103 new peaks for mountaineering this season

KATHMANDU, Dec 24 - After months of delay, the government today formally
announced that it is opening up another 103 Himalayan peaks for
mountaineering, which now allows mountaineers to climb total 263 peaks in
the country from the 2002 Spring mountaineering season.

The Cabinet had taken the decision last week though the proposal had been
forwarded much before that and mountaineering officials have been saying for
months that these peaks would be opened for climbers. Most of these peaks
are in Solukhumbu district, which is home to Mt Everest and the Kanchenjunga

"This would not only help promote Nepal as the prime destination for
mountaineering but also help development of the areas around these
mountains," said Ganesh Karki, chief of the Mountaineering Department at the
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

The government has also eased on the regulations that required teams to hire
a liaison officer during their expedition. Climbing peaks under 6,500 meters
in height will not require liaison officer. However, 89 of the approved
peaks would not fall under this category. (sjs)