It was a mountain of lies. Last spring, an Indian couple claimed to have summited Mount Everest and made headlines for becoming the first pair from their country to do so. Then their story, which was marked by inconsistencies and faked photos, started to unravel.
Now a high-level committee in Nepal is recommending that the government ban them from the mountain for 10 years, reports The Adventure Blog.
In early June, news outlets were heralding Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod as the first Indian couple to successfully summit Everest. But experienced mountaineers spotted glaring problems with the evidence. BuzzFeed social reporter Andre Borges broke the story on June 28, posting photos showing the two wearing completely different gear at different points of the purported climb. Hrm.
Soon, government ministers had launched an investigation, The Adventure Blog’s Kraig Becker reported. Indian climber Satyarup Siddhanta recognized his own summit photos and accused the couple of altering them to make it seem like they were there. A three-member panel in Nepal concluded that the photos were indeed doctored.
Recently the panel recommended that the couple be stripped of their summit certificates and banned from Everest for 10 years, the Himalayan Times reported. They would also be banned from visiting Nepal to climb for at least a decade, an under-secretary told the paper. Two Sherpas who were with Rathods face getting de-listed from the climbing record. It’s unclear whether the company that led the expedition, Makalu Adventure Treks, will be sanctioned.
Apparently this fake-out isn’t the first for the Rathods, who actually serve as police officers in Pune, India. Borges quoted Indian mountaineer Anjali Kulkarni saying that the couple’s record for climbing the 10 highest peaks in Australia was a lie as well. At the time, the couple was refused certificates saying that they had completed the Aussie 10 Challenge, she said.
If you need a palate-cleanser after all this deception — which wasn’t even convincing — I recommend checking out a real and impressive Everest summit this year by Lhakpa Sherpa. She beat her own record, becoming the first woman to successfully climb the mountain seven times.