The summit pictures of two Indian alpinists were taken on the computer. Now the Nepalese authorities are acting.
Two Indian mountaineers falsified the summit images of an Everest ascent in 2016.
Now they are not allowed to climb mountains in Nepal for six years.
Everest ascents are difficult to verify.
The se are the two countries on whose border the highest mountain in the world stands. But recently the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism announced that research on a female and male mountaineer from India on the list of successful climbers had shown that they had not stood on the 8,848.86 meter peak in 2016, as noted there.
The y would be punished for the fraud by retrospectively banned from climbing mountains in Nepal for six years from the supposed ascent.
The head of the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism, Mira Acharya, told the German Press Agency that she was aware of about eight other fraud cases. And American mountaineer and blogger Alan Arnette said, “Sadly, with today’s technology and sloppy government processes, it’s not too difficult to make a false claim.”
An ascent for 43,600 francs
The authorities in Nepal and China are reviewing every climb. But right at the top of the so-called death zone, no official can wait for people to arrive, because there the human body breaks down and cannot recover. Instead, mountaineers would have to show a full-body photo of themselves with an uncovered face – without sunglasses and an oxygen mask – on the snow-covered summit as proof of ascent, says Arnette. In addition, the leader of the mountaineering group and an official at the base camp would have to certify the ascent. However, since the group leader himself would rarely climb to the top, the authorities mostly relied on the word of the mountaineer and his Sherpa mountain guide, said Arnette.
Putting his face in another climber’s photo is easy, Arnette said. He emphasizes that everyone involved has an interest in many successful ascents. It helps Sherpa guides to get more assignments and sometimes to a higher fee or even to found their own mountain guide company. Mountain guide companies and governments, which could use it to promote their tourism, also benefit. And especially for Nepal, which according to the United Nations is one of the least developed countries in the world, the money of foreign alpinists is important. According to Arnette, an average ascent costs around 43,600 francs, as much as a good new car. Climbers on a high budget also spend twice or three times as much.
In the case of the mountaineer, whose names have recently been removed from the list, other mountaineers had informed the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism that they had abandoned their ascent because their health was poor, reported the Hindustan Times newspaper ». You would have used edited images.
“How should the mountaineering company know about it?”
But one of those affected, Narender Singh Yadav, told the German Press Agency that he was upstairs in 2016 and that photos and videos were shown. He accuses his group leader of having turned to the Ministry of Tourism out of jealousy. A little later, Yadav was to receive the highest award in his country for mountaineers, the Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award, as it was called by the Indian mountaineering association. Because of the controversy he ultimately did not receive the prize. Yadav said he wanted to take legal action against the group leader.
The official who certified at the time received a written warning.
The two Indian climbers showed us the pictures of their ascent and we wrote that they had climbed.”
Other cheaters had already received harsher sentences from Nepal. In 2016, the Ministry of Tourism imposed a ten-year ban on an Indian couple of police officers from climbing their Himalayan mountains because they were also said to have used fake pictures. India then released the two officials. However, according to mountaineer Arnette, it is amazing that despite the simplicity of cheating, known cases of fraud are relatively rare.