Records tumble on Everest

It was a lucky season for most Sagarmatha expeditioners. By presstime Thursday, 161 climbers from 13 different teams had made it to the top of the world and one person even flew over the top in an ultralight.

Records tumbled: on 21 May, Pemba Dorje Sherpa made the fastest-ever ascent of Sagarmatha from Base Camp in eight hours and 10 minutes. During the Everestís Golden Jubilee last year, Pemba took 12 hours 45 minutes, a record that stood for only three days till Lakpa Gelu Sherpa reached the top in 10 hours and 56 minutes.

Appa Sherpa came out of retirement to break his own record by getting to the top for an astounding 14th time on 17 May. A day earlier, Nawang Sherpa became the first differently-abled Nepali (he has an artificial leg) to reach the top. Then Lakpa Sherpa became the first Nepali woman to climb Sagarmatha for the fourth time.

More than 1,300 people have climbed Sagarmatha since Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary got to the top 50 years ago. Nearly 200 have died on the slopes, most of them on their way down. As the official spring season comes to a close on 31 May, expeditions on other mountains are battling bad weather to reach the summit. There were 55 expeditions in the Nepal Himalaya this year.

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