Nepal has officially opened Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak, to climbers for the first time this season.
The treacherous mountain has been closed since an earthquake induced avalanche in April killed 19 mountaineers and ended the peak spring climbing season.
The first to attempt to scale the mountain will be veteran Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki. Kripasur Sherpa, Nepal’s tourism minister, awarded Kuriki his climbing permit during a ceremony in Kathmandu on Sunday.
Kuriki will leave for the mountain by helicopter on Tuesday and hopefully reach the summit by mid-September. The autumn season is widely regarded as the most difficult time to attempt Everest and is usually avoided.
“The main purpose of my climb is to spread the message that Nepal was safe for climbers and trekkers even after the earthquake,” Kuriki said to reporters.
It won’t be Kuriki’s first attempt. He’s tried to reach the top on four previous occasions. His last attempt in 2012 cost him nine fingers to frostbite.
Nepal has been desperate to bring back the tens of thousands of mountaineers who hike the country’s mountain trails and climb its mountain peaks. Such activity is the primary source of income for the country, with permits to climb Everest costing thousands of dollars.