Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Into Thin Air Again...

By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA, Associated Press Writer Mon May 30, 4:34 PM ET
KATMANDU, Nepal - At least 30 climbers scaled

Mount Everest on Monday, exploiting a break in treacherous weather to reach the world's highest peak, officials said.

They were the first to reach the 8,850-meter summit from the Nepalese side during this year's climbing season, which ends Tuesday, said Rajendra Pandey, a Mountaineering Department official.

At least two climbers have died in previous attempts this year, as strong winds and snowstorms have made climbing conditions miserable, forcing climbers to remain at the base camp for weeks.

According to the latest reports from the mountain, the climbers were moving safely along the route, but wind was picking up speed and cloud cover was moving over the peak as the climbers make their return journey.

The return is considered more dangerous, because climbers tend to be exhausted and have less oxygen to spare.

Dozens of climbers left the highest South Col camp at 26,240 feet around midnight and trekked in the dark across the icy slopes toward the summit. The section above South Col is known as the "death zone" for its extreme weather and thin atmosphere.
Mountaineering officials in Katmandu said the weather forecast was favorable, with low winds and clear skies � the first calm weather on the south side of the mountain this climbing season.

Some climbers have scaled Mount Everest from the Chinese side in recent days.
Since New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first conquered Everest on May 29, 1953, more than 1,400 climbers have scaled the mountain. About 180 people have died on its unpredictable slopes.
On the Net:
News about Everest: http://www.mounteverest.net

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