Uganda halts hikes to Mountain Rwenzori peak over glacier crevasse concerns

Uganda halts hikes to Mountain Rwenzori peak over glacier crevasse concerns
Rwenzori Margherita-Top. PHOTO/COURTESY

Summary:

  • Uganda suspends hiking to Mountain Rwenzori’s peak due to a glacier crevasse. The Uganda Wildlife Authority prioritizes visitor safety and offers alternatives. Environmentalists warn of climate change’s role.

Uganda has temporarily halted hiking expeditions to the summit of Mountain Rwenzori, which it shares with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This decision follows the emergence of a crevasse in the glaciers.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), responsible for wildlife conservation, disclosed this suspension in a statement on Tuesday. The measure affects hikes to Margherita Peak, towering at 5,109 meters above sea level.

“This precautionary step follows a thorough assessment by our team, prompted by reports of a crevasse in the Margherita glacier,” stated the agency. A crevasse signifies a significant crack in glaciers.

UWA is considering the installation of a permanent ladder at an alternate location on the glacier to ensure safe access to the peak.

“UWA places a premium on the safety and satisfaction of our visitors. We are dedicated to ensuring their enjoyment while ensuring their well-being at Rwenzori Mountains National Park,” emphasized the agency.

Travelers are encouraged to explore other peaks within the Rwenzori Mountains, such as Speke, Baker, and Cheptegei, promising breathtaking vistas and unique encounters amidst the park’s stunning landscape.

Though UWA did not attribute the crevasse’s cause, environmentalists caution that climate change is contributing to the melting of the mountain’s glaciers.

Hiking is a cherished tourism activity in Uganda, alongside park visits, chimpanzee and gorilla tracking, birdwatching, and kayaking.

According to figures from the Uganda Tourism Board, visits to Rwenzori Mountain surged from 2,724 in 2014 to 6,043 in 2019.

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