Everest Hillary Step OutsideOnline News

Nepal officials have again proposed the installation of ladders on Everest's Hillary Step.     Photo: blyjak/Thinkstock

More Ladders on Everest

Hillary Step too crowded

Nepal’s tourism ministry proposed installing ladders on Everest’s Hillary Step for a second time early Monday morning. The government body already announced that additional ropes would be fixed on congested ice walls, including the Hillary Step, for the upcoming season in an effort to ease major traffic jams on the world’s tallest mountain.

The Hillary Step is a 40-foot section of rock wall that climbers have to complete before reaching the summit. It's been a controversial bottleneck for years as both ascending and decending climbers have to pass through just before or after their summit bids. During the peak climbing months of April to June, climbers are often halted at the Hillary Step due to crowds, a dangerous and frustrating delay.

Large numbers have swarmed the mountain in recent years. In 2013, more than 650 people reached the summit and nearly 200 more tried. For the 2014 season, soldiers will be stationed at base camp, a response to the high-profile brawl at base camp last year involving Ueli Steck, which was sparked by a delay on the mountain. Also, as of April 1, climbers will be required to haul eight kilograms of trash off the mountain to fight decades of debris buildup.

Officials have not decided on a timeline for the Hillary Step ladder proposal. Transporting and installing the ladders will be a challenge.



"South Africa remains the principal source of rhino horn for the illicit trade," according to a report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The report estimates that 3,226 horns were taken from rhinos poached in Africa from 2009 to September 2012, which excludes last year's massive hike in rhino poaching.

"This is very much like our drug war on our U.S./Mexican border," Howard Buffett told reporters, referring to how illegal hunters from Mozambique infiltrate Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa.

The money will fund a 30-month campaign in Kruger National Park and provide rangers with a helicopter, an aerostat balloon, and land vehicles equipped with sensors to track down poachers.

In parts of Asia, rhino horns are worth more per ounce than gold. Believed to be a cure-all for everything from cancer to hangovers, one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of rhino horn can fetch between $65,000 to $100,000 in Vietnam.

Edna Molewa, South Africa's Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, told Reuters that "fighting and winning the battle in South Africa is fighting and winning the battle in the world."