As reported by Reuters, Nepalese officials announced on Monday that the country will now provide GPS tracking devices to some climbers attempting to summit Mount Everest this year to be able to track climbers in distress, and to prevent climbers from making false summit claims.
The issue of people falsely claiming to have summited Everest made international headlines last year after an Indian couple was outed for doctoring photos to make it appear as though they had reached the peak.
The Nepalese government banned the couple from mountaineering within the country for 10 years.
According to Digital Trends, with the new GPS tracking devices, climbers who say they have reached the top of Everest will have to submit to Nepalese officials both photographs from the peak as well as documentation from climbing liaisons for officials to review their claims.
After climbing, mountaineers will go to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu and turn in their GPS units. Officials will check the tracking data to see how the climbers progressed up the mountain and to verify the authenticity of their summit claims.
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The Times of India reports that the devices will also serve the additional purpose of helping rescue workers locate climbers in distress on the mountain.
According to Reuters, the GPS devices will be given out on a trial basis this year to study their effectiveness in deterring hoaxes.
“If this works, we’ll make it mandatory for all climbers to carry the device from next year,” Nepalese Tourism Department official Durga Dutta Dhakal told reporters, according to Reuters.