Climbers scale steep ice on Mt. Everest, the world’s highest mountain. A record 75 people reached the 8,850-metre summit this week. (Associated Press)
A record 75 climbers reached the summit of Mount Everest in a single day this week, officials in Nepal said Friday.
Clear weather around the world’s highest mountain spawned a rush of expeditions up Everest on Thursday, breaking a record previously set in 2002, when 63 people reached the summit known as the "top of the world."
The rocky spur on top of Everest is the highest point on the Earth’s surface, 8,850 metres above sea level.
Nepali tourism official Ramesh Chetri said more reports were coming in of summit attempts and the number could go up.
Chetri also said a Swiss climber died as he made his way down from a successful trip to the top of Mount Everest, identifying the man as 44-year-old Uwe Goltz.
More than 200 people have died on Everest since the first successful climb in 1953, from falls, hypothermia and oxygen deprivation at high altitudes.
Also on Thursday, a veteran Nepali mountain guide, Apa Sherpa, reached the summit for a record 18th time.
This year, a glut of climbing expeditions had been waiting at Everest base camp for a team of Chinese and Tibetan climbers to take an Olympic torch to the summit from the Tibet side of the mountain.
At Beijing’s request, Nepal banned summit attempts until the Chinese torch team reached the top on May 7.
There were fears that pro-Tibet protests could take place on the mountainside.
Rush to the top
The ban was lifted last week and reports from base camp say popular climbing routes are dangerously crowded.
Environmentalists say far too many climbers attempt to reach the top of Mount Everest and the mountainside and base camps are littered with the detritus of expeditions, metal oxygen cylinders, abandoned tents and human waste.
Many of the bodies of those who’ve died on Everest still line the trails and camp sides, mummified in the dry, cold air. Corpses would have to be carried out by porters because there are no roads or airstrips close to base camp.
Several well-known international climbers have announced that they will no longer take part in Everest expeditions because of conditions on the mountain.