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Climbers to Recreate '20s Qomolangma Attempt
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An American who discovered the body of George Leigh Mallory on Qomolangma eight years ago will try to recreate the British mountaineer's pioneering attempt using only 1920s gear, a hiking official said on Tuesday.


Mallory and his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine, disappeared near the summit of the world's highest mountain in 1924, and it remains a mystery whether they successfully reached the peak.


Mallory's frozen body was discovered only in 1999, 620 meters below the summit, by a team led by American climber Conrad Anker. Irvine's body has never been found.


Anker and his British climbing mate, Leo Houlding, now plan to retrace Mallory's route up the mountain's Chinese face, said Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.


They will shun modern gear and synthetic fabrics in favor of replicas of Mallory's and Irvine's original clothes as they head for Qomolangma's summit, 8,850 meters above sea level.


Once other expeditions are out of the way, they will also remove the ladders and synthetic ropes that have been permanently affixed at one of the most difficult stretches on the mountain.


Anker's team is expected to set off next week, according to the team's local trekking agency, Mountain Experience.


A record number of people have climbed Qomolangma this year, with 514 reaching the summit since the season began in March.


In 1953, New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa were the first to successfully climb the mountain, almost 30 years after the Mallory expedition.


So far more than 2,000 people have reached the summit, among them a 71-year-old Japanese man, a 16-year-old Nepali boy, a climber with an artificial leg and a Nepali Sherpa who has reached the summit 17 times. But a Dutchman failed in his attempt this year to climb the mountain wearing only shorts.


At least 207 people have died on Qomolangma.


(China Daily via Agencies June 7, 2007)


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