Mt Everest claims year's first victim
Apr 27, 2007 - 12:31:41 PM

Kathmandu, April 27 - Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, has claimed its first victim this year, taking the toll to over 200.

The world's highest peak at 8,848 m claimed its 203rd victim and the first of this climbing season when a high-altitude porter fell to his death Thursday.

Dawa Sherpa, a 40-year-old from Solukhumbu district in mountainous northern Nepal, slipped while climbing from Camp 2 to Camp 3, Nepal's state media said Friday.

He was part of the 10-member International Everest Expedition, a commercial expedition led by Austrian climber Herbert Wolf who has summited Mt Everest twice earlier.

The first death this season came well before the first summiting, which is expected in May.

Last year was one of the deadliest for Everest expeditions, with 12 people dying and some of the deaths triggering sharp controversies.

The death of solitary British climber David Sharp, who did not receive any help from a series of expeditions that passed him by, revived Everest legends' lament that the peak had become a kind of trophy to be acquired at any cost, with little fellow feeling.

Sherpas, a mountain people of Tibetan origin, remain the unsung victims of Mt Everest and other high peaks.

There have been reports of Sherpas risking their lives climbing mountains without the necessary gear, including sufficient warm clothing and shoes.

While it is mandatory for all climbers to have life insurance, Sherpa lives are insured for much lower sums than Western climbers.

One of the most famous Sherpas in the world, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, who along with Sir Edmund Hillary were the first men to conquer Mt Everest, did not want his children to follow in his footsteps.

'My father risked his own life to provide education for us, his children,' his son Jamling, also an Everest hero, told IANS four years ago, when he was in Kathmandu to celebrate the golden jubilee of the first ascent.

'He wanted us to have the opportunities he didn't have so that we wouldn't have to risk our lives, like he did.'

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