A professional climber has broken the British record for summiting Mount Everest, reaching the top of the world’s highest mountain for the 12th time on the first trip involving foreign climbers in two years.
Kenton Cool, 42, was joined by two Sherpas and another Briton, Robert Lucas. The Brits are also the first foreign climbers to reach the 8,850 meters (29,035ft) peak this season after a group of Sherpa guides fixing ropes got to the top on Wednesday.
David Liaño Gonzalez, a Mexican, and his guide made the top 10 minutes later. It was the sixth successful summit for Gonzalez, who has climbed the mountain from both sides.
Confirming the successful ascents, Gyanendra Shrestha, a Nepalese Tourism Ministry official, said: “They have become the first foreigners to reach the top of Everest after two years. Three foreigners and three Nepalese have climbed Everest this morning.”
About a dozen climbers were expected to try for the summit on Thursday, out of about 289 hoping to attempt Everest this year.
According to Himalayan Guides, a commercial guiding company, Cool and his party left for their summit attempt as soon as the Sherpa team fixing ropes to the summit had returned from their efforts on Wednesday.
The ascents mark the return of foreign climbing expeditions to Everest’s summit following two seasons marked by tragedies on the mountain.
In 2014 a massive avalanche near Everest base camp killed 16 Nepali guides, after which expeditions were called off. In April 2015 avalanches triggered by a devastating earthquake claimed the lives of 19 climbers, including high-altitude guides and helpers at the base camp. Everest’s closure for a successive year was an economic blow for a country in which mountaineering is big business; the Nepalese government charges climbers $11,000 (£7,600) for permits to climb Everest.
Speaking after Thursday morning’s ascents, Iswari Paudel, owner of Himalayan Guides, said in an interview with Nepalese media: “In the last two years, I have lost 14 sherpas in two disasters on Everest. All of us in the climbing community – locals and westerners – were so sad. We really wanted to send out a positive message to the world this year … and today’s summit is very good news.”
(Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/ , May 12, 2016)