Kathmandu - Eight
Nepali climbers reached the top of Mount Everest on Tuesday, opening
the route for a potentially record number of climbers to summit the
world's highest mountain in the coming weeks.
A team of experienced mountaineers were waiting for powerful jet
streams raging around the top of Everest to subside to fix ropes to the
summit for foreign climbers.
"It has been difficult this year and we were getting worried. But the
weather finally improved for the eight to reach the top," Iswari Paudel
of Himalayan Guides Nepal, the company assigned to fix the ropes, told
Poudel said that many teams were preparing to summit in the next few days.
Nepal has issued a record 378 permits costing $11 000 each to
mountaineers for this year's spring climbing season, sparking fears of
overcrowding if the weather cuts down the number of climbing days.
Most Everest hopefuls are escorted by a Nepali guide, meaning about
750 climbers will tread the same path to the top of the 8 850m
(29 035-foot) peak in the coming weeks.
And at least 140 others are preparing to scale Everest using the
northern route from Tibet, according to expedition operators,
potentially taking the total past last year's record.
Everest attracts hundreds of mountaineers each spring, when a window
of good weather opens up between late April and the end of May,
prompting a rush for the top.
A record 807 climbers reached the summit of Mount Everest last year,
with 563 people climbing from the south and 244 from the northern flank
The mountain also claimed the lives of five climbers, including an
experienced Sherpa guide who was knocked down a crevasse by a rescue
A boom in climbers has made mountaineering a lucrative business since
Sir Edmund Hillary and sherpa Tenzing Norgay made the first ascent in
There are mounting concerns, however, that the numbers are
unsustainable, with fears of dangerous overcrowding as well as a
worsening environmental situation.
In April a clean-up team brought back three tonnes of garbage from
the mountain left behind by climbers including climbing gear, gas
canisters and excrement.