Here’s an odd one: The Nepalese government wants to make it easier, much easier, for people to climb towering
. Turns out they are planning to build a working, electric escalator that will carry people from base camp to the summit in less than an hour. The engineering effort is being put in the hands of the Japanese, in a serious political snub to the Chinese who had also bid on the project. The proposed escalator will be approximately fifteen miles long and will rise and fall with the jagged gradations of the mountain. It will move approximately five miles an hour and will offer superb views of the surrounding
. There will be rest stops, as well, built into the structure, that will allow riders to stop for tea or snacks. For children who grow easily bored by gaping mountain vistas, they are planning to offer portable DVD players and a wide selection of films.
Right now, only a handful of people scale the 29,035 foot peak each year, and the government wants to change that. Those who summit today have to pay exorbitant peak fees, approximately $50,000 per climber. But with the construction of an escalator to the top of the mountain, the fee will be reduced to about $1000 per “escalatee”. The Everescalator is scheduled for completion in February 2010.