Everest climber detained after hiding to avoid buying $11K permit

On Friday, according to the BBC, a South African mountaineer was detained by officials in Nepal after attempting to climb Mount Everest without paying the roughly $11,000 climbing permit fee.

Now, the climber claims his passport has been confiscated and that he may likely face jail time in Nepal for his actions.

Ryan Sean Davy, a 43-year-old South African filmmaker, was attempting to climb Mount Everest solo, unassisted and without the use of supplemental oxygen. On his blog, Davy said he was taking on the challenge as a way to help him get his life out of a rut.

“For 10 years I had plowed all my finances and resources into two full-length feature films, none of which had gotten the results I had hoped for,” Davy wrote on his decision to try to climb Everest. “It was time to re-look at my life and reassess my goals.”

Davy had gotten pretty far in his attempt to climb Everest — according to Yahoo he made it to camp two, which is located 21,000 feet above sea level (Everest’s summit is 29,029) — before his plan was foiled.

Mount everest

The permitting process for climbing Everest (above) is a major source of income in Nepal. Photo: Courtesy of Fryderyk Supinski/Flickr

“I saw him alone near base camp so I approached him and he ran away,” Gyanendra Shresth, a Nepali government liaison officer at Everest base camp, told Daily Mail. “I followed him with my friend and found him hiding in a cave nearby. He had set up camp in an isolated place to avoid government officials.”

Once it was discovered Davy had no permit, he was detained and his passport confiscated. In Nepal, the fees associated with issuing Everest climbing permits are a major source of income for the nation.

On his Facebook page — where he had documented his journey — Davy published a long post detailing everything that had occurred.

“I am going to be honest in saying that when I arrived at Base Camp it became evident that I didn’t have nearly enough money for a solo permit because of hidden costs and even if I did they would have declined it because I had no previous mountaineering experience on record,” Davy wrote. “It would have been a total embarrassment to turn around and accept defeat because of a piece of paper.”

Everest Summit

Davy claims if he was allowed up the mountain, he could have helped rescue others in need. Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“My main incentive for being on the mountain was to help anyone who might have been in trouble since every year there are so many fatalities,” Davy continued. “If I could at least have helped one person it would have made a difference, that would have been my Summit. Unfortunately the system caught up with me.”

Davy then wrote that he was harassed by Nepalese officials to such a degree after being discovered that he “honestly thought I was going to get stoned to death right there. I’m not even exaggerating.” And he noted that the incident is “a true testimony of how money has become more important than decency.”

Per the Daily Mail and posts to Davy’s Facebook page, the South African is facing $22,000 in fines and is likely to be jailed until his ordeal is sorted out.

In addition to the fines, Yahoo reports Davy could be banned from Nepal for five years or face a 10-year ban on climbing in the country for violating the country’s Tourism Act.

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