Nepal Tests GPS-Tracking Devices for Mount Everest Climbs
By Moon Shrestha
Photo: RMI Expeditions
To be at the top of the world has been a dream to many people after Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norway first claimed the summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953. Ever since over 4000 people have reached the top of the world’s highest mountain or at least have claimed to do so.
People have been found faking their climbs to Mount Everest. The issue of people falsely claiming to have summited Everest made international headlines last year after an Indian couple was exposed for doctoring photos to make it appear as though they had reached the summit. The Nepalese government banned the couple from mountaineering within the country for 10 years.
Now the government of Nepal has launched a scheme to make things official, by attaching GPS devices to climbers to prove that people have actually reached the top of the world’s highest mountain and to also help people in mountain disasters. Initially, GPS devices will only be fitted to a selection of climbers during this year’s two-month climbing session, which usually starts in late March as a trial trail experiment. Nepalese Tourism Department official Durga Dutta Dhakal told Reuters, “If this works, we’ll make it mandatory for all climbers to carry the device from next year.”
With the new GPS tracking devices, climbers who say they have reached the top of Everest will have to submit photographs from the peak as well as documentation from climbing liaisons for Nepalese officials to review their claims. After climbing, the mountaineers will go to country’s capital, Kathmandu and turn on their GPS units. Officials will check the tracking data to see how the climbers progressed up the mountain and to verify the authenticity of their summit claims.