Sherpa season’s first to scale Everest

Kathmandu, May 21:

A Nepali Sherpa was the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest this spring climbing season from the southern approach to the the 8,848-metre mountain at 3.27 pm yesterday, officials said today.

“Nepali high altitude worker Namge Sherpa reached the summit yesterday,” tourism ministry official Ramesh Khatri Chhetri said.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Namgya Sherpa hails from Lelep village of Taplejung district.

It said Sherpa is the high altitude worker of Friendship Mt Everest Expedition 2008.

The 10-member expedition team, under the leadership of Kalpana Das of India, had been permitted to scale the mountain from the normal route within 75 days beginning March 31.

The expedition was managed by Arun Treks and Expedition Pvt Ltd Kathmandu, according to the ministry statement.

This morning, 17 climbers — including nine foreigners — reached the highest point on the planet, the official said.

“Nine people from the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdon reached the summit this morning,” the official from the ministry’s mountaineering department said.

This year, Apa Sherpa aims to smash his own world record of 17 successful ascents of the highest mountain.

Everest is considered holy by many in Nepal and Tibet.

In addition, two septuagenarians — a 77-year-old Nepali man and a 75-year-old Japanese man — are battling for the record of the oldest to reach the world’s highest peak.

The record is currently held by a 71-year-old Japanese retired schoolteacher.

A total of 32 mountaineering expeditions have permits to try this spring season.

The spring is considered the best time because there is a brief lull in jet-stream winds at the summit before the monsoon rolls in from the South Asian subcontinent towards the end of May.

“There are some 600 foreigners attempting the 8848-metre summit and if the weather holds, we are expecting a large number of successful summits,” according to the tourism ministry official .

Since it was first scaled by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the mountain has been ascended at least 3,000 times.