Mt Everest: From 2024 Spring season, Nepal to make e-chips mandatory for climbers

The Himalayan nation of Nepal will soon make it mandatory for all climbers headed to Mount Everest to carry an electronic chip. This would help rescue parties in case of any emergency at the world’s highest peak.

Mountain climber
A climber may not survive a Mount Everest expedition even after reaching the summit, considered the crowning glory of mountaineering. An electronic chip, embedded in the jacket, can help rescue teams find a stranded climber more quickly. Photo courtesy: Instagram/mount_everest_fans

The previous Spring climbing season at Mt Everest saw at least 17 deaths —12 confirmed dead; 5 missing and presumed dead — by May 2023. One of those presumed deaths was that of experienced mountaineer and Everest summiter Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya, Indian-origin climber from Singapore.

The search for Shrinivas went on for days after he went missing during his descent from the peak. Towards the end of May 2023, his family accepted that he was dead and the body might never be found.

In order to facilitate the search-and-rescue operations in such extreme conditions, the Nepal government will soon formulate a rule for making an electronic chip mandatory, starting from Spring 2024.

The climbing season for Mt Everest has narrow window, and thousands of climbers from all over the world, including India and Nepal, are attracted to the 8,849 metres (29,032 feet) high peak.

While scores of them do reach the summit, some either lose their lives or are seriously injured during the ascent or descent. Since 1953, at least 300 persons have lost their lives, according to Nepal government data.

The Everest base camp is situated at an altitude of 18,000 feet. Any search-and-rescue operation from the base camp onwards to the summit becomes a very hard and risky job because of the snow storms, avalanches, and other extreme weather events.

“All the climbers to Everest would be provided the electronic chip by the government after paying a certain amount. It will be fitted in the climber’s jacket,” said Rakesh Gurung, Director at the Department of Tourism, Nepal, speaking to the Press Trust of India. The chips would cost around USD 10 to USD 15, he said.

According to the Nepalese official, the e-chip will help make the expeditions safer and facilitate emergency rescue operations. Some reputable climbing agencies had already provided the electronic chips to their climbers, he said.