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12:35 PM EDT May 30

B.C. man among dozens who scaled Everest in climbing season's first weekend
12:35 PM EDT May 30

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - More than two dozen climbers and their Nepalese Sherpa guides scaled Mount Everest over the weekend, becoming the first to reach the summit of the world's highest peak in 2004, Nepalese tourism officials said.

Mountaineers from Canada, the United States, Malaysia and Greece were taking advantage of the first break in the weather on the mountain this year. Earlier would-be climbers faced brutal weather. Hurricane-strength winds were reported over the mountain last week, damaging tents and blowing away supplies and equipment.

Four U.S. climbers, a Canadian and two Sherpa guides scaled the 8,850-metre summit on Saturday afternoon, the Nepalese Tourism Ministry said.

The foreign climbers in that group were Rauno Hoglin, a 46-year-old truck driver from Delta, B.C.; Daniel Barter, 49, of Hookett, Wash.; Brian Sheddy, 34, of Walla Walla, Wash.; Jason Tanguay, 27, of Tacoma, Wash.; and Kevin Flynn, 46, of Macedon, N.Y.

Reports from the mountain also said a Chilean team had scaled the peak on Saturday, but Nepalese officials said they hadn't received any information about them.

On Sunday, the peak was scaled by 48-year-old U.S. climber Thomas Ian McMillan from San Rafael, Calif., helped by four Sherpa guides.

They were followed by Malaysians Muhammad Mokhtarrudin and Ahmed Reduan Rozali, both 22-year-old students from Kuala Lumpur, and their two Sherpa guides.

Not far behind were several Greek climbers and Sherpas who made the climb to celebrate the Summer Olympics, scheduled to be held in Athens this August.

Nearly 100 climbers and their Sherpa guides are on the mountain to try their luck as this year's spring climbing season begins.

Since the peak was first scaled by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, at least 1,300 people are believed to have made it to the summit. Nearly 200 people have died in the attempt.

© The Canadian Press, 2004