Mount Everest Climbers Will Now Need Tracking Chips

GPS will help cut down search and rescue time

The Everest Base Camp trek on the south side is one of the most popular trekking routes in the Himalayas
The Everest Base Camp trek on the south side is one of the most popular trekking routes in the Himalayas

For years the Nepali government has been taking measures to protect hikers, including banning them from taking on Mount Everest alone. In recent years, they’ve even extended that ban to the rest of the peaks within Nepal’s national parks. For context, around 400 trekkers were going missing in Nepal’s national parks every year, before the pandemic.

So it’s no surprise that they’d now be looking to take things one step further. Per a report from CNN, all climbers will be required to rent and use tracking chips to hike Everest.

“Reputed companies were already using them but now it’s been mandatory for all climbers,” Rakesh Gurung, director of Nepal’s Department of Tourism, told CNN. “It will cut down search and rescue time in the event of an accident.”

Here’s how it will work: each climber will pay $10-$15 for their chip. The chip, which will use GPS to share information with satellites, will be sewn into their jackets. After the climb, the chip will be returned and reused by another climber.

Plans to Trek Through Nepal Alone? Not Anymore.
Even the most experienced hikers will now require a guide

Of course, this doesn’t eradicate the risks entirely. Even under the best conditions, it’s extremely dangerous (hence all the barriers to entry). Not only are climbers up against low freezing temperatures, due to high elevations — meaning the air is thin and there’s less oxygen — they’re at near-constant risk of altitude sickness. What’s more, it can take up to two months to reach Everest’s summit. Last year, 478 climbing permits were issued — a record. Twelve climbers died, and five are still considered missing.

It’s also worth noting that the $10-$15 is a small price to pay for the chip, considering the cost of the permit to climb Everest via Nepal is $11,000. According to CNN, when you add in the price of gear, food, supplemental oxygen and Sherpa guides, it can cost well north of $35,000. It’s also worth noting that the chip doesn’t guarantee a rescue. In fact, past a certain altitude, rescue is “almost impossible.”


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