The South Asian country of Nepal is to enforce tighter controls on Mount Everest to ensure the world's highest peak is safe for climbers, officials said on Friday.
The announcement comes after three Europeans abandoned their ascent to the 8,850 metre (29,035-foot) summit in the peak climbing season last April, after a brawl with around 100 Sherpas sparked safety concerns.
The drama unfolded at 7467 metres (24,500 feet), according to a statement posted on Simone Moro’s website, one of the three climbers.
He claimed that a Sherpa accused the three climbers of knocking ice onto a fellow guide below and injuring him.
He suggested at the time that the lead Sherpa may have been dealing with bruised pride after the three climbers passed him, prompting him to start the fight.
Tilakram Pandey, a Tourism Ministry official, said: “We will open an office at the base camp with a team of government officials, including the army and police personnel. This will make it easy to resolve any conflict."
“The presence of security officials at the base camp will give a psychological feeling to climbers that they are safe", he added.
Until now, a government employee was attached to each team as a liaison person. But there have been widespread complaints that those officials often do not go to the base camp at the 5,350-metre (17,550-foot) mark.
Pandey said from March all liaison officers will be expected to report to the tented office that will be located at the base camp.
The new office will also oversee the rescue of climbers in distress, cleaning on the mountain, and the enforcement of climbing rules, according to officials.
Unnecessary competition between climbers to set new records will be discouraged, they added.
Madhusudan Burlakoti, another Tourism Ministry official, said climbers now must inform the government about their plans to set records ahead of time.
“We will not recognise any record without prior permission from the government,” he said.
Mount Everest has been climbed by more than 4,000 people since the historic ascent in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa.
Additional reporting by ReutersReuse content