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Asia, Nepal, Everest Climbed by Nepalese

Everest Climbed by Nepalese. A 24-man expedition of the Royal Nepalese Army was led by Lieutenant Colonel Chetra Bahadur Gurung. This was the first all-Nepalese expedition to succeed on Everest, making the 100th ascent of the mountain. Among the summiters was Ang Rita Sherpa, aged 41, making his sixth trip to the top of the world, the first person to do so. He has a most remarkable record, having also climbed Dhaulagiri four times, Cho Oyu twice and Kangchenjunga once. All of these climbs were done without supplementary oxygen. He and his three summit companions, plus four others who climbed with them on part of their summit day, set out from the South Col at two A.M. on April 23. They encountered deep snow and strong winds, and although all except Ang Rita were using bottled oxygen, they spent a total of 15 hours and 15 minutes to reach the summit. By the time they got there at 5:15 P.M., Ang Rita, Top Bahadur Khatri, Ang Kami Sherpa (on his second Everest ascent) and Pasang Norbu Sherpa had all been climbing for 45 minutes without any bottled oxygen, for their supplies had been used up. Now came the problem of the descent. Several were exhausted, they had no more artifical oxygen and night was falling. They had to bivouac just below the Hillary Step. As they waited out the night, two became seriously frostbitten. They survived and managed to continue a safe descent the next day, the two frostbitten men helped by teammates. These two were later sent to England for medical care. Climbers from other expeditions who were on Everest at the time consider them lucky to have come back at all. “That summit team should have perished,” one of these other climbers said later. “If Ang Rita hadn’t been one of them, they probably would have. That man is superhuman.”

Elizabeth Hawley