Everest claims first victim of the season

May 23rd, 2008 - 1:34 pm ICT by admin  

Kathmandu, May 23 (IANS) A 44-year-old Swiss climber died of exhaustion after climbing the highest peak in the world, the first victim of Mt Everest this year. Gianni Goltz, who had attempted to climb the 8,848 m peak as part of a Swiss-German expedition, died Wednesday after scaling the mountain without using bottled oxygen.

It was the first day this season that the peak was scaled, with 27 climbers reaching the top.

Though Goltz’s team members tried to resuscitate him, their efforts proved futile.

The area above 8,000 m is known as the “death zone” because of the freezing temperature and thin air, which makes breathing difficult due to lack of oxygen.

Over 3,000 people have climbed Mt Everest since 1953, when the first ascent was made by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. It is estimated that over 200 people have perished in the attempt.

Hillary was a stern critic of bravado on the mountains. During the celebration of the golden jubilee of the first ascent in 2003, he had said that it was as important to descend safely as to ascend a summit.

This season, Everest expeditions began late as Nepal had imposed a ban till early May to ensure that there were no anti-China demonstrations to mar the march of the Olympic torch to the peak.

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