Mt Everest
Valley of the death.AFP

Amid growing concerns regarding the lack of safety measures by Nepal government for climbers on Mt. Everest, officials on Thursday, June 13, clarified that high altitude sickness and other health conditions were the cause of deaths, not congestion.

The Director-General of Department of Tourism, Dandu Raj Ghimire, said, "Our attention has been drawn to the wrong information about deaths on Everest conveyed by national and international media."

According to Ghimire, the post-mortem reports of the climbers have shown high altitude sickness, weakness or adverse weather conditions were the cause of deaths.

Refuting claims of "traffic jams", he said that the permits for climbing the highest peak in the world were 388 issued this year which according to him is not "a huge difference" from the 366 permits issued in 2017 and 346 issued in 2018.

Ghimire also expressed his dissatisfaction in spreading of wrong information on international news platforms and claimed that such coverage of news "tarnishes our image and affects our mountaineering sector".

According to the official data by the Nepal government, 11 climbers were reported dead or missing this year.

International discussions on lack of safety measures in the Everest began last month when Nirmal Purja, a Nepalese mountaineer, posted a picture on Facebook of an alarming number of people standing on the "death valley", extending to the top of the peak.