Nepal Bans Two Climbers for Lying About Ascending Mount Everest Summit

by Chris Haney

On Thursday, officials in Nepal banned two climbers for lying about their climb to the top of Mount Everest back in 2016.

It turns out that Narender Singh Yadav and Seema Rani Goswami, of India, faked their summit of the famous mountain. Over four years after their supposed ascent, officials banned the two climbers from mountaineering in Nepal.

Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) revoked the pair’s summit certificate given to each climber after their faked feat. An Indian Express report stated that the agency has exiled the two climbers from the alpine sport for the next six years.

According to the newspaper, the duo allegedly edited photos of themselves at the summit of Mount Everest. They submitted the doctored pictures to tourism officials in Nepal to prove they completed the famous trek. At first glance, MoCTCA officials believed the climbers’ photos to be real and issued summit certificates to commemorate their journey.

Mount Everest Climbers, Lead Guide Receive 6-Year Bans

In 2020, things took a turn for the climbers when Yadav was nominated for India’s prestigious Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award. The climbers’ photos began to circulate and become more prominent because of the award. Subsequently, other mountaineers began to question the validity of their images.

The MoCTCA then launched an investigation into the altered photos of their 29,032-foot ascent. Officials in Nepal announced the climbers had indeed lied. In fact, the agency specifically stated that the pair “never reached the summit” of Mount Everest.

“In our investigation, we found that they had submitted fake documents [including photographs]. Based on the documents and the conversation with the officials concerned, including sherpas [expert Nepalese mountaineers], we reached this conclusion,” a tourism ministry official told the newspaper.

In addition to the climbers’ punishment, their lead guide, Naba Phukon, also received a six-year ban. Phukon shared more details about the pair’s journey as the scandal broke, but admitted they never made it to the summit. He said they had issues with their oxygen tanks and feared frostbite. Therefore, the two climbers turned back before ever reaching the summit.

“Their oxygen cylinders were not working and their sherpa, Dawa Sherpa, too was not there. Seeing their condition, I told both of them to return [to base camp.] Later, I met Rani at Lhotse Face and she was suffering from frostbite. I called the sherpas at base camp and they launched a rescue for her. Yadav had already left for the base camp,” Phukon explained.