Image courtesy of Dan Kamminga via flickr
In an effort to crack down on any potential disturbances ahead of the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government has just issued a notice announcing its decision to shut down the north face of Mount Everest until May 10. The move is widely seen as an attempt to minimize any interference that could hinder the movements of Chinese torch bearers, who will be climbing the mountain within the next two months.
Though the shutdown may only last until May 10, it will likely dissuade any upcoming expeditions; as Tim Johnson explains in his post, attempting to climb Mount Everest that late in the season would prove virtually impossible. The Tibet Mountaineering Association posted the notice on its website a few days ago; it estimates the shutdown will likely inconvenience close to 1,000 climbers who have already put money down to pay for porters, hotels and transportation.Mountaineers attempting to scale Mount Everest's south face through Nepal, which hasn't announced a shutdown, will likely experience difficulties because of crowded conditions at its base camp. According to the latest news from mountaineers on the ground, however, there is a growing change that Nepal - under heavy pressure from the Chinese - will officially close down the south side in the near future.
While failing to directly mention the torch bearers, the notice cites "increasing environmental pressures" from "heavy climbing activities" (though presumably not those caused by its large amounts of trash and planned road) as factors in its decision.
Via ::China Rises: Shutting down Mt. Everest (blog)