Nepal has reopened its peaks and trails for foreign adventurers in hopes of providing much needed income for hundreds of thousands of guides, porters and workers who have been unemployed for months because of the pandemic
So adventurers looking to scale Nepal’s Himalayan peaks and trek its mountain trails can finally do so for the first time in seven months, as the country reopens to foreigners even as the coronavirus pandemic has left it short of hospital beds.
Foreign visitors are a major source of income for Nepal and the closure has impacted the estimated 800,000 people who work in the tourism industry.
Spring is the mountaineering season when foreign climbers come to Nepal to attempt scale the highest peaks, while the fall is popular for trekkers who come to hike the mountain trails. The spring mountaineering season was cancelled in March when the scale of the pandemic became clear and was followed by the country mostly closing its borders to outsiders.
Nepal has reported 176,500 coronavirus infections since the pandemic began and 984 deaths. The nation of 30 million people is running short on hospital beds and the government has asked patients with less than life threatening symptoms to stay at home in isolation.