Two dead as world’s ’safest’ peak turns dangerous

October 7th, 2008 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Oct 7 (IANS) Two mountaineers have died while more accidents have been reported from the Tibet-Nepal border as the world’s “safest” peak Mt Cho Oyu turned killer this autumn climbing season, with the diverted rush from Mt Everest.Mt Cho Oyu, the sixth highest peak in the world at 8,201 m and regarded as the safest among the 8,000 m plus Himalayan ranges, has claimed a Canadian and a Slovenian climber with more non-lethal accidents reported.

Guy Leveille, a 45-year-old forensics specialist for the Winnipeg Police Services, was attempting to summit Mt Cho Oyu with fellow Canadian Stu Remensnyder to raise money for a charitable organisation that funds Nepali orphans’ college education.

According to reports, while Remensnyder managed to reach the peak, Leveille was forced to return when only 60 m away and, while descending, was stuck at 7,500 m for a gruelling 40 hours.

With Nepal’s ministry of tourism and civil aviation closed for the long Dashain festival, it was not immediately clear when the accident occurred. According to other expeditioners, Leveille fell to his death on Oct 2 or 3.

In a separate accident last week, ace Slovenian alpinist climber Miha Valic, who till last year had held the record of climbing continuously for the longest number of days - 102 - was also killed on the Cho Oyu.

Heavy snowfall and slippery slopes turned the usually placid Cho Oyu into a dangerous arena last week with separate accidents reported Thursday and Friday.

At least two Chinese climbers were said to have been hurt in a fall; a third mountaineer collapsed and had to be resuscitated.

Though first summited in 1954, till now Cho Oyu had reported only 35 deaths in over five decades.

This autumn, however, with Mt Everest, the highest and most prestigious mountain in the world, becoming an even difficult climb due to the weather, a rush was reported for other peaks like Cho Oyu, Makalu (8,462 m) and Shisha Pangma (8,013 m).

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