Keeping fit hasn’t come easy during lockdown. Our commutes vanished overnight. Gyms and yoga studios closed. And thanks to travel restrictions, most arduous outdoorsy activities have been pretty much out of the question.
But now, countries are tentatively reopening their borders, and in the case of Nepal, their insanely high mountain passes too. So if you’re one of the very few who’ve managed to stay in excellent shape these past few months – and fancy a pretty massive challenge – 2020 could well be your year.
Last week, the country’s tourism department announced it will reopen the Himalayan mountains – including the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest – to climbers for the autumn season. Ambitious types can now apply for permits to trek across the country between September and November.
Hiking and climbing trips have been banned in Nepal since March, and the absence of adventure tourists during peak April and May season has taken a huge toll on the country’s tourism-dependent economy. Some 200,000 sherpas, guides and porters are thought to have been affected by the lack of incoming climbers.
The country lifted a nationwide lockdown on July 21, and as of July 30, hotels and restaurants are also allowed to reopen with social-distancing measures in place. From August 17, international flights will also resume.
Don’t think you’re quite up to the notoriously dangerous Everest ascent? Nepal is also home to seven more of the world’s 14 tallest mountains, so you’ve plenty of, er, not-quite-so-challenging choice.
Remember, many countries are still warning against all non-essential travel and some are quarantining all overseas arrivals, including their own returning citizens. Check all the relevant restrictions before you think about travelling.