KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Four veteran Sherpa climbers set off on Monday for Mount Everest on a mission to climb the world’s tallest mountain in five days from the Nepalese side, in order to set a record for its shortest winter ascent up close over three decades, hiking officials said. .
Ming Temba Sherpa, Halung Dorchi Sherpa, Tashi Lakpa Sherpa and Pasang Nurbu Sherpa pose for a group photo before the press conference organized before heading to try the record for the Everest winter expedition in 5 days, in Kathmandu, Nepal February 24, 2020. / Photo taken March 21, 2018 / REUTERS / Navesh Chitrakar
If successful, the team led by Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, 34, who has climbed Everest eight times, will be the first to climb the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit in 27 years in winter, when it is colder and colder the daylight hours make climbing difficult.
“We know it is extremely risky and difficult to climb Sagarmatha during the winter, but we are very well acclimatized and prepared for it,” Sherpa told reporters, using the name by which the Nepalese refer to Mount Everest. .
“Our team is strong and we are confident we can do it,” he added, before taking a helicopter to Everest base camp.
Temperatures in the Everest death zone, allegedly due to the thin air above its southern pass, can drop as low as -40 ° C (-40 ° F) in winter, which makes climbing more difficult and risky than the popular spring season, say the hikers.
(Click tmsnrt.rs/2r5hOS3 for an interactive graphic of last year’s deadly spring climbing season.)
The last winter ascent of the mountain dates back to 1993, and many winter expeditions have not been able to reach the summit since, said Mira Acharya, an official with the Nepal tourism department.
Climbers usually spend several weeks on Everest acclimatizing and preparing for summit offers, but compressing it in five days is very difficult and risky, said Shanta Bir Lama, head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.
Last year was the deadliest in Everest since 2015, with 11 climbers, mostly Indian, dying, nine on the Nepalese side and two on the Tibetan side.
Since Everest was first summoned by New Zealand beekeeper Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, around 5,000 people have reached the summit, but more than 300 people have died on its slopes.
Two teams from Germany and Spain are now on Everest battling the cold, said hike officials.
Gopal Sharma report; Editing by Euan Rocha and Clarence Fernandez