A Chinese amateur mountaineering expedition reached the summit of the world's highest peak, Mount Qomolangma, from the north slope in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, on Wednesday.
Chinese climbers Awang and Zhaxi, both from Tibet, reached the 8,848-meter top at 13:10 hours (Beijing time). They two formed the advance group responsible for TV coverage and live broadcasting, of a team, with three members still on the way up to the top. The three were expected to reach the summit later on the day.
The weather around the summit was cloudy and windy, the climbers reported through their walkie-talkie.
A Japanese expedition became the first team this year to reach the summit from the north slope, at 11:15 (Beijing time) on Tuesday. Two sherpa helpers from a US team also made it to the top, at 12:00 hours (Beijing time) on the same day.
Some over 60 teams are making attempts on Mount Qomolangma this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the human being's first scaling of the summit, by Edmund Hillary of New Zealand, and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa of Nepal on May 29, 1953.
Over 500 conquerors to celebrate Mt. Qomolangma ascent in Nepal
More than 500 conquerors of the world's highest peak Mount Qomolangma around the world will gather in Kathmandu on May 24 to celebrate the golden jubilee of the first ascent of the 8,848-meter summit.
The successful climbers will march a rally in Kathmandu to celebrate the 50th anniversary, Yagya Prasad Gautam, joint-secretary of the Nepali Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, told Nepalese newspaper The Himalayan Times, the newspaper reported on Wednesday.
As many as 290 Nepalese Qomolangma conquerors and 202 others from different countries have confirmed their participation in the event. Among them is Edmund Hillary of New Zealand, who firstly climbed the peak with Tenzing Norgay Sherpa of Nepal on May 29 in 1953, and Junko Tabei of Japan, the first woman climber to do so, Gautam said.
"The number may increase if more expedition teams conquer the mount before the festivities begin," he noted, adding that "two joint Indo-Nepali army expedition teams are heading towards the peak provided the weather is fair."
A total of 1,049 mountaineers from 63 countries and regions have scaled Mt. Qomolangma, while a total of 175 climbers have died during their attempts.
Nepal has eight of the 14 highest peaks in the world and has opened 33 new peaks which are under the management of the Nepal Mountaineering Association. Mountaineering is one of the most attractive items to tourists to the country.
(Xinhua News Agency May 22, 2003)