New Mount Everest route not considerably safer, says veteran climber

Andrew Brash says he is concerned that climbers will think changing the standard path on Mount Everest will make it safer.

Calgarian says Nepal diverting hikers into dangerous terrain

A trekker stands in front of Mount Everest on May 7, 2014, a few weeks after 16 sherpas were killed by an avalanche. It was the single deadliest disaster on the world's highest mountain. (Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)

A Calgary climber says changing the standard route on Mount Everest won't guarantee safe passage.

"If you're in the wrong place in the wrong time, you're going to get killed," said Andrew Brash, who summited the mountain in 2006.

​Next month, the Nepalese government plans to move the path to a different part of the dangerous Khumbu Icefall where 16 Nepali Sherpas were killed last year. 

"If you want to do the mountain, which lots of people obviously do, you have to go through that feature. And it's a hell of a risk to take on," said Brash.

The map above outlines the new and old routes of Mount Everest. (CBC)

Icefall route

The new route will still meander through the icefall, but divert climbers further away from the side of the mountain that is so prone to avalanches.

Brash says trekkers will face a longer route and have to hike through the centre of the glacier, which is a massive pack of shifting ice where massive chunks are constantly breaking off.

"Some are the size of a car," he said.

Brash says although the new route will eliminate the possibility of people triggering avalanches on Mount Everest, it's important for people realize that the mountain will "never be safe."

More than 4,000 climbers have reached the summit of the mountain since it was first scaled in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay.


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