Nepal shuts Mount Everest ahead of climbing season amid corona virus fears


Nepal shuts Mount Everest ahead of climbing season amid coronavirus fears

A line of climbers sit on the last ridge at the peak of a snow covered mount Everest. PHOTO: Climbers had to wait in line to summit Mount Everest in 2019. (Nirmal Purja/Nepal )

Nepal says it will ban foreigners from climbing Mount Everest this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Key points:

  • The peak climbing season is from March to May and attracts a large number of Australians
  • Nepal makes more than $5 million a year just from the permit fees it charges climbers each year
  • Clearing Everest of climbers may allow local authorities to clean up the rubbish and place new ropes on the routes

The move will devastate the nation’s economy and stop thousands of Australian adventurers from visiting the tourist hotspot.

Nepal has also halted its popular visa-on-arrival scheme, which will make it almost impossible for Australians to visit the country.

More than 30,000 Australians travel to Nepal each year, with the spring climbing season beginning in March and peaking in April and May.

Nepal relies heavily on tourism revenue, with hotels, airlines and the huge mountain-guiding community all set to suffer losses from the decision.