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Not possible to search for British climber and his Sherpa who went missing on Everest, official says

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KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A Nepali official said Sunday it wasn’t possible to search for a British climber and his Sherpa guide who went missing after reaching the top of Mount Everest six days ago because both fell on their way down from “a very high altitude” on the Chinese side of the mountain which will require further coordination to form a search party.

Daniel Paul Paterson, 40, and his local guide Pas Tenji, 23, were reported missing Tuesday on the world’s highest peak which is on the border between China and Nepal.

This climbing season, which started in March and is expected to end in a few days, saw four climbers — two Mongolians, one Nepali and one Kenyan — die. The Kenyan climber’s guide, Nawang Sherpa, has been missing since May 22.

Last year, 18 climbers died while attempting to scale the treacherous 29,032-foot (8,849-meter-) mountain, according to Nepal’s mountaineering department.

“It is not possible to search for the missing climbers right now because the British (mountaineer) and his Sherpa fell from the bottom of Hillary step which is at about 8,800 meters (26,964 feet) and toward the Kangshung Face in Tibet,” said Khim Lal Gautam, an official at Everest’s base camp who monitors climbers.

The Kangshung Face is one of the Tibeatean eastern-facing sides of the mountain, controlled by China.

“It is going to be difficult to search for them because they have fallen on the Tibet side which needs coordination,” Gautam said.

Hundreds of climbers have successfully scaled Everest this month during the short window of good weather. Climbers also reported the usual number of mountaineers en route to the peak’s top this week.

“The traffic of climbers heading to the summit was similar to that of the past two or three years,” Tendi Sherpa, who has scaled the peak 17 times, out of which twice was this month, told The Associated Press.

Tendi said when he and his team reached the summit on May 21, despite seeing “around 200 climbers … they were all organized and using their experiences and expertise” to navigate the crowd.

Among Tendi’s climbing team was Phunjo Jhangmu Lama who scaled the peak in 14 hours and 31 minutes, regaining the title of the fastest female climber of Mount Everest.

Lama also said the climbers’ traffic was normal and that most of her climb from the base camp to the summit went smoothly without any long halts.

“Traffic is nothing new,” Lama said. “It has been going on for years.”

Recently, some have complained that the mountain is becoming too crowded with climbers and dirty because of littering.

In March, Kanchha Sherpa, 91, the only surviving member of the mountaineering expedition that first conquered Everest, echoed the sentiment, saying that the number of climbing permits should be reduced.

During the 2023 spring climbing season, 667 climbers scaled the peak, bringing along thousands of support staff to the base camp, and raising concerns over the generation of trash and waste.

By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA
Associated Press

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