Climber to clean Qomolangma

Updated: 2011-04-07 06:56

(China Daily)

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KATHMANDU, Nepal - A top Nepalese mountaineer who holds the record for the number of successful ascents of the world's highest peak left for another attempt on Wednesday on a mission to clean garbage from it.

Apa Sherpa, 51, who has climbed Qomolangma a record 20 times, is leading the expedition which aims to collect four tons of garbage under a "Cash for Trash" program funded by a private trekking company.

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A team of 58 people, including 23 foreigners, will take part, earning 100 rupees ($1.40) per kilogram of garbage brought to the base camp. Empty oxygen bottles, ropes and tents are the most frequently discarded items.

"If my ascent would promote the cause and help protect the mountain, I am always ready to climb," the man nicknamed "Super Sherpa" said before his flight to the region.

Apa, who completed his first ascent of Qomolangma in 1990, started his mountaineering career as a porter in his early teens.

He said the latest expedition would seek to set an example of how to climb in an eco-friendly manner.

"We will not use fossil fuel. We will cook using solar-enabled cookers and drink sterilized water instead of boiling it," he said.

Around 3,000 people have climbed the 8,848-meter peak since it was conquered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

Japanese climber Ken Noguchi will also take part in the cleaning mission. He hopes to bring down another ton of garbage, taking the total collection to five tons.

This climbing season, which runs from spring to the summer monsoon, will also see a diverse group of Nepalese civil servants scale the mountain in a bid to raise awareness about climate change.

Agence France-Presse


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