More than 50 climbers crowd Everest summit

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, May 25, 2012 7:31 EDT
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Everest climbers via AFP
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More than 50 climbers successfully summited Mount Everest on Friday, a Nepalese official said, amid concerns about overcrowding on the world’s highest peak after four deaths earlier this week.

Multiple expeditions had set off late Thursday for the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) summit, taking advantage of a two-day weather window that was expected to see more than 200 people attempt a final ascent.

“Today so far 52 people have summited and there were a total of 150 ready to climb at camp four,” said tourism ministry official Tilak Pandey. ascent

“Yesterday only half went up because they were fearing traffic jams and those remaining will start their ascent this evening and will be back by tomorrow.”

German national Eberhard Schaaf, 61, South Korean Song Won-Bin, 44, Nepali-born Canadian Shriya Shah, 33, and Chinese climber Ha Wenyi, 55, were all found dead near the summit on Saturday last week.

Their deaths prompted warnings from experts that potentially dangerous levels of overcrowding could lead to further accidents as “traffic jams” snarled the Everest “death zone”, above 8,000m.

“The problem is not in fact that too many people might be on the mountain but rather too many people attempt to reach the summit on the same day, leading to overcrowding in the highest parts,” Dawa Steven Sherpa told AFP by e-mail from the base camp.

Sherpa, 28, a mountain guide and conservation activist who has climbed Everest twice, said he had carried out an audit at base camp that suggested 130 people would attempt the summit on Friday and 95 on Saturday.

The record number of ascents in one day is 169 on May 23, 2010, according to German statistician Eberhard Jurgalski, who compiles data for the 8000ers.com website and has been chronicling Everest activity since 1981.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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