On Thursday 10th of June, the Lhasa-based Chinese Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA), the official channel through which climbers must apply for permission to attempt peaks in Tibet, announced future age restrictions for all those attempting Everest from the north.
The information comes from climbing and trekking agencies in Kathmandu, which report Chinese authorities stating that permits to climb Everest will now only be issued to mountaineers between the ages of 18 and 60.
Unconfirmed at present is the inference that this restriction will also apply to other high peaks on the Himalayan divide.
The decision has been made in the aftermath of last month’s Everest ascent by 13-year-old Jordan Romero and seems to have been welcomed by the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA).
NMA president, Ang Tshering, who also runs one of the country's major agencies, Asian Trekking, noted that, ' once Nepal had no age restrictions, but this triggered much competition that was heavily criticized by renowned mountaineers'.
Nine years ago Nepali schoolboy Temba Tshiri became the youngest Everest summiteer at the age of 16 (and 17 days) but lost several toes and fingers to frostbite.
This put pressure on the Nepalese Government to ban young climbers, and in 2003 it set a minimum age of 16. However, there is currently no upper limit.
There do seem to be loopholes in the Chinese regulations. In exceptional circumstances the CTMA may issue a permit to a mountaineer outside the declared age range.
Applications will be considered from climbers outside this age span if they can provide a medical certificate showing they are fit enough to make the ascent, though it is believed that this is most likely aimed at climbers over 60.
Despite Pemba Dorje's recent announcement that he'll be attempting to train 11-year old Nepalese for a 2011 Everest ascent, it seems likely that, in the foreseeable future at least, Jordan Romero will hold on to the record of the youngest person to summit Everest.
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