Everest clean-up team makes grisly discovery
Maltese climbers wait for weather window
A team of 20 Sherpas on a clean-up mission on Mount Everest has brought back the body of a Swiss climber who died on the mountain in 2008, the team coordinator said.
The Sherpas left for Mount Everest in late April to collect garbage left behind by climbers and retrieve bodies of victims of the mountain's "death zone" above 8,000 metres (26,000 feet), where oxygen levels are a third of those at sea level.
Coordinator Chakra Karki wrote on the Extreme Everest Expedition blog that the team had set up two camps at 6,065 metres and 6,500 metres and had begun collecting rubbish that will be brought down and put on display at base camp.
They have also achieved one of the their "primary goals" of locating the body of Swiss climber Gianni Goltz, who died attempting to climb the mountain without oxygen.
"Eight Sherpas have dug out the body from under the snow of Swiss climber Gianni Goltz and have brought his body down from the South Col to Camp 2," Karki wrote.
Other corpses on Everest include those of New Zealander Rob Hall and American Scott Fischer, who were guides on the mountain during the infamous 1996 disaster described in the best-selling book "Into Thin Air."
Since 1953, there have been 300 deaths on Everest, according to Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.
Many bodies have been brought down, but those above 8,000 metres have generally been left to the elements -- their bodies preserved by the freezing temperatures.
The priority of the sherpas had been the death zone above 8,000 metres but Karki said that large quanities of rubbish had already been collected around 6,000 metres.
There is no definitive figure on how much trash has been left on the mountain, but the debris of 50 years of climbing has given Everest the name of the world's highest dumpster.
As well as oxygen canisters, the detritus includes food containers, discarded tents, ropes and backpacks -- all of which will be put on display in an exhibition at Everest base camp.
"This real-time garbage exhibition will also force climbers to confront the ever-growing mound of leftovers," wrote Karki.
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MALTESE CLIMBERS WAIT FOR WEATHER WINDOW
Meanwhile, Maltese climbers Marco Cremona, Gregory Attard and Robert Gatt are waiting for a weather window to open, permitting them to attempt to become the first Maltese to reach the Everest summit.
Very high winds have been reported around the summit.
"It appears no summits attempts until May 11th when the winds could begin to ease but more likely it will be a few days later than that," the group said on its website.