A Chinese woman and five Sherpa guides have scaled Mount Everest, becoming the first team to reach the peak from the Nepal side since a deadly avalanche last month sent climbers home, officials said Saturday.
Wang Zing, 40, and her Nepalese guides reached the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit on Friday, said Nepalese Tourism Ministry official Dipendra Paudel. They were all safe and returning to lower camps.
An avalanche on April 18 swept the route near the base camp, killing 16 Sherpa guides. After the disaster, the guides refused to continue for different reasons, including out of respect for their dead colleagues. Some said they were too shaken to go up the mountain, while others were angry at the government’s slow response to help families of the fallen Sherpas.
All the teams eventually decided to cancel their expeditions. The government then issued an incentive saying they could come back any time in the next five years without paying permit fees.
Wang and her team used helicopters to cross the dreaded Khumbu Icefall section between the base camp and Camp 1. The temporary path set over the crevasses by aluminum ladders and ropes was damaged in the avalanche, and a new one was never fixed because all the teams went home.
Wang, however, returned to the world’s highest mountain with her own guides.
Except for rescue flights, Nepal’s government generally does not allow helicopters to fly above the base camp for environmental reasons. But it has not said anything about Wang’s decision to use a helicopter.
Wang’s team is the only one to scale Everest from the popular southern route from Nepal this season, which ends next week.