Spanish climber attempts Mt. Dhaulagiri again, seeking to summit 14 highest peaks

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KATHMANDU, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Forced to go home empty-handed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and bad weather in spring, 82-year-old Spanish mountaineer Carlos Soria is back in Nepal for Mt. Dhaulagiri in an effort to become the oldest person to climb the world's 14 highest peaks.

On Monday, the Spanish reached the base camp of Mt. Dhaulagiri, the world's seventh tallest peak at 8,167 meters, said Mingma Sherpa, chairperson of Seven Summit Treks which is organizing the climber's expedition.

"The expedition team is expected to reach the top of Mt. Dhaulagiri by October 10, provided the weather conditions remain friendly," Sherpa told Xinhua.

Soria has already scaled 12 of the 14 highest peaks, including Mt. Qomolangma, the world's tallest at 8,848.86 meters, and Mt. Dhaulagiri and Mt. Shishapangma, the world's 14th highest at 8,012 meters inside the Xizang Autonomous Region of China, are his last targets.

"Now, we can see and feel closer to Dhaulagiri... In the next few hours, we hope to get to our base field," the Spanish climber wrote on his Facebook page on Monday.

Soria will be aided by four Nepali Sherpa guides in his 12th attempt on Mt. Dhaulagiri, according to the Seven Summit Treks. "This shows his commitment to the cause," Chhang Dawa Sherpa, a climbing guide leading the expedition team, told Xinhua.

In May, the Spaniard backed down from his attempt on the peak due to bad weather and reported coronavirus infections among the mountaineering guides.

He started scaling mountains above 8,000 meters at the age of 55 and has conquered 11 since turning 60. He climbed Mt. Qomolangma at the age of 61, briefly becoming the oldest person to summit the world's tallest peak.

Even though time is running out for Soria because of his age, he appeared to be cool. "I am very happy with the life that I have lived," Soria told Xinhua in an interview in April.

The climber arrived in Nepal on Sept. 6 along with another Spanish mountaineer who shall also attempt Mt. Dhaulagiri, according to the climbing guide Sherpa.

As of Monday, a total of 227 climbers from 24 teams have received climbing permits to summit five Himalayan mountains inside Nepal, while 40 of them from four teams are aiming at Mt. Dhaulagiri, according to Nepal's Department of Tourism. Enditem

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