Undeterred by tragedy, race begins for new Everest glory

  • Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
  • Updated: Apr 06, 2015 12:14 IST

Undeterred by last year's avalanche which claimed 16 lives, hundreds of mountaineers from world over are on their way to Everest to scale the tallest peak and attempt fresh records.

Till date 287 climbers have been given permits by the Nepal government to climb the 8,848 metre peak from the south side. The number is expected to cross 300 in coming days.

Last spring 334 climbers had to abandon their attempts on Everest after 16 Sherpas were buried in an avalanche while fixing ropes on the route to the peak before climbers started their ascents.

Raphael Slawinski, an astronomy and physics professor named National Geographic's adventurer of the year in 2014 will try scaling the peak from a new route from the north-east side in China.

The resident of Calgary in Canada will be trying the route with two German friends and without the help of Sherpa guides or supplementary oxygen.

Kenton Kool, a 41-year old English mountaineer, is attempting something which no one has ever attempted before. He will try to scale the three highest mountains Everest (8,848m), K2 (8,611M) and Kanchenjunga (8,586m) within a space of three months.

Rupert Jones Warner, a 23-year old Briton, will attempt to become the first one from his country to scale the peak twice, first from the China side and then from Nepal side, within this season.

Nepali climber Churrim Sherpa, who climbed the peak twice within a week in 2011, will lead an expedition and will carry a bat and jersey of late Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes to the peak.

Visually impaired South Korean climber, Song Kyung-tae, 54, is attempting to become the first blind person from her country to scale the Everest.

Chinese double amputee Xia Boyu is also making a bid for the peak.

After last year's disappointment, Alyssa Azar, 18, from Queensland, is attempting to become the youngest Australian to scale Everest. Another teen Alex Staniforth, 19, from England is also making a bid.

The avalanche had raised questions about safety on the mountain as well as the working condition of the Sherpa guides and porters who help foreign climbers in their expeditions.

Rules were changed, a slight detour made on the route from Nepal and insurance cover for Sherpas raised. There were fears the number of climbers would be fewer this season, but the lure of Everest remains fresh as ever.

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