The Everest region is busy with tourists again after a gap of two years that saw no expeditions in Nepal due to separate disasters that struck the Himalayan nation.

“#Everest 2016 is swamped with climbers on both sides now,” US climber Alan Arnette said on Twitter.

The Sherpa guides and icefall doctors, who fix the ropes on the mountain, were Tuesday preparing for the last leg to the summit.

“Everything seems fine so far. We’re preparing to summit this week,” said Nima Sherpa, one of the climbers who had his expeditions called off in 2015 due to earthquakes that rocked the country.

“If the weather favours us, summits will happen in mid-May," he told dpa from the Everest Base Camp by phone.

All Everest expeditions were cancelled in 2014 after 16 Nepali climbers were killed during an avalanche on the Khumbu icefall.

In 2015, 19 climbers died in an avalanche at the Everest Base Camp brought on by the earthquakes that killed more than 8,800 people across the country.

“The most fragile section of the summit, known as the Khumbu icefall, is a glacier that keeps changing gently throughout the year,” said Asha L Singh, a Seven Summits women team climber who just returned from a trip to the Base Camp.

“There’s no set route there as the body of ice keeps changing its form, so we always follow a new path," she told dpa.

"Other than that, the rest seems good,” said the climber, adding that much would depend on this year's conditions.

The accidents have also drawn attention to the conditions of the Nepali guides, who provide essential assistance as climbing the mountain has become more popular.

A Nepali climber makes his way up and down the mountain between six to sixteen times for each expedition, laying out the infrastructure and hauling up the goods required.

“Many small companies without experience are also operating expeditions now,” Ang Tshering Sherpa, the president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association told dpa.

“It is risky for climbers as well, if the guide is not experienced.”

Sherpa said the association has launched a training campaign for guides, to improve safety on the mountain.

“Expedition operators here need to understand that there should not be competition in price, but in terms of service. It is important to make sure climbers are safe. We can’t put everyone’s lives at risk.”

Each foreign climber pays 11,000 dollars for the licence to climb the mountain, but the guide's fees are unregulated, Sherpa said.

"The authorities need to focus on paying the guides well and preventing them from risking their lives. Training is essential and so is investment in the staff."

An improvement in working conditions would also lessen the incentive to skimp on gear to save money.

“If one doesn’t have good shoes or equipment, they could get frostbites and even lose their limbs or things could be worse," he said.

After the 2014 avalanche, the government upped the insurance payout for Nepali climbers to 15,000 dollars from 5,000. But the climbers say their working conditions are still precarious, as the season is so short.

One porter told dpa he has had very little work during the two years of no climbing, when most guides fall back on the little farming that is possible in the mountains. “It’s good that these expeditions are happening again,” said Gyalzen Sherpa, whose job, without climbing training, consists mostly of cooking and carrying supplies.

The two-year gap dealt a major blow to Nepal’s Everest industry, which had witnessed record 335 climbers in 2013, causing something of a traffic jam on the slopes.

This year, 289 foreign climbers were heading to the mountain, accompanied by around 400 Nepalis supporting their expeditions. Out of them, 160 had applied fresh, while the rest were those who had come back after their 2014 or 2015 permits were extended.

“The biggest challenge is always the weather,” Asha Singh said. “If the nature is kind, everything should go well.”

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.