Mt Everest to have easy ascent? Takers are divided though

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Kathmandu, May 30: Climbing Mount Everest has been made an easy job now. Sixty years after Sir Edmund Hillary and his mate Tenzing Norgay scaled the highest point on earth, a new plan has been mooted to install a ladder on the famous Hillary Step, the crucial pitch at nearly 29,000 feet has been known since it was first scaled, to ease congestion on the route. The ladder will make the final 40 feet of technical climbing up a near vertical rock much easier and make the summit more accessible.

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Sources in Expedition Operators Association in Nepal said discussion was underway to install a ladder although it is a controversial move. This year, 520 climbers scaled Mount Everest while 150 people climbed the last 3,000 feet of the peak from Camp IV within close gap. This caused delays as climbers lined up to descend or ascend the stiffer sections.

Officials who look after the preparation of the traditional route up the mountains said the congestion occurs at the Hillary Step because only one person can move, either up or down. They said more waiting would mean more exposure to risk and the ladder will ensure safety for the climbers.

The plan has received backing from various mountaineering authorities from across the globe. However, for many purist climbers, the new arrangement could mean a reduction in the challenge.

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