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Sherpa blitzes to Everest top in 12 hours

Kathmandu, May 23 (Reuters): A Nepali sherpa set a record for the fastest ascent of Mount Everest today by reaching the top of the world’s highest mountain in 12 hours and 45 minutes, the tourism ministry said.

The record comes a week before the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay and was achieved on the same route they had pioneered.

Pemba Dorjie Sherpa, a 25-year-old guide, started from base camp at 5,350 metres at 1115 GMT yesterday and reached the summit this morning, the tourism ministry said in a statement.

Normally, climbers take about a week to get from base camp to the top of the 8,850 metre mountain.

The previous record was 16 hours and 56 minutes set three years ago by another sherpa, Babu Chiri. He died in 2001 on another climb of Everest.

“Pemba Dorjie Sherpa has been successful to set the world record of fastest climbing in 12 hours 45 minutes,” the ministry said.

Pemba, part of a Belgian expedition, followed the traditional South Col route that had been used by Hillary and Tenzing. Hours after Pemba’s record climb, a 36-year-old US climber with one arm scaled Mount Everest.

Gary Guller, a travel agency official from Austin, Texas, climbed with four sherpas and reached the top at 0630 GMT, the ministry said. Guller’s left arm was amputated in 1989 after a climbing accident in Mexico.

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