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(English) Ladder on the Hillary Step! Will the idea ease overcrowding problem?

. Traffic chokes the Hillary Step on May 19, 2012. Photo credit to ngm.nationalgeographic.com
. Traffic chokes the Hillary Step on May 19, 2012. Photo credit to ngm.nationalgeographic.com

KATHMANDU, Nepal–Aiming to lessen over-crowding on the Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, Nepali climbing specialists said they will fix a ladder at the “Hillary Step”, a dangerous ‘death zone’ bottleneck near the summit.

Sixty years ago, as Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa moved towards the summit of the peak, they were stopped by a 40-foot wall of icy rock.

Applying the skills he had gained in native Alps, Hillary pushed down both his feet and hands and then raised Tenzing up on a tight rope, and together they climbed the final 300 feet to become the first humans to conquer Everest.

Nowadays, that 40-foot vertical wall is known for the “Hillary Step”. Scores of climbers make huge queue to attempt this wall while descending up or ascending down during peak climbing.

Dawa Steven Sherpa, a member of Expedition Organisers’ Association (EOA), told Reuters that ropes will be fixed also at obstacles like the Geneva Spur, Yellow Band and Balcony to lessen the congestion.

“We want to fix ropes as early as possible so it leaves many weather windows to get to the top without any climber being pressed to climb at the same time and create the traffic jam,” Reuters quoted Dawa as saying .

Thousands of climbers from the corner of the globe conquer the 8,848-metre peak yearly, but a 40-foot vertical wall of rock at about 8,790 metres has frequently causing hindrance to the mountaineers in their bids.

Aspirant mountaineers have been compelled to wait there for several hours, waiting their turn to atop up or descend down a single rope, displayed to risks of thin air in what is known as the ‘death zone’.

However the proposed idea of putting a permanent ladder on the Hillary Step has also sparked a protest stating that the idea was not good.

“Between 1987 and 2009, I went on 11 expeditions to Mount Everest, reaching the top seven times. I’ve climbed both up and down the Hillary Step six times”, A veteran American climber Ed Viesturs writes in nytimes.com adding that it won’t solve the real problem, which is congestion on the most famous route in mountaineering.

Ed who has climbed the 14 highest peaks in the world, without supplemental oxygen went on to say that a ladder isn’t the true response for the contestation. “Nor can the government of Nepal be expected to regulate how many climbers are on Everest, let alone how many go for the summit on a given day,” he argues further.

Likewise, Alan in his blog said the idea of fixing a ladder at Everest death zone was unclear leaving huge query that would ever be managed. “I do not support a ladder on the Hillary Step in any form. Climbing at the Hillary Step is fundamental and climbers should have this level of basic rock climbing skills before coming to Everest” he writes in alanarnette.com/blog.

Alan’s ideas’ are truth in some extent when he said “having the ladder would undermine the overall difficulty of Everest and encourage those who lack the fundamental skills to take the risk supported by greedy operators.”

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