Nepal to allow climbers to scale five more peaks

This file photograph taken on April 3, 2013, from an aircraft shows an aerial view of Mount Everest (centre) and the Himalayan mountain range, some 140km north-east of Kathmandu. Nepal will open five more peaks above 8,000m for expeditions when the a
This file photograph taken on April 3, 2013, from an aircraft shows an aerial view of Mount Everest (centre) and the Himalayan mountain range, some 140km north-east of Kathmandu. Nepal will open five more peaks above 8,000m for expeditions when the autumn climbing season begins, a tourism official said on Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013, raising the total number of such mountains to 13. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

KATHMANDU (AFP) - Nepal will open five more peaks above 8,000m for expeditions when the autumn climbing season begins, a tourism official said on Tuesday, raising the total number of such mountains to 13.

The Himalayan nation currently allows climbers to scale eight mountains above 8,000m, including the world's tallest peak, Mount Everest.

The new peaks include three in the Kanchenjunga region and two from the Everest region. Lhotse Middle, Lhotse Shar, Kanchenjunga South, Kanchenjunga Central and Kanchenjunga West - all measuring above 8,400m - will soon be open for expeditions, pending approval from the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA).

Mr Purna Chandra Bhattarai, a senior official at the tourism ministry, said the Switzerland-based organisation, which represents climbers and mountaineers from around the world, would likely make a decision at its annual meeting in early October.

"Of course, it will increase the revenue. But we would also like to encourage people to explore and climb these other mountains, apart from the world's eight highest peaks," Bhattarai said.

He said earlier this month that Nepal plans to keep a closer eye on expeditions to Mount Everest to ensure that climbers keep the famed peak clean and to prevent rows between locals and visitors.

Experts have also warned that overcrowding on the mountain was clogging up movement and causing dangerous delays in ascents.

On May 29, Nepal marked the 60th anniversary of the first scaling of Everest, honouring the family members of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the pioneering climbers.

More than 300 mountains are open for expeditions in Nepal, where tourism is a huge source of revenue for the impoverished country.