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‘Mountain has become too crowded’

Kathmandu, May 21 (AP): The first woman to set foot on the peak of Mount Everest said too many climbers are scaling the world’s highest mountain.

“Everest has become too crowded,” Junko Tabei said today in Kathmandu. “It needs a rest now.”

Tabei, who scaled the mountain in 1975, arrived in the Nepalese capital to take part in festivities to mark the 50th anniversary of the first conquest of Everest in May 29, 1953, by Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

“Only two or three teams should be allowed in a season to climb Everest,” Tabei said.

“The Nepalese government should cut down on the permits issued,” she said.

During the current March to May spring season, the Nepalese government has issued climbing permits to 22 expedition teams, each with about 12 members, plus sherpas who help carry gear up the icy slopes.

Over 1,200 climbers have reached the summit in the past 50 years, while nearly 200 have died on its slopes.

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