US campaigner in rare autumn Everest summit

An American polar explorer and four Nepalese guides have become the first mountaineers in four years.

Last Updated: Oct 20, 2010, 21:32 PM IST

Kathmandu: An American polar explorer and
four Nepalese guides have become the first mountaineers in
four years, to summit Mount Everest during the autumn climbing
season, Nepal`s government said on Wednesday.

Eric Larsen and his team took advantage of a brief
lull in the weather to push for the summit of the world`s
highest peak on October 15, the tourism ministry said.

The successful climb means Larsen has now reached the
North and South Poles and Mount Everest in a single calendar
year, a goal he set himself in 2009 with the aim of raising
awareness of the impact of global warming.

"We made it. The Sherpas and I did it. It`s hard to
believe," he said from the summit in an audio clip posted on
his website, www.ericlarsenexplore.com.

There are two climbing seasons for Everest, but most
mountaineers favour the spring, when weather conditions on the
8,848-metre (29,028-foot) Himalayan peak tend to be more
favourable.

Larsen said the group had taken advantage of a
three-day window of good weather for their ascent, but he
described the weather conditions on their way down the
mountain as "brutal" and said he had barely slept in four
days.

Tourism ministry spokesman Laxman Bhattarai said there
were just two expeditions on Everest this season. The other, a
Japanese climber attempting a solo ascent, was forced to
abandon his attempt due to bad weather.

Around 3,000 people have climbed Everest, which
straddles Nepal and China, since it was first conquered by
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

Some 250 people made it to the summit from the more
popular south side in Nepal during this year`s spring climbing
season, which begins in late April and ends in late May,
mountaineering officials have said.

PTI