Nepal’s tourism department said Thursday that it will allow all climbers who abandoned their ascents of Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse last year in the wake of the avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas to use their permits until 2019, according to the Himalayan Times. The newspaper reports that this will allow mountaineers to use their permits as individuals, instead of needing their entire respective teams present to ascend, which was the previous requirement.
The Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Civil Aviation submitted the proposal, and the council of ministers endorsed it, giving 442 climbers a five-year window to use their permits, provided they go with the commercial guide service they booked the climb with in 2014. For the 325 climbers who planned on summiting Everest, there’s also a cost increase. “The climbers should pay an additional $1,000 for Mount Everest to comply with the revised royalty structure of $11,000 per person to utilize their past permits,” Tulsi Gautam, director general of the Department of Tourism, told the Himalayan Times.
The stipulation that climbers must return with the company they originally planned on trekking with could cause some problems, as some companies, including Peak Freaks and High Adventure Expeditions, have already canceled their 2015 season climbs. Alpenglow Expeditions and Amical Alpin have shifted their operations to Everest’s north side in Tibet amid safety concerns with the south approach. Mountaineers who also paid for new trips, thinking their 2014 permits were no good, will probably not be reimbursed, according to Adventure Blog.
Nepal made $3.6 million in revenue on Everest permits last year, according to the AFP—and it looks like the costs will only continue to increase.