Mount Manaslu | Commons
Mount Manaslu | Commons
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New Delhi: Bahrain’s Prince Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa landed in Nepal’s Kathmandu Wednesday with an 18-member expedition from the Royal Guard of Bahrain, to climb Mount Manaslu, the world’s eighth-highest peak.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Nepal had shut its borders and grounded international flights just before the climbing season. It resumed flights in September, but only for citizens and foreign diplomats. The ban of foreign tourists in the country will be in place till October.

The 18-member expedition team will include three Britons and 50 sherpas. The team is quarantining for a week at a hotel in Kathmandu before flying via helicopter to the climbing base.

While they have been given permission to climb Mount Manaslu at 8,163m, the team has also been allowed to acclimatise for the climb on Mount Lobuje East in the Everest reach region at 6,119 m. Climbing Manaslu takes about seven weeks.

According to a report in the Nepali Times, Nasser will be donating food supplies to sherpas and their families who lost their livelihood due to the pandemic and lockdown.

The team is preparing to climb Mount Everest in the spring of 2021.

Also read: India will make and supply Covid vaccine for its friendly neighbours

Pandemic expected to leave 16,000 jobless in tourism-dependent Nepal

The only other expedition team that has been allowed to climb during the autumn season is an all-Nepali team that aims to summit Baruntse, a peak in the country’s Khumbu region.

Nepal re-opened its mountains in late July and was about to resume international flights in mid-August to kickstart the autumn climbing season, but a jump in cases delayed this.

As Nepal is home to eight out of 14 of the highest mountains in the world, including the highest, Everest, tourism accounts for nearly 4 per cent of Nepal’s GDP, with the industry getting at least half a billion dollars annually.

According to an analysis by the Asian Development Bank, the Covid-19 pandemic will shave up to 0.13 per cent of the country’s GDP, rendering nearly 16,000 people jobless.

Nepal has reported more than 58,000 Covid-19 cases with almost 380 deaths.

Also read: Tokyo is planning a stripped-down 2020 Olympics, but no one knows what that is


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