KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal may allow hundreds of foreign mountaineers to climb Mount Everest on the same permit next year after they were forced to abandon their expeditions due to an avalanche triggered by last month's devastating earthquake, a minister said on Friday.
More than 350 foreign climbers abandoned their attempts to reach the summit after the avalanche buried part of Everest base camp, killing 18 people and destroying tents.
"No climbers have made any request for the extension of their permits so far. If any request comes I am personally positive about this," Tourism Minister Kripasur Sherpa told reporters.The minister was speaking on the sidelines of a National Mount Everest Day function in Kathmandu celebrating the day when New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay made the first ascent of the mountain in 1953.
A massive earthquake and aftershock struck Nepal on April 25 and May 12, killing more than 8,600 people and making hundreds of thousands homeless.
Reporting by Gopal Sharma. Editing by Andrew MacAskill and Nick Macfie