Climber Assaulted on Mount Everest for Attempting Summit Without a Permit

An incident between a group of Tibetan guides and a Chinese climber threatens to raise tensions further in the region.

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Tim Chong / Reuters

Mount Everest, the world highest peak, and other peaks of the Himalayan range are seen from air during a mountain flight from Kathmandu.

It takes a truly bold adventurer to hike up Mount Everest solo. But only the boldest explorers attempt the trek without a permit. That’s what an unnamed Chinese climber tried to do last month, but he paid the price when he was a few thousand feet from reaching the summit.

Climbing Everest is an incredibly pricey endeavor. A permit alone can cost at least $25,000. Still, most climbers don’t skip out on this step, but when a group of Tibet Mountaineering Guide School (TMGS) graduates noticed an unnamed Chinese climber keeping to himself and camping alone, they became suspicious, Outside magazine reports. And indeed, they found that he hadn’t acquired the necessary permit. Though details remain hazy, the grads — who’d been working as rope fixers — confronted the climber and allegedly subdued him, bound his hands and marched him back down to the base.

(PHOTOS: Sir Edmund Hillary: First Ascent of Mount Everest)

“It was disgraceful,” a British climber, who asked to remain anonymous, told Outside. “They literally kicked him down the ropes. It was a disgusting example of a pack of bullies egging each other on and literally beating him down the hill. It was absolutely unnecessary as he was offering no resistance and was scared out of his mind.  The Tibetans should, and could, have just escorted him down the hill and let the authorities deal with him.”

Another onlooker, Kari Kobler, told Outside that the Tibetan men dropped the Chinese climber “like a rucksack with an oxygen tank.” Kobler filmed the scene, though he doesn’t plan to release the footage. Kobler suspects the incident could further inflame tensions between Tibetans and Chinese already running high over the ongoing self-immolations by Tibetan monks in protest over China’s occupation of their homeland. It remains unclear what exactly happened to the permitless climber, but he did survive the attack and walked off the mountain shortly thereafter.

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