Enhanced outdoor sports management; climbing mountains above 7,000 meters requires permission: sports authorities

Climbers take part in ski training in Lhasa, southwest China’s Zizang Autonomous Region, Oct. 15, 2019. Photo: VCG

The General Administration of Sports of China posted a notice on its official website on Thursday calling for stronger supervision and management of outdoor sports events, noting that climbing mountains over 7,000 meters should be subject to approval.

Local sports authorities at all levels should strengthen supervision of outdoor sports events in their jurisdiction and have a comprehensive understanding of natural resources and environmental conditions conducive to holding outdoor sports events, the notice said.

Local sports authorities should also actively establish a collaborative working mechanism with multiple departments, including public security, health, emergency management and meteorology, and issue specific regulatory measures to guide relevant departments to strengthen self-discipline. and to perform their duties.

Outdoor sports have become the choice of an increasing number of people in China. According to statistics released by the authorities, more than 170 million people practiced outdoor sports in 2021 and more than 60 million participated in professional sports activities with an annual growth rate of 10%.

China’s outdoor sports industry is still in its infancy. Laws and regulations, policies, industry standards, and even public awareness are not yet perfect and solid, and lag behind the rapid growth of the industry.

The most obvious manifestation is that the number of injuries and deaths related to outdoor adventure sports is increasing year on year. There were 352 adventure sports-related accidents, with 308 fatalities and 19 missing in 2021. The total number of accidents increased by 187 and the number of fatalities increased by 227 compared to 2020.

21 people, including two of the country’s top long-distance runners, were reported dead in 2021 due to extreme cold during a 100-kilometre mountain run held in northwest China’s Gansu province, l one of the deadliest tragedies of Chinese marathons.

The notice made it clear that organizers of outdoor sporting events should pay particular attention to warnings and information on natural disasters and accidents issued by relevant departments to ensure that a “circuit breaker” mechanism can be activated in a timely manner.

In addition, the announcement noted that mountaineering activities above 3,500 meters, or 5,000 meters in southwest China’s Xizang Autonomous Region, must be approved by provincial sports authorities. The ascent of mountains over 7,000 meters is subject to the approval of the General Sports Administration in accordance with the law.

According to the official website of the General Administration of Sports, a strict process is required to apply for mountain climbing activities over 7,000 meters in China, including an application form, relevant qualification certificates, a letter of approval from the sports administrative department, a mountaineering plan certificate, equipment list and a physical examination certificate.

Climbing Mount Qomolangma, known in the West as Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is even more demanding, the requirement of “prior climbing experience on a 7,000-meter peak” s proving daunting for many to obtain a permit from the authorities.

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