Peak Climbing Regulations in Nepal
Permits for climbing the so-called “trekking peaks” are granted by the NMA (Nepal Mountaineering Association), P.O.Box 1435, Kathmandu. Fax +977-1-434578, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications can be made directly but the easiest way is to use the services of a local government-recognised trekking agency. The fees for climbing peaks are paid to the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation and for trekking peaks to the NMA. Provisional permits will be issued on payment of part of Royalty fees (this doesn’t apply to Trekking Peaks). The amount will be 5% of Royalty fee in case of Mount Everest and 10% of fees in case of other mountains. The balance fees are payable within two months of the date of the permission. In case of failure to make this payment in time, the permission may be cancelled.
The Government of Nepal opened 9 new peaks in May 2001 and a further 103 in December, bringing the total of open peaks (including trekking peaks) to 263. It seems to be almost impossible to get a permit for any peak not on the list. (See list of the new peaks opened on the list page)
A Liaison Officer is now required only for peaks of 6500m or over and for some treks. The LO has to be equipped like the climbers, paid and insured. So must be the climbing staff. The other staff have to be paid and insured only. There are often problems with LOs who do not stay in Base Camp and retire to villages below. Some LOs have settled for cash payment instead of equipment, but the level of payment demanded is sometimes ridiculously high. However the Nepal Government is beginning to exercise more control.
Some of the newly opened peaks are under 6500m and therefore not requiring an LO. However, they seem to be in areas where trekkers require an LO and it is unclear whether an LO will be required on these peaks or not. We can ascertain this for any party we book.
New payment rates have recently been fixed per day in Nepali Rupees: Sirdar Rs400, High Altitude Porter Rs300, Base Camp staff Rs300.
On top of all these fees and expenditures, there are a lot of restrictions and special permits to be obtained. For example for filming or import of walkie-talkies. A serious restriction is the requirement of a fee of US$5000 to use a satellite telephone.
Visas can be obtained on entry. However changes are happening very frequently now and it is wise to check with your nearest Nepal Embassy on duration of visas and how you can extend them. Cost is US$30 for single entry and US$50 for multiple entry.
Clearing imported luggage through customs is long and complicated. The best way, especially for small expeditions, is to carry all things as trekking equipment. But cine and video cameras, walkie-talkies and radio equipment have to be declared. A booklet by the Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation on the regulations about mountaineering and trekking in Nepal is published annually and can be obtained there or at many other places in Kathmandu. It includes a list of approved trekking agencies.
An environmental deposit is required by all expeditions. It will be refunded when the LO certifies that all rubbish has been dealt with according to rules which specify clearly how each type of rubbish has to be dealt with. The amount will range from US$500 to US$4,000 depending on the height of the peak and the region. See below for more details.
Due to the very high fees for climbing Mt. Everest a great number of permits are now asked for the other 8000m peaks. So it is advisable to submit applications a long time in advance.
Some recent regulation changes are:
-No climber under 16 is permitted
-The old scheme by which permits were granted for a certain season has gone. They can now be for any part of the year
-The requirement of a letter of approval from the National Mountaineering Federation of the country of origin of each expedition, or from the Embassy of the country has been waived.
Special reduced fees have recently been introduced (US$) for the normal (South Col) route on Everest (Sagarmatha) as follows:
For one mountaineer – $25,00
For two – $40,000
For three – $48,00
For four – $56,000
For five – $60,00
For six – $66,000
For seven or above – unchanged
There are special discounts of 75% on some peaks and 100% discount on peaks in West Nepal.