Solukhumbu : It could be life-threatening if anyone on mountaineering expedition gets his or her life-saving materials lost or stolen. Mountaineers scaling Mt. Everest are worried about the incidents of oxygen bottle theft, a trend increasing in the high camp lately.
Climbers have complained that the trend of oxygen tanks getting stolen from the high camp has made the matter worse.
“There is nothing we can do when oxygen bottles, food items and cooking gas cylinders are stolen by breaking the tent lock,” said Phurwa Namgyal Sherpa, General Secretary of the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association.
There are instances that one had to return midway to the base camp as there was no alternative to returning after the loss of the life-saving oxygen bottle, he said.
“The problem is becoming serious up in the high camp. I have kept on hearing the incidents of oxygen tanks theft from expedition teams,” said a guide Tenjing Sherpa.
In general, a mountaineer needs at least seven oxygen tanks throughout an expedition up and down the highest peak. One inhales at different rates, if he or she inhales at the maximum rate, a tank lasts for up to five hours.
Experts have warned that such tendency could result in a disaster in the long run.
The stolen oxygen bottles are taken down to the base camp and sold out, guides said.
“The market for such stolen oxygen tanks seems to be quite good. The government or concerned authorities must focus on the problem,” said Tshering.