KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal’s mountaineering community celebrated the first conquest of Mount Everest 64 years ago on May 29, as well as this year’s climbing season, during which hundreds scaled the world’s highest peak.
Several mountaineers and others who have contributed to the climbing industry were honored during a ceremony in Kathmandu marking the first successful Everest climb by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay, in 1953.
Eight Nepali Sherpa guides who initially dug the route this year and fixed climbing ropes to the 8,850-meter summit were also honored for their work.
Soon after they opened the route on May 14, hundreds of climbers were able to reach the summit. Bad weather on the mountain had forced a delay in opening the route.
Japanese climber Ken Noguchi, who made financial contributions to Nepal’s mountaineering community after a 2015 earthquake, and Lakpa Sherpa, the female climber with the highest number of Everest summits, were also awarded.
Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said the ceremony also celebrated a successful spring climbing season.
The industry suffered back-to-back tragedies in 2014 and 2015, when deadly avalanches forced the mountain’s early closure. Last year was also considered successful with hundreds reaching the top, but five climbers died.
Six climbers died this season, and the bodies of all except for American doctor Roland Yearwood had been recovered by May 28.
Three Sherpa guides who attempted to retrieve Yearwood’s body said the location was too dangerous to reach, according to Murari Sharma of the Everest Parivar Expedition agency.
On May 28, rescuers brought down the bodies of an Indian climber who died this year and two Indians who died last year.