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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Nepal

Nepal still has virgin mountains

Mount Fishtail (6,997 meters or 22,956 feet), said to be one of the world’s most beautiful mountains is located in Nepal. The attempt to climb the mountain by a British expedition in 1965 failed. Later the Nepal government banned expeditions from climbing the mountain.

Mount Fishtail, who is called Machhapuchhre in Nepali because of its fishtail-like shape when looking at the mountain from the south, is still virgin territory. No man ever set foot on the summit.

Not too long ago a delegation met the tourism minister of Nepal, urging him to open the mountain for expeditions. But the local population opposes opening Mt Fishtail. The reason is that expeditions carry all their gear and necessities from Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, leaving little or no advantage to locals.

In addition people from the Gurung community worship Machapuchhre as the virgin goddess. They’d prefer to see Mt Fishtail remain a virgin peak.

Nepal tourism expert Jhalak Thapa says the mountain is for seeing, not for climbing.

“It may be raising the popularity of a person when he summits the peak, but the peak loses its popularity,” said Thapa.

Thapa also states that many other beautiful mountains in Nepal have not increased the standard of living of locals.

It is also said that royalties paid by expeditions to the Nepali government and the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) do not go towards local development.

Recommended literature: Nepal Mountains

Source: Ohmy News, Rup Narayan Dhakal ("Dispute erupts over virgin peak in Nepal")