Picture for representation

Kathmandu, Dec 30 (IANS) Nepal has banned solo climbers from scaling its mountains, including Mount Everest, in an attempt to reduce accidents and make mountaineering safer.

The new safety regulations also prohibit double amputee and blind climbers from attempting to reach the summit of the world’s highest peak, the BBC reported on Saturday citing a Nepal Tourism Board official.

The official said the law had been revised to make mountaineering safer and to curb deaths on Nepal’s mountains. The death toll so far this season stands at six, including 85-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan, who died in a bid to reclaim his title as the world’s oldest person to reach the top.

The report said that a record number of climbers tried to climb Everest this year.

World-renowned Swiss climber Ueli Steck, who was known as the “Swiss Machine”, also died during a solo climb to a peak neighbouring Everest.

Foreign climbers will have to be accompanied by a guide, according to the new regulations. The new rule also will help create more job opportunities for Nepali mountain guides, said officials.

The Nepal government’s decision to ban double amputees and visually impaired climbers was criticised by some, the report said.

Aspiring Everest climber Hari Budha Magar, who lost both his legs when he was deployed in Afghanistan, called the move “discriminatory” and an “injustice” in a Facebook post.

“I will be climbing Mt. Everest whatever the cabinet decides. Nothing Is Impossible,” he said.

Nearly 300 people have died on Mount Everest since the first ascent to the peak was made in 1953. It is estimated that more than 200 bodies are still lying on the mountain, the Kathmandu Post reported.

Mountaineers on Everest die for a number of reasons — more than 20 per cent are killed due to exposure or acute mountain sickness.