The end of Everest as we know it? China plans to build a mega-resort on the mountain

2016-12-21 16:31 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Rescuers in Nepal search for survivors of a huge quake that killed over 7 000, digging through rubble in the devastated capital Kathmandu and airlifting victims of an avalanche at Everest base camp. (Roberto Schmidt, AFP)

Cape Town - Is summiting Mount Everest or hiking to Everest Base Camp on your adventure bucket list? Well, you have two years to achieve your goal if you're after the authentic and original Everest experience. 

READ: Nepal Trekking: How one South African found so much more than she went looking for

If you're not a very experienced climber, however, and would like to access this iconic destination with ease, the road to Base Camp will soon be much smoother - literally. 

China has big plans to commercialise the Tibetan side of Mount Everest with proposals to open hotels, training facilities, a helipad, museum and string of restaurants at Everest Base Camp.

These plans to conquer Everest comes after China already opened a new asphalt highway across the Tibetan plateau to Base Camp North earlier this year.

Although the Tibetan, north side, isn't as popular as the Nepal route, China is hoping to attract more climbers to the region and bring economic growth to Tibet through tourism. 

And with the past two years' setbacks from the Nepal side, China has become more forward thinking in their management of Everest. 

READ: After Nepal disasters, more climbers eye Chinese route to top of world

Frustrated at the Nepal government's silence over whether his permit to scale Everest will be extended due to the disaster, a growing number of climbers considering another route up the world's highest peak and China is literally planning to pave the way for them to do. 

Building work is expected to begin within a few months, with a completion date sometime in 2019. It is hoped that the new businesses will bring a boost to the Tibetan economy and create new jobs in tourism for local people.

Considering the many deaths and failed attempts at summoning the Mount peak over the past two years, plans for a new building that will house medical services and a base for a rescue team will be a welcome addition, providing much-needed support for adventurers who travel to the mountain range every year to tackle the peaks. 

While many have welcomed the new plans, some critics say the new developments, especially the helipad, would attract an influx of rich tourists to Everest with little interest in mountaineering. 

Other say it would put added pressure on Mount Everest in terms of visitor numbers, given the already lengthy queues to reach the summit that are often found during peak climbing season. 

ALSO READ: Everest deaths: Overcrowding on the world's tallest peak in focus

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