Earlier this week, the Nepalese government announced proposed new rules governing who will be issued permits to climb Mt. Everest. Among the offerings is a blanket prohibition on individuals with disabilities being allowed on the mountain. Kripasur Sherpa, the country’s tourism minister proclaimed that, “We cannot let everyone go on Everest and die. If they are not physically and mentally fit it will be like a legal suicide. The disabled or visually impaired people usually need someone to carry them, which is not an adventure. Only those who can go on their own will be given permission.”
A blanket prohibition against allowing individuals with disabilities access to Mt. Everest should not stand. Just ask Tom Whittaker, an amputee that summitted unaided or Rob Hill who climbed each of the storied seven peaks despite having Crohn’s disease. Blind climber Erik Weihenmayer accomplished the feat in 2001, earning the cover of Time magazine. Arunima Sinha was the first female amputee and the first Indian female to reach the summit in 2013. These individuals have inspired people with disabilities everywhere with their courage and determination. Don’t let such future climbers be denied a permit and a shot at the incredible experience of testing their meddle on the earth’s highest mountain.
Well, my beloved community of advocates for persons with disabilities, shall we allow this new law to go into effect without a fight? Rise up and barrage Nepal’s elected leaders with your opinion. You may reach them at the following email addresses: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may post a comment on the FaceBook page belonging to the governing authority, Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation.
Thank you for helping us to fight discrimination! While I am at it, may I give a shout-out about how wonderful it is to be in America where we have the Bill of Rights and the ADA? While we do have a ways to go to achieve full access for differently-abled individuals, at least we have these powerful tools that help prevent such sweeping injustices.