Leaving their files, meetings and humdrum office routine far behind, nine civil servants from Nepal set foot on top of Mount Everest on Wednesday with the aim of promoting tourism.
This is the first time an expedition comprising civil servants has reached the peak of any major mountain. Nepal is celebrating Nepal Tourism Year 2011 with the aim of attracting one million tourists.
"The expedition was divided into two teams and they reached the peak safely between 6 and 7 am," informed tourism ministry spokesperson Lakshman Bhattarai from the Everest Base Camp.
The first team had five civil servants and five Sherpas (climbing guides) and the second team comprised four team members and 10 Sherpas.
"As far as we know this is the first instance of an all civil servant team reaching top of Everest. Once back in Kathmandu, we will verify it and apply for the record," he said.
Bhattarai, a member of the 15-member expedition, was also supposed to attempt the feat. But he returned to the base camp due to health reasons.
Four other members also abandoned their bids due illness while expedition leader Lilamani Poudel returned to Kathmandu after he was appointed as Nepal's new home secretary.
Till Wednesday a total of 135 climbers have reached the top of Everest this season. Three climbers including former Nepal minister Shailendra Kumar Upadhayay (82) have died while attempting the feat.