A South African climber has been detained by officials in Nepal after attempting to climb Mount Everest without paying the roughly $11,000 for a solo climbing permit.
Ryan Sean Davy, a 43-year-old South African mountaineer and filmmaker, claims his passport has been confiscated and that he may likely face jail time in Nepal for attempting to solo the world’s highest mountain without a permit.
Davy had 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. Once it was discovered Davy had no permit to climb, he was detained and his passport was confiscated. In Nepal, the fees associated with issuing Everest climbing permits are a legitimate source income for the nation.
On his blog, Davy said that he was taking on the challenge of climbing unassisted and without the use of supplemental oxygen 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.”
“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.”
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.”
Davy goes on to write that he feared for his life after Nepalese officials discovered that he did not have a permit, “honestly thought I was going to get stoned to death right there. I’m not even exaggerating.” He then notes that the incident is “a true testimony of how money has become more important than decency.”
The South African is facing $22,000 in fines and is likely to be jailed until his ordeal is sorted out.