Nepalese Sherpa guide scales Everest for a record 18th time

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Kathmandu, May 22 : A veteran Sherpa guide has scaled Mount Everest for a record 18th time.

Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said Appa reached the 29,035-foot summit along with several of his team members early Thursday.

As many as 59 climbers have scaled the world's highest peak in the last three days and many more are headed to the summit because of favourable weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Five members of the first inclusive Women Expedition have also scaled the summit.

A press release issued by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said Susmita Maskey, Maya Gurung, Nwang Phuti Sherpa, Pemba Diki Sherpa and Poojan Acharya were among the 10 members of the expedition to scale the world's tallest peak.

Five high altitude workers from the team - Pemba Dorje Sherpa, Kaji Sherpa, Phurba Tenzing Sherpa, Ang Gelu Sherpa and Karma Gyelije Sherpa - also climbed the peak today.

The First Inclusive Women Sagarmatha Expedition 2008 team was permitted to climb the Mt. Everest from the normal route for the period of 75 days from April 16, 2008 under the leadership of Susmita Maskey. The team had set out to the Everest Came camp on April 14.

The government had waived all royalties equivalent to 100,000 dollars to the team and also granted financial assistance of Rs. one million to this team.

This was the biggest all-Nepali women expedition to the Everest. The main objective of the expedition was to draw the world's attention to gender equality, women empowerment and the effects of climate change in the Himalayas.

Nepal had prohibited mountaineers climbing above base camp-II until May 10 to facilitate putting the Olympic flame atop Mt Everest. Last month, the government sent back an American national, William Brant, from Base camp for carrying a Free Tibet Banner.

A total of 32 expeditions were granted permission to take on the world's highest peak this spring season.

The spring season is considered best time for climbing before monsoon sets in the second week of June, making the route to Mt Everest almost impassable. Last year, 557 climbers, which include 254 from Nepal's side and 303 via Tibet reached the highest point on earth.

This year, the number will be lower as the Chinese government has banned expedition from the northern side to clear the way for the Olympic Torch.

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