February 18, 2009 / 10:24 AM / 10 years ago

Nepali sherpa brothers eye Everest summit record

KATHMANDU (Reuters Life!) - Three Nepali sherpa brothers plan to spend 24 hours on the summit of Mount Everest in the summer and set a record of the longest stay at the highest point on earth, one of the climbers said on Wednesday.

Pemba Dorje Sherpa, 31, said he would be accompanied by two brothers - Nima Gyalzen Sherpa, 23, and Phurba Tenzing Sherpa, 20, - to the 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) Everest summit in May.

“We’ll spend full 24 hours in a tent to be pitched at the summit and establish a new record,” Pemba told Reuters.

“We’ll carry a gold color statue of Lord Buddha and pray for world peace at the summit during our stay,” he said.

In 2004, Pemba gained the record for the shortest time to scale the mountain — eight hours and 10 minutes.

Climbers normally take more than three days to cover the distance from base camp, at about 5,300 meters (17,380 feet), to the summit.

Most climbers to Mount Everest spend a few minutes at the summit taking pictures and quickly descend to lower camps to save the stock of bottled oxygen. Only a few have spent more than a couple of hours.

The current record for spending the longest time on top was established by another Nepali climber, Babu Chiri Sherpa, who in 1999 spent 20 hours at the top. Babu died two years later during another climb of the same mountain.

One Australian and a New Zealander spent 13 hours overnight in a hole dug in the snow 20 meters (65 feet) below the summit in May 1994 because one of them was too exhausted to descend.

About 3,000 people have scaled Mount Everest since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa completed the first successful ascent in May 1953.

Pemba said he would climb without bottled oxygen while the other two climbers will be on supplemental gas.

“It is difficult. But I think we’ll succeed.”

Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Sanjeev Miglani

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