North Side of Mount Everest Reopens to Chinese National Climbers for Spring

The base camp of the north side of Mount Everest. Photo: Courtesy of suphanat/Shutterstock

The coronavirus pandemic that’s rattling the world right now has certainly taken its toll on outdoor activities people are allowed to partake in. As social distancing and self isolation have become the new norm across the globe, many opportunities for outdoor pursuits and sporting events have shut down. And a couple of weeks ago, China and Tibet both canceled all Mount Everest expeditions for the season, for reasons directly related to COVID-19.

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However, recently, sources told The Himalayan Times that China will reopen expeditions for the spring of 2020 to Chinese national climbers. At the moment, Yarla Shampo Expeditions is the only authorized operator for Chinese climbing teams, and they’ve already started getting ready for expeditions this season.

A high-level source at the China Tibet Mountaineering Association told the Times that Everest expedition permits will be easy to obtain this season for Chinese climbing teams.

“North route has been closed for all but Chinese nationals,” a source close to Yarla Shampo Expeditions told The Himalayan Times. “Yarla Shampo has received confirmation from 26 Chinese members for Everest expedition.”

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A senior official told the Times that the 26 climbers—including six female climbers—will attempt to climb the world’s tallest peak in May of this year.

This decision comes on the heels of the news that new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China have been decreasing, and local climbers are now not required to undergo the 14-day quarantine period before they begin their Everest expedition, a source at the China Tibet Mountaineering Association told the Times.

“We are busy in preparing logistics and necessary stuff for the Everest expedition,” a senior member of Yarla Shampo Expeditions told the Times.

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With so many operations across the globe shutting their doors and people being confined to their homes amid this pandemic, it’s reassuring to see there are areas of the world that are seeing positive results to the closures and quarantines, and they’re getting back to their normal life—at least for the few people who consider climbing Everest to be “normal” life.

h/t The Himalayan Times

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