Bajhang, December 28
Mt Saipal (7,031 metres) in Nepal’s far-west is still not conquered even after 70 years since humankind’s engagement with the Himalayan peaks.
Although a 37-member team of mountaineers had attempted to climb Mt Saipal four years back, it was not successful.
The tourism entrepreneurs had taken the initiation for the mountaineering expedition on Mt Saipal at that time, saying the mountaineers were concentrated on climbing the peaks in the eastern mountains only. Twenty climbers of three expedition teams had taken permission from the Department of Tourism to climb the peak during mid-October to mid-November.
Pechhumbe Sherpa, a mountaineering guide, says four Sherpas and two Spaniards who attempted to scale the peak gave up after reaching 5,500 metres.
“This mountain is a technically difficult mountain, so we had to abandon our expedition for a lack of preparation,” he says. Sherpa still believes Mt Saipal can be scaled if the climbers are capable and make adequate preparation.
According to him, although the Sherpa guides opened the climbing route to the summit by tying a 1,200-metre rope, the climbers including four Nepali women say they could not climb and the attempt became unsuccessful.
The guides believe the ascent on the peak would be possible if skilled mountaineers attempted alpine climbing or climbing without a rope.
Although more than 100 peaks have been identified in the far-west region of the country and opened for climbing, none has been climbed yet. Therefore, the tourism entrepreneurs have urged the department to extend cooperation for making the ascent of those peaks successful.
“The department should attract the mountaineers by constructing routes up to the base camp and other physical infrastructures and publicising these virgin peaks to promote mountaineering and activities in this part of the country,” says Bhojraj Bhatta, the base camp manager of the Mt Saipal Expedition.
Though the government had waived the royalty for mountaineering expedition in the western region for 20 years with a target of developing tourism of this region, it has not been climbed yet.
However, the department has started taking royalty for the past few years.