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China reportedly closes Shishapangma, Cho Oyu this season



Nepal Mount Cho Oyu. (file)

Pritam Bhattarai

Kathmandu, April 24: Shishapangma and Cho Oyu reportedly remain closed this season, forcing waiting over four dozen climbers to seek alternative expeditions. However, the North Side of Mt Everest will remain open to foreigners from May 7 to June 1, according to the China-Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA).

Earlier, China closed North Side of Everest, Shishapangma and Cho Oyu in 2017, and 2020reportedly due to various problems including an illegal traverse and COVID-19 concerns respectively.

“After 17 days of waiting for an answer about the possibility of climbing Shishapangma in Tibet, we were informed that climbing in the region will not be allowed this year,” wrote Brazilian climber Moeses Fiamoncini on social media. “Now is the time to rethink our plans and redirect our energy towards exploring new challenges.”

Fiamoncini has already scaled eight of all 14th 8,000ers with Shishapangma being his potential ninth.

The CTMA has announced that Everest will only open to foreigners on May, much later than expected. According to latest updates, the Government of Nepal issued 364 permits for the South Side of Everest between March 1, 2024 and April 22, 2024.

The closures are a blow to climbers aiming to conquerall 14th peaks above 8000m in the world. The news also coincides with upcoming searches for the two who had gone missing on Shishapangma in avalanches in October 2023. Four climbers were perished in the avalanches. Bodies of American climber Anna Gutu and her guide Mingmar Sherpa, were recovered, while two others–American climber Gina Marie Rzucidlo, and her guide Tenjen (Lama) Sherpa—are still missing.

Shishapangma is the 14th highest mountain in the world at 8,027m above sea level while Cho Oyu is the sixth highest mountain soaring to 8,188m above sea level. Both of them lie in Tibet.