Nepal could impose 5-year travel ban on Spanish climber

Kathmandu: A Spanish mountaineer whose friend died as the pair attempted to climb a mountain in northeastern Nepal without the necessary permits could face a five-year travel ban, a government said on Wednesday.

David Suela Fern�ndez (40) was climbing the Chukima Go peak (6,258 meters) on the border with China, some 250 kilometers northeast of the capital Kathmandu, on Saturday along with Luis Felipe Valverde (44), the Efe news reported.

Valverde died after his rope came untied while he was climbing.

Rescue officials said his body was retrieved from a gorge that was about 700 metre deep.

According to an investigation, the pair did not have climbing permits.

Meera Acharya, Director of the country’s Tourism Ministry, which is in charge of issuing permits, said three penalties had been recommended for Fern�ndez: a five-year travel ban to Nepal, a 10-year ban on climbing in the country and a fine of $250.

“The government (Tourism Ministry) will decide on the punishment,” she said.

Ghanshyam Upadhyaya, Joint-Secretary and spokesperson for the Tourism Ministry, said a decision would be made on Thursday.

Climbing permits for Chukima Go peak cost $125 per person.

The government can fine anyone found climbing the peak without a permit double the fee.

Nepalese authorities have issued permits to 998 foreign nationals for the autumn climbing season, which ends mid-November.

Valverde’s body will be handed over to the Spanish consulate in Kathmandu following a postmortem, according to Acharya.

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