Climbers on Mount Everest are unfazed by the viral outbreak in Nepal

mount everest

A year after Mount Everest was closed to climbers due to the pandemic, hundreds are attempting the final push to the top with only a few days left in the season, despite a coronavirus epidemic in base camp.

Three Everest expedition teams abandoned their climbs this month due to reports of people becoming ill. However, the remaining 41 teams chose to proceed with hundreds of climbers and guides reaching the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) peak before inclement weather set in.

“Even though the coronavirus has reached Everest base camp, it has not had the massive impact that is widely believed outside the mountain,” said Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks, the largest expedition operator on Everest. “No one has died or gotten critically ill as a result of COVID, contrary to what has been reported.”

The firm led the largest group on Everest, with 122 clients from 10 teams, yet there were no significant diseases among them, he said.

Nepalese officials have downplayed news of coronavirus cases on Mount Everest, ostensibly to avoid causing panic and confusion in the base camp. Nepal has been eager to capitalize on this year’s climbing season after a gap year with no income from climbers.

Nepalese officials have downplayed news of coronavirus cases on Mount Everest, ostensibly to avoid causing panic and confusion in the base camp. Nepal has been eager to capitalize on this year’s climbing season after a gap year with no income from climbers.

A Norwegian climber became the first to test positive at Everest base camp in April. He was evacuated by helicopter to Kathmandu, where he was treated before being transported back home.

Due to an infection among team members, prominent guide Lukas Furtenbach of Austria chose to terminate his expedition this month and withdraw his customers.

Furtenbach suspected that more than 100 climbers and support employees had been infected after returning from the mountain. In an interview last week, he stated that it was clear there were many instances at the base camp since he could see people who were sick and hear them coughing in their tents.

“I think with all the proven cases we now know — confirmed by (rescue) pilots, insurance, doctors, expedition leaders — I have the positive tests to prove this,” Furtenbach told The Associated Press.

Due to concerns that the illness could spread from Nepal, China canceled climbing from its side of Everest last week.