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Nepal opens up 104 new peaks for climbing

May 22, 2014 GMT

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal has opened 104 more mountain peaks for climbers, including two named after the conquerors of Mount Everest, hoping more foreign climbers come to the Himalayan country, a tourism official said Thursday.

Tourism Ministry official Maddhu Sudan Burlakoti said the peaks opened by the government include 7,681-meter (25,200-foot) high Hillary and 7,916-meter (25,970-foot) Tenzing.

New Zealander Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay became the first people to climb Everest on May 29, 1953. Next week marks the 61st anniversary of the conquest.

Previously, Nepal issued climbing permits for 310 mountains, and the additions mean climbers will have the opportunity to conquer peaks that have never been climbed before.

Hundreds of climbers come every year to scale the Himalayan peaks in Nepal, which has eight of the 14 tallest peaks in the world.

Last month an avalanche swept the slopes of Mount Everest killing 16 Nepalese Sherpa guides in the mountain’s worst climbing disaster. Everest’s climbing season was cancelled. Climbers were forced to return from Everest without an attempt to scale the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) world’s highest mountain because many Sherpa guides refused to climb after the deaths.

Mountaineering is a significant boost to Nepal’s economy, by bringing in money spent by foreign visitors, by increasing flights and hotel occupancy and by employing locals as guides, porters, cooks and other support staff.