A couple who used edited images to ‘prove’ they had reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain has received a ten-year ban from climbing any Nepalese mountain after being undone by some pretty basic errors. The first clue, according to The New York Times, was that the flag in the picture was hanging limp in a place known for its wind ripping flags to shreds. Other clues included an oxygen mask not connected to the tank and a lack of snow and mountains in the reflections of their glasses.
Narender Singh Yadav and Seema Rani Goswami, from neighboring India, claimed to have reached the summit in 2016 as part of a 15-person group of climbers, and used the faked images to receive their certificates from the Nepalese Department of Tourism. However, even at the time, other mountaineers said they hadn’t seen the couple at the summit and one of the Sherpas for the group said that they hadn’t made it to the top. In fact, investigations revealed that they had run low on oxygen, weren’t in fit condition to reach the top and that they had to be rescued and brought down the mountain without reaching the summit.
Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has now banned them from climbing any mountains in the country for ten years and has imposed the same restrictions on the organizer of their group for allowing it to happen. According to the New York Times, dozens of faked summit claims are uncovered every year by those who want the cherished certificate but who didn’t make it all the way up the mountain.
A suggested solution to the problem of faked images has been a streaming camera at the summit itself to independently verify who reaches the peak, so the Department of Tourism might soon be looking for a camera that works best in freezing conditions. Any suggestions?