Nepal close to extending permits for climbers whose Everest attempts were canceled last year

A mountaineering official says Nepal's government is close to extending the permits for individuals who had to abandon their attempts to climb Mount Everest after last year's deadly avalanche.

Chief of the Mountaineering Department Puspa Raj Katuwal said Thursday a proposal has been sent to the Cabinet and is likely to be approved soon.

That would allow the more than 300 climbers denied their summit attempt to return anytime by 2019 for another try.

The avalanche that killed 16 Sherpa guides last April was the worst disaster on Everest.

The government previously said it would let expedition teams come back without paying the permit fees again, but it was difficult for all the teams' members to decide on a single year.