KATHMANDU, MAY 22 - The government has given official recognition to an eight-thousander named Yalung Khang West in Kanchanjunga massif in Taplejung. With this, the number of peaks above 8,000m for commercial expedition has reached nine.
The government has also initiated the process to give the peak international recognition.
The Yalung Khang West (8,077m) has been opened along with 104 new peaks that the government announced for commercial expedition on Wednesday.
The number of peaks for commercial climbing, including the eight-thousanders, has now reached 414.
“The move is aimed at promoting mountain tourism and boosting rural income,” said Madhu Sudan Burlakoti, joint-secretary at the Tourism Ministry.
The Yalung Khang West is among the five additional eight-thousanders, for which Nepal is seeking official recognition from International Mountaineer-ing and Climbing Federation (UIAA).
“If the peaks are okayed, Nepal will officially have 13 peaks standing above 8,000m,” said Burlakoti. “However, Nepal needs to give its official recognition before proposing to the UIAA. And, the Yalung Khang West is the first batch.”
Other proposed include Kanchanjunga South (8,476m), Kanchanjunga Central (8,473m), Lhotse Middle (8,413m) and Lhotse Shar (8,400m).
Asia has 14 of the world’s 8,000-m peaks, and eight of them are in Nepal. Among the newly-opened peaks, nine are above 7,000m, 90 above 6,000m and 4 above 5,000m.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Ministry has said peaks with heights less then 5,800m will be promoted as trekking peaks.
Earlier, such peaks below 5,500m were known as trekking peaks. “It’s like a trail or pilot project. If peaks below 5,800m look viable for trekking, the government would permanently endorse it as trekking peaks,” said Burlakoti.
A fresh study on mountaineering conducted by the government and the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) shows Nepal has 3,310 peaks (consisting of walking and climbing peaks above 5,500m).
Among them, 1,913 are climbing peaks, requiring the use of mountaineering gear.
The government has been mulling strategies to boost mountain tourism realizing its potential to create jobs and alleviate poverty.
In 2008, it waived climbing fees for adventurers to climb peaks in the Mid- and Far Western regions for five years. It would have cost the mountaineers $1,000 to more than $7,500 per peak.
The scheme has been extended for another five years from July 16, 2013.
Recently, the government has decided to slash climbing royalties for peaks including Everest by more than half.
The fee for climbing Everest during the spring season from the normal route (southeast ridge) has been cut to $11,000 per person from $25,000 per person.
The new tariff will come into effect from Jan 1, 2015.
Posted on: 2014-05-22 09:27