Busy Mount Everest 'needs a ladder' to cope with demand

In fact, it has got so busy that mountaineers are facing queues of up to four hours to reach the top or make their way down from the highest peak.

80 year-old Japanese Yuichiro Miura poses after becoming the oldest person to reach the top. Pic/AFP

Which is why there are plans to install a ladder on the Hillary Step 12m (40ft) from the summit of the 8,848 metre (29,028ft) mountain to ease congestion. The controversial proposal has been put forward by the Expedition Operators Association in Nepal. “To make the climbing easier, that would be wrong. But this is a safety feature,” said a spokesman for the EOA. Plans for more rigorous traffic controls on the fixed ropes, which run from base camp to the summit are also on the cards.

Another suggestion is for the authorities in Nepal to vet climbers to ensure they have a basic level of experience. While plans for a ladder have been criticised by hardened mountaineers they have been welcomed by some sherpas who are regular casualties on the mountain. Last month, a brawl broke out at over 6,096m (20,000ft) when three climbers crossed paths with a group of about 100 sherpas laying ropes for wealthy clients. So far, this year more than 500 climbers have reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain.

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