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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Age limit for Mt Everest

Age restrictions introduced by the "Chinese Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) for potential Mt Everest aspirants.

According to the UIAA, the CTMA on 10 June decided to introduce age restrictions for Everest aspirants. In the future, only people older than 18 and younger than 60 years will receive permission to climb the mountain from the Tibetan north side.

The UIAA (Union International des Associations d'Alpinisme) welcomes the decision. According to them, young climbers would be missing not only the experience but also the maturity - so the UIAA President Mike Mortimer. On the other hand, Mortimer is not enthusiastic about the upper limit of 60 years. The boundary seemed "very arbitrary" and should be reconsidered. Older climbers often have a wealth of experience.

The CTMA is the official body issuing permits to climb Tibetan peaks. Whether the age restriction will also apply to other mountains in Tibet, has not been confirmed.

The decision was apparently triggered by 13-year-old Jordan Romero, an American climber who received much media attention in May 2010 as the youngest man who scaled Mount Everest.

In 2001, the Nepalese Temba Tshiri had set a record on Everest when he reached the summit at 16 years of age - but lost several toes and fingers due to frostbite. Then, in 2003, Nepal set the minimum age at 16 years - without, however, setting an upper limit.

Lindsay Griffin of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) said that there are however exceptions to the CTMA restriction. In exceptional circumstances, the CTMA might grant a permit for climbing Mount Everest outside the age range, "if they can present a medical certificate confirming that they fit are enough for the climb. It is believed that this is addressed to the older climbers."

Sources: UIAA, BMC