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Dhaka Tribune

Nepal Everest climbs 'ruled out'

Update : 05 May 2015, 02:52 AM

Climbing Mount Everest this season is "almost impossible" because the routes have been damaged by avalanches triggered by last month's earthquake, officials in Nepal say.

They warn that it will take time for the routes to be remade. The government has not announced an official decision.

At least 19 people were killed in the avalanches.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake is now known to have killed more than 7,000 people and injured more than 10,000.

Most climbers have now left the Base Camp and abandoned their expeditions, Sherpa porters based there have told the BBC.

Officials of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) told the BBC that "icefall doctors" – who are expert rope and ladder-fixing Sherpas – decided that further climbs were impossible this spring after inspecting avalanche-hit areas of the mountain.

The Sherpas say that climbing routes have been badly damaged and in places blocked by huge chunks of ice that were shifted by the quake.

Mountaineering firms – many of whose climbers were killed by the avalanches – have now decided to abandon ascent plans after losing a huge amount of equipment, including scores of climbing ladders, in the snow.

Almost a year ago, another avalanche at the world's highest peak claimed the lives of 16 Sherpa guides.

The government appears to be leaving the decision about scaling Everest to individual climbers – 357 were registered for this climbing season.

"The government will not officially announce the closure because we have given the permit to climbers," Tulsi Prasad Gautam of the tourism department told Reuters news agency.

Mr Gautam said on Monday that small tremors were still being felt on Everest.

Some climbers meanwhile have accused the government of dragging its feet over closing Everest to escape having to refund permit fees which can reach as much as $70,000 (£46,200) per climber.

The government says much of the rescue work after the quake is over, and the remaining operations, can be handled mostly by local teams.

But it says that it will require huge international support for reconstruction and rehabilitation.

More than 4,000 aid workers from around the world have been helping with relief and rescue operations.

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