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Asia, Nepal, Chinese Ascent of Mount Everest

Chinese Ascent of Mount Everest. This expedition was made up of numerous Chinese and Tibetans. They arrived at the Rongbuk Monastery on March 13 near which they established Base Camp. Yaks were used up to 18,000 feet. Camp I was at 18,000 feet, Camp II at 19,700 feet and Camp III at 21,325 feet, at the foot of the North Col. The climb to the top of the col at 23,000 feet had changed a great deal and become more difficult than in 1960. Camp IV was eventually placed on the col. Camp V was established at 25,000 feet on April 27 but storms prevented further advance. On May 4 and 5, seven women and 33 men reached 26,900 feet, where Camp VI was placed. Three women and 17 men went on to 28,225 feet, where Camp VII was established but again storms prevented any advance. They descended to Base Camp. After a favorable weather report, they returned, raising Camp VI 300 feet and Camp VII 200 feet. An assault team of three women and 15 men, led by Tibetan Sodnam Norbu and the Tibetan mother-of-three, 37-year-old deputy leader Phantog, moved up on May 25. Two women and seven men were exhausted and had to withdraw. Sodnam Norbu, Darphuntso, Kunga Pasang and Tsering Tobgyal, all Tibetans, were to try for the summit on May 26; Phantog, Lotse, Samdrub, Ngopo Khyen, Tibetans, and Hou Sheng-fu, Han Chinese, were to follow the next day, but stormy weather changed their plans. The first group prepared the route over the Second Step, while the second group moved up to join them at Camp VII. On the 27th they all moved upwards. They were at the top of the Second Step by 9:30. Above there it was hard but steady work until they were some 200 feet below the top; perpendicular ice forced them to a 100-foot detour. They then climbed a rock step and finally reached the summit at 2:30 P.M. Peking time (12:30 local time). There can be no doubt about this ascent of the Chinese. They mounted a 10-foot-high, red survey pole, which was found by Dougal Haston and Doug Scott four months later; it was more deeply banked by snow and the red paint had been etched away by the wind.