By Evan Bleier / April 23, 2019

Nepal Taking Action Against Use of Faulty Oxygen Equipment on Everest

Expedition organizers cut corners by using old and substandard equipment

An aerial view of the Mount Everest. (Photo by PRAKASH MATHEMA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial view of the Mount Everest. (Photo by PRAKASH MATHEMA / AFP) (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)

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To ensure climbers tackling Mount Everest are as safe as possible, Nepal’s government is starting to implement regulations about the type of oxygen equipment that can be used on the mountain.

For years, expedition organizers have cut corners by using old and substandard equipment on Everest in order to maximize their profits. Those cost-cutting measures include getting used oxygen cylinders refilled through non-official channels and neglecting proper maintenance.

According to interviews and a search of public records from the past two decades conducted by The New York Timesmore than 20 climbing groups have reported dangerous equipment problems while climbing the 29,000-foot peak. There is also the issue of expedition organizers leaving discarded equipment — including tanks — all over the mountain, prompting some to call Everest “the world’s highest rubbish dump.”

Neither of those problems has not received the attention it deserves, with the multimillion-dollar trekking industry only loosely regulated up until this point.

But the Nepalese government is hoping to change that by introducing a ban on oxygen cylinders older than 10 years and establishing new standards for oxygen quality. They also intend to form a group which will inspect equipment before climbs, a development which could include army personnel being deployed to base camp.

“It’s a serious issue,” said Mira Acharya, a tourism ministry official.

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