China shuts down Mt. Everest

SAM TAYLOR/AFP/Getty Images Climbers hoping to reach the top of the world are unlikely to have the opportunity in 2008, at least from the north side of the mountain in Tibet. China has banned climbers from attempting the mountain before May 10. Given the difficulties of weather, acclimatization, and logistics, the Chinese decision will make any attempt ...

596013_080312_everest2.jpg
596013_080312_everest2.jpg

SAM TAYLOR/AFP/Getty Images

Climbers hoping to reach the top of the world are unlikely to have the opportunity in 2008, at least from the north side of the mountain in Tibet. China has banned climbers from attempting the mountain before May 10. Given the difficulties of weather, acclimatization, and logistics, the Chinese decision will make any attempt to summit the mountain this year "short of impossible," according to Everest veterans. The news comes as many climbing teams are already en route to the mountain to begin their expeditions.

A notice from the Tibet Mountaineering Association cites "concern of heavy climbing activities, crowded climbing routes, and increasing environmental pressures" for the decision. But the the more likely explanation for the ban is the Olympic torch, which China hopes to take to the top of the world's highest peak.

SAM TAYLOR/AFP/Getty Images

Climbers hoping to reach the top of the world are unlikely to have the opportunity in 2008, at least from the north side of the mountain in Tibet. China has banned climbers from attempting the mountain before May 10. Given the difficulties of weather, acclimatization, and logistics, the Chinese decision will make any attempt to summit the mountain this year “short of impossible,” according to Everest veterans. The news comes as many climbing teams are already en route to the mountain to begin their expeditions.

A notice from the Tibet Mountaineering Association cites “concern of heavy climbing activities, crowded climbing routes, and increasing environmental pressures” for the decision. But the the more likely explanation for the ban is the Olympic torch, which China hopes to take to the top of the world’s highest peak.

Reports say that climbers have also been banned until May 10 from attempting Cho Oyo, a nearby peak. Chinese officials reportedly tried to convince their Nepalese counterparts to also ban climbers from attempting the mountain from the southern side until May 10, although Nepal appears to have ignored those requests.

If this is a barometer of how it’s gonna go down at the Beijing Oympics, China is in store for one heck of an embarrassing show.

(Hat tip: China Rises)

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