Govt working with police to probe Sean Burch claims

17th Nov, 2016 | Tourism Mail Crew

KATHMANDU: The Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation today instructed the Tourist Police to collect necessary evidence on whether American explorer Sean Burch made 31 first ascents of the virgin peaks in Humla district.

[caption id="attachment_1703" align="alignnone" width="800"]Photo Courtesy: Jeroen van den Bergh Photo Courtesy: Jeroen van den Bergh[/caption]

“The DoT has written to the Tourist Police for substantial proofs to initiate further action against Burch (39), who publicly declared himself of making numerous ascents of the virgin peaks without obtaining permits from the department,” DoT’s Director Durga Datta Dhakal said.

Though Burch himself admitted of climbing the virgin mountains within Kangnun Himal, Chandi Himal, Changla Himal and Valley regions of the district, Dhakal said that police would collect all the facts questioning all parties including the climber, the handling agency and others concerned.

Dhakal said that police would interrogate the Tailored Treks, The Nepal Trust, the Humla District Development Committee and the Karnali Tourism Promotion and Development Committee on how Burch made it to the mountains without following the due procedures as set by the DoT.

According to the official, police have been asked to submit their report at the earliest.

None could make any ascent of any peak without obtaining permits from the DoT, he added.

Burch had claimed that he climbed the mountains between 11 October and 31 October.

If his claims of climbing the virgin peaks are true, Burch will be charged with violating Nepal’s mountaineering laws.

According to the Tourism Act, if any mountaineering expedition team or its member scale any Himalayan-peak not opened for mountaineering, the government may impose a fine as much as three times the royalty to be paid for scaling the highest Himalayan peak opened for mountaineering while two times the highest royalty for scaling opened peak without any permit.

In Nepal, the government only opened 414 peaks including the Mt Everest and 17 mountains in Humla. The DoT charges USD 3,000 per climber for an ascent of the Mt Everest, the highest royalty.

Burch, who was named Honorary Goodwill Ambassador to Nepal’s Tourism Year in 2011 by Nepal government, has already been featured in different world media for his numerous world records on adventure and fitness.THT