North Side of Everest closed for this season

“Concern over heavy climbing activities, crowded climbing routes and increasing environmental pressures will cause potential safety problems in Qomalangma areas (included Mt. Cho-Oyu) in this Spring season, the limited capacity of reception in addition, we are not able to accept your expedition, so please postpone your climbing project to after 10th May.” — CTMA Notice [1]

Considering the timeline for acclimatisation and infrastructure placement for a successful summit attempt that about wraps up the climbing on the north face for this season.

“(…) Chinese officials had said previously that the north face of the mountain, which straddles the border between Tibet and Nepal, would remain open. They could now be concerned that international activists may try to use the occasion of the arrival of the Olympic torch to stage some kind of demonstration on the world’s highest mountain. Last April, four protesters at the Everest base camp on the Tibetan side unfurled a banner reading, “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008” — referring to the official games slogan. The group was deported. (…)” — Times Online [3]

(..) Chinese pressure on Nepal to close the South side of Everest was initially reported to have been rejected, but now also that option seems in jeopardy. (..) [2]

It seems like a very cynical move by the Chinese Olympic officials, and one that will probably produce more attetion to the Tibetan plight in the long run.

(…) This morning, China announced it is restricting world mountaineers from climbing Everest and Cho Oyu. Only Chinese climbers will be allowed, carrying the Olympic torch to the summit in a supposed celebration of sportsmanship and Olympic ideals. (…) [5]

Olympic ideals? “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.“. Didn’t see arrogance, intolerance and repression in there at all.

[1] Chinese closing Everest for climbing in spring 2008 – thousand or more climbers and staff affected (2008-Mar-10) []
[2] ExWeb update: 121 Million Reasons to close the South Side of Everest (2008-Mar-12) []
[3] Chinese troops use teargas to halt Tibet monks’ second day of protest (2008-Mar-12) [Times Online]
[4] Police attack peacefully protesting monks in Tibet (2008-mar-12) [BoingBoing]
[5] ExWeb editorial: Closing Everest – what China fears most (2008-Mar-10) []

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