Reinhold Messner, one of the world's greatest mountaineers of all time, said today that most of the foreigners who came to Nepal to attempt to climb mountains, including the world's highest peak, were only tourists, not real mountaineers.

The country is all set to observe Sagarmatha Day tomorrow to commemorate the heroic achievement of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, who were the first to scale Mt Everest on 29 May 1953.

What is happening today, especially on the big mountains, is not alpinism,” the climbing legend said, stressing a need to promote traditional alpinism to safeguard the value of real mountaineering. Most of those who are on mountains follow the prepared piste (an ice track) to reach the summit,” he claimed, adding that Sherpas were bearing the brunt to facilitate others to scale mountains.