers get GPS devices in safety drive

22 March 2017 08:20

Mount Everest poses a challenge to any climber

Mount Everest poses a challenge to any climber

Mountaineers looking to scale the world's highest peak may need to shell out for a GPS device, according to Nepal's tourism chief.

Durga Dutta Dhakal says spring-time climbers hoping to conquer Mount Everest will be fitted with a tracking device for their own safety and to prevent bogus claims that mountaineers have reached the summit.

In April and May there are hundreds of climbers expected to embark towards Everest's peak. However, just a few will be fitted with the devices as part of an initial trial.

However, tourism department official, Durga Dutta Dhakal, says there could be plans to roll it out further, adding: "If this works, we'll make it mandatory for all climbers to carry the device from next year."

Intense challenges

Mount Everest measures 8,850 metres (29,035 feet) and forms part of the Himalayas, sitting on the border of Nepal and Tibet.

According to the British Mountaineering Council, most expeditions take around two months and cost between £28,000 and £52,000.

Climbers face intense challenges when attempting to conquer the highest mountain in the world, including avalanches, risk of ice collapses and frostbite. They also face health problems such as altitude sickness and severe breathing difficulties.

Over 280 people are believed to have died attempting to scale Mount Everest, although the exact figure is unknown.

Anyone planning a mountain hike or trek should take out appropriate travel insurance to make sure they are covered for any eventuality.

Hoax hikers

In May 2016, an Indian couple claimed they scaled Mount Everest and were awarded a certificate from Nepal's mountaineering authorities, but were later found to have fabricated the achievement.

Dinesh Rathod and his wife, Tarakeshwari, were hailed as the first Indian couple to conquer the peak on May 23. However, Nepal's officials claimed they had doctored a photo that the couple had said was taken at the summit.

Satyarup Sidhantha found a picture of him reaching the summit had been cropped and amended to show the Rathods at the top of the mountain, holding the Indian flag.

Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal, a Nepalese tourism department chief, told Agence France-Presse at the time: "Our investigation shows that the couple faked their summit. We have imposed a 10-year ban against them from climbing any mountain in Nepal."