Mount Everest Climbers Must Now Meet This New Requirement

Bianca Echa

Mount Everest Climbers Must Now Meet This New Requirement

Mount Everest climbers must now rent and wear a tracking device on their journeys to cut down time on search and rescue missions, CNN reported.

Rakesh Gurung, Nepal’s tourism department director, is quoted as telling the news outlet that a climber will pay $10 to $15 for a chip, which will be sewn into their jacket, then returned after the climb and rented to the next climber. Reputable mountaineering companies already use GPS trackers, according to Gurung.  

TIME reached out to Nepal’s tourism department for further information.

This news comes ahead of the spring climbing season, which generally runs from March to May, when conditions are best to take on the world’s tallest mountain. Mountaineers must wait for the most favorable weather to summit the peak, with most ascents occurring around May 18, according to Outside magazine.

Mount Everest, always perilous to climb, has also become increasingly and dangerously crowded in recent years. Last year, Nepal issued a record number of permits to climb Mount Everest during the spring season, per the BBC. That season became one of the deadliest in recent memory, with 12 confirmed deaths and five climbers missing at the season’s close in June.

The government has taken other measures to attempt to keep climbers safe. Last year, Nepal’s Tourism Board announced that climbers on any mountain would be required to get a tracking information management system card from an authorized mountaineering agency in an effort to “ensure the safety and security of visitors” and discourage unlicensed treks.

Nepal also piloted tracking chips in the past. In 2017, the country’s tourism department provided some Everest climbers with GPS trackers to prevent false summit claims and make rescues easier, Reuters reported. At the time, tourism officials said that if the concept worked, they would make it mandatory for all climbers.

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