August 19, 2014 / 6:27 AM / 5 years ago

Nepal names mountain after Everest chronicler Elizabeth Hawley

U.S.-born Elizabeth Hawley, former journalist and chronicler of mountain climbing in the Himalayan nation, speaks on a phone in Kathmandu May 5, 2011. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/Files

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal has named a small Himalayan peak near its border with Tibet after a respected chronicler of mountain climbing and opened it to foreign mountaineers for climbing, officials said on Tuesday.

The U.S.-born Elizabeth Hawley came to Nepal in 1960 as a journalist for Time magazine and from her home in Kathmandu she now runs the Himalayan Database, a record of major climbs of mountains in Nepal including Mount Everest.

Though the database is unofficial, many climbers respect and use it for climbing-related information.

Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), said Peak Hawley at 6,182 metres (20,328 feet) in Humla district in northwest Nepal was also opened to foreign climbers for the first time.

“We have named the peak to recognise and honour her contributions to mountaineering activities in Nepal,” Dipendra Paudel, a Tourism Ministry official, told Reuters.

But Hawley, still a U.S. citizen, was not impressed.

“I think the mountains should not be named after individuals. They should have local names,” she told Reuters.

Early this year, Nepal named two peaks in the Everest region after New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, whose pioneering ascent of the world’s highest mountain in 1953 popularized the country as a destination for mountain climbing.

Nepal has more than 1,300 mountain peaks - only 414 of them including Mount Everest are open for climbing. The government says it is preparing a profile of all its peaks, which will be named and opened to climbers gradually in future.

Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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