Nepal formally bans Everest climbing to facilitate Olympic torch

Nepal formally bans Everest climbing to facilitate Olympic torchKathmandu - Nepal announced it will ban ascents of Mount Everest for 10 days in May, media reports said Sunday.

The ban will come into effect from 1 May and continue until 10 May, Kathmandu Post reported.

"The cabinet meeting held this week decided on the ban as part of Nepal's policy not to let its soil be used for anti-China activities," the newspaper quoted an unnamed official of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation as saying.

The official said there will be no restriction on climbing up to Camp Two, located at 6,492 metres.

"Furthermore, climbers will be allowed go up to Camp Three for acclimatization but will not be allowed to set up camps there," the newspaper quoted the official as saying.

"The prohibition will not hamper expeditions this Spring climbing season, as climbers do not attempt to scale the world's highest peak until mid-May," the official said.

So far 17 expeditions have received permission from the Nepalese government to climb the 8,848 metre high peak.

Last month, the Nepalese government denied it was considering a ban on the request of Chinese government to stop expeditions from reaching the summit as it planned to take the Olympic torch to the summit in the run up to the Olympic Games in August in Beijing.

Nepal has seen growing anti-China demonstrations, especially by Tibetan exiles, against violence in Lhasa in March. (dpa)