A flood of US climbers is taking aim at Mount Everest this year as the 50th anniversary of the first US conquest of the famous peak nears, with one team set to try and replicate the historic ascent along a difficult and rarely used route.
Five US mountaineers climbed the 8,850 meter (29,035 feet) Everest, the world’s highest peak, in May 1963. Two went along the untested West Ridge route and three along the traditional South East Ridge route, also known as the South Col route. This year, two climbers in a nine-member team led by Corry Richards will climb the difficult West Ridge route, while the others will go along the Southeast Ridge route, pioneered by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Conrad Anker, 49, a member of the team and a two-time Everest climber, said that if weather and physical abilities allowed, both groups would try and meet at the summit. “That will be the plan,” Anker told Reuters before leaving for the mountain in March. Another American team consisting of four climbers led by James Ryrie Norton will also be on the West Ridge route, Nepal’s Tourism Ministry said.