Hillary Step still there: Tourism Department

The Hillary Step is still there. The government on Friday issued a statement confirming that the rock face located just below the summit of Everest is intact and covered with snow, refuting reports that it had fallen off, most likely following the 2015 earthquake.

“The Tourism Department has collected information following news reports of the destruction of the Hillary Step with the help of icefall doctors who prepare climbing routes on Everest. They have confirmed that the Hillary Step is still intact and is covered with snow,” the government said.

“The misconception may have appeared as a new route to the summit has been constructed some 5 meters to the right of the original route.”
The government said, “We are thankful to the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) and icefall doctors for their great work as well as the media which has been consistently reporting about mountaineering events in Nepal. We would, however, like to request them to please verify such grave news reports with multiple sources before making them public.”

International media attention was drawn after a British mountaineer Tim Mosedale confirmed news reports of the disappearance of the Hillary Step on Facebook after reaching the summit on May 16.

The mountaineer said the Step may have come down during the devastating 2015 earthquake in Nepal. “The Step had gone because the area was blasted with snow,” Mosedale wrote on Facebook. He said, “This year, however, I can report that the chunk of rock named ‘The Hillary Step’ is definitely not there anymore.” The 12-metre rocky outcrop stands on the mountain’s southeast ridge, and is the last great challenge before the top. It was named after New Zealander Edmund Hillary who was the first to scale it in 1953.

Meanwhile, the government has also confirmed that ‘no casualties’ have been found and no tents with dead bodies have been discovered at South Col, a pass between Everest and Lhotse.

As per instructions sent by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to the NMA regarding
the news about “four climbers found dead at South Col of Mt Everest”, the NMA has carried out its best efforts and submitted its report to the Tourism Department.

“The report states that the source of the news has retracted its statement and moreover, during a
Physical inspection at South Col of Mt Everest by other climbers than those of the source, no casualties were found and no tents with dead bodies were discovered,” it said.

“The Department of Tourism finds this report a great relief and firmly believes that it will offer the same degree of relief to the concerned families, mountaineers and other stakeholders.”
Source: Kathmandu Post

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