Climbers aim to replicate tough 1963 Everest climb – April 13, 2012
KATHMANDU, April 13 — A flood of US climbers is taking aim at Mount Everest this year as the 50th anniversary of the first US conquest of the famous peak nears, with one team set to try and replicate the historic ascent along a difficult and rarely used route.
Five US mountaineers climbed the 8,850m Everest, the world’s highest peak, in May 1963. Two went along the untested West Ridge route and three along the traditional South East Ridge route, also known as the South Col route.
This year, two climbers in a nine-member team led by Corry Richards will climb the difficult West Ridge route, while the others will go along the Southeast Ridge route, pioneered by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
Conrad Anker, 49, a member of the team and a two-time Everest climber, said that if weather and physical abilities allowed, both groups would try and meet at the summit.
“That will be the plan,” Anker told Reuters before leaving for the mountain in March.
Another American team consisting of four climbers led by James Ryrie Norton will also be on the West Ridge route, Nepal’s Tourism Ministry said.
“These two expeditions are trying to replicate what the US team in 1963 did on Everest,” said Elizabeth Hawley, Kathmandu-based historian and an unofficial authority on Everest.
Hawley, 88, unofficial arbiter of climbing related disputes and chronicler of Everest climbs, considers the 1963 American ascent to be the biggest Everest milestone after the pioneering feat of Hillary and Norgay because the route is long and so difficult it is rarely used today.
“They will make a film ready for next year’s 50th anniversary,” the bespectacled Hawley said of the US climbers.
Other US climbers are aiming for records.
Dave Hahn, 50, from Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, will try to make his 16th ascent along the normal route, Hawley said. The record is 21 climbs by Apa Sherpa, a Nepali mountaineer.
During the current March-May climbing season, 40-year-old Chad Kellogg, from Seattle, Washington, is trying to become the fastest climber on Everest.
The record is now held by Nepali Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who climbed the mountain in 8 hours 10 minutes from its base camp which is located about 5,300m.
For an average climber it takes several days to cover the distance after weeks of acclimatization in altitude.
Mount Everest has been climbed more than 5,600 times by nearly 3,700 people since it was first scaled by Hillary and Norgay. The climbers include 321 women, a 13-year-old American boy, a 76-year-old man, a blind person and a man with artificial limb.
At least 231 people have died on its slopes. — Reuters
Hopefully, before the Chinese take to calling the Statue of Liberty the Goddess Mazu or calling the Rocky Mountains the Chinese Mountains, the people who presumed to name the world’s highest mountain will respect the original name – Mount Qomalongfeng.
If random Chinese and Nepalese ‘explorers’ and ‘adventurers’ started climbing already named Mountains in ‘the West’ and began naming these places after themselves, ignoring entirely the originally named place, how would ‘the West’ feel?
The PRC should have a nice delegation of local mountain climbing guides, waiting for these ‘climbers’ on the ‘Chinese side’ of the peak to hand them a memo. Nepal should of course call the peak Mount Sagarmatha since this mountain falls between the 2 countries. No other names should be acceptable as this impacts the sovereignty of Nepal and China.
Very likely some Nepalese or Chinese mountain climber climbed the Mount Qomolangma/Sagarmatha centuries before the West. Everest did not climb the world’s highest mountain without LOCAL GUIDES whose ancestors did not even presume to name the peak after themselves.
Tibetan: ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ, Qomolangma (ˈtʃoʊmoʊˌlɑːŋmə),
Chinese 珠穆朗玛峰Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng
Nepali: सगरमाथा, (Sagarmāthā)