Indian climbers banned from Everest for 'lying they reached the top'

Indian couple are banned from Mount Everest after ‘using Photoshopped photos to LIE they had made it to the top’

  • Narender Singh Yadav and Seema Rani Goswami have been banned by Nepal
  • The couple were found to have faked their climb of Everest with doctored photos
  • Their team leader Naba Kumar Phukon has also been banned for six years
  • Yadav was slated to win India’s prestigious Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award
  • But when the news broke, people were outraged – sparking the investigation 

Two Indian climbers have been banned from mountaineering in Nepal for six years for lying they had reached the summit of Mount Everest.

An investigation found that Narender Singh Yadav and Seema Rani Goswami’s 2016 climb had been faked, after it was certified by the tourism department at the time.

The pair, reportedly a couple from neighbouring India, and their team leader were banned by Nepal after an investigation was launched when they could not provide verifiable evidence of their summit.

Yadav was slated to win India’s prestigious Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award, but when the news broke Indian mountaineers and the media reacted with outrage.

Analysis was shared that showed photographic evidence the climber had used to ‘prove’ he reached the top of the world’s tallest mountain was in fact doctored.  

Pictured: The fake photo reportedly used by the couple to ‘prove’ that they reached the summit of Mount Everest – the world’s tallest mountain – in 2016. Narender Singh Yadav and Seema Rani Goswami, as well as their team leader, have been banned by Nepal from mountaineering 

The award was subsequently retracted from Yadav, and an investigation was launched leading to their summit certification being revoked.

Speaking on Wednesday to AFP news agency, a spokesman for Nepal’s tourism ministry said their investigation and enquiries with other climbers found the couple ‘never reached the summit’.

‘They couldn’t produce any evidence of their ascent to the peak… they even failed to submit reliable photos of them at the summit,’ Adhikari said.

Another ministry spokesman told The Indian Express newspaper: ‘In our investigation, we found that they had submitted fake documents [including photographs]. 

Reaching the summit of Mount Everest (pictured), standing at 29,029 feet (8,848 metres) in the Himalayas, is considered to be an outstanding feat for mountaineers globally

‘Based on the documents and the conversation with the officials concerned, including sherpas [expert Nepalese mountaineers], we reached this conclusion.’ 

In addition to the six-year ban of the two climbers and their team leader Naba Kumar Phukon, that starts retrospectively from May 2016, Seven Summit Treks which organised the expedition has also been fined 50,000 rupees (just under £500).

Their supporting Sherpa was also fined 10,000 rupees (£100). 

Reaching the summit of Mount Everest, standing at 29,029 feet (8,848 metres) in the Himalayas, is considered to be an outstanding feat for mountaineers globally.

Climbers that reach the summit have often gone on to become motivational speakers, or have written books about their journey to reach the peak.

Currently, the system requires photos and reports from team leaders and government officers stationed at the base camp as proof of reaching the summit.

But the potential rewards mean the system is open to attempts at fakery, and this is not the first time climbers have been banned for doctoring photographs.

In 2016, another Indian couple – both police constables – were banned for 10 years for faking photographs that they claimed showed them at the top of Everest. 

The couple superimposed themselves and banners onto photos that had been taken by another Indian climbers – Satyarup Siddhanta – at the summit.  

Following Wednesday’s announcement, Yadav, Goswami and Phukon have been yet to comment on their ban.


The potential rewards for reaching Everest’s summit mean the system is open to attempts at fakery. Pictured left: A real photo of people on the summit. Right: A doctored version of left


Left: A real photo of people on the summit of mount Everest. Right: A doctored version of left

Mingma Sherpa from Seven Summit Treks told Al Jazeera: ‘It is a good decision from the government and a warning to others. 

‘Back then, everyone had said that they reached the summit so we reported it. But the mountaineering industry is based on trust and we must maintain it.’ 

Approximately 800 people climb Mount Everest every year. More than 300 people have died attempting to reach the summit since New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay first reached the summit in 1953.

Approximately 800 people climb Mount Everest (pictured) every year. More than 300 people have died attempting to reach the summit since New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay first reached the summit in 1953

Meanwhile, fears are growing for three climbers missing while attempting to summit the world’s second-highest mountain, K2, 900 miles away from Mount Everest. 

Helicopters failed to spot them on the second day of searching, the Alpine Club of Pakistan said Sunday.

Climbers John Snorri from Iceland, Juan Pablo Mohr from Chile and Muhammad Ali Sadpara from Pakistan lost contact with base camp on Friday.

‘A second helicopters search has found no sign of missing climbers,’ Karrar Haidri, the club secretary, told AFP.

The helicopters’ crew traced the route up to a height of 23,000 feet, he added.

Pakistani mountaineer Ali Sadpara, left, is one of the three climbers missing on the K2 mountain

Iceland’s mountaineer John Snorri, second left in front row, is also missing on the mountain

Chhang Dawa Sherpa, their expedition manager, said he was part of one search team trying to trace the mountaineers.

‘The search team went through the Abruzzi and other routes, we had less weather visibility above C 4 (camp 4), unfortunately, no trace at all,’ Sherpa said in a statement.

Sajid Sadpara, son of Muhammad Ali Sadpara, who had last seen his father at K2’s final technical difficulty ‘bottleneck,’ said the chances of survival were bleak.

‘The chances of surviving for two-three days at 8,000 (metres) in winters are very low,’ Sadpara told reporters.

On Friday a Bulgarian mountaineer was confirmed to have died on K2. 

On Friday a Bulgarian mountaineer was confirmed to have died on K2. He is the third mountaineer to die on K2’s slopes this year

Conditions on K2 are harsh: winds can blow at more than 200 kilometres per hour (125 miles per hour) and temperatures can drop to minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 76 Fahrenheit).

With Pakistan’s borders open and few other places to go, this winter an unprecedented four teams totalling around 60 climbers have converged on the mountain.

Unlike Mount Everest, which has been scaled by thousands of climbers young and old, K2 is much less travelled due to its tough conditions.

One climber dies for every four who succeed in reaching its summit through its steep rock faces, glacier climbs and devastatingly brutal weather. 

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