American mountaineer with Free Tibet banner barred from Everest

Nepalese authorities have barred an American mountaineer from climbing Mount Everest after discovering a Free Tibet banner in his possession, Nepalese media reports said Wednesday. ( dpa )

The mountaineer, who was not identified, was asked to return to Kathmandu after Nepalese security personnel discovered the banner at the Mount Everest base camp, the Nepali-language Kantipur newspaper said.

"We asked the climber to be sent back to Kathmandu immediately," the newspaper quoted an unnamed official at the Home Ministry as saying.

The climber belonged to the Eco-Everest Expedition 2008, which aims to highlight the effects of global warning on glaciers as well as the garbage left behind by climbers in the Everest region.

"We are trying to get more details surrounding the incident to determine the nature of the violation and extent of the action," the newspaper quoted the official as saying.

The action is the first by the Nepalese government since it announced stringent security measures on the world's highest mountain in the run-up to the planned leg of the Chinese Olympic torch relay that is to scale the world's highest mountain.

Last week, the government said it was deploying nearly two dozen soldiers and police at Camp 2 on Mount Everest, located at more than 6,500 metres above sea level.

Nepal has also barred expeditions from climbing to the summit of the 8,848-metre peak until May 10 to foil any attempts by pro-Tibetan groups from disrupting the torch run.

Separately, the Home Ministry said stringent security was in place to facilitate China's plans to take the Olympic touch to the summit.

"All security wings have been mobilized to deal with the situation and will not allow any anti-China activities on Nepalese soil," a Home Ministry statement said.

Nepal has seen growing anti-China protests by Tibetan exiles since early March and used police force to disperse the demonstrators.

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