Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Emotional Reunion Between 2 Everest Climbers and 1st Philippine Everest Team

Namche Bazaar, Solo Khumbu - It was an emotional reunion between Everest climbers Leo Oracion and Pastour Emata and the rest of the 1st Philippine Mt. Everest Expediton. Leo and Pastour met the 14-man team at Lukla airfield, where the trek to Everest Base Camp begins. This is the first time in two months the team has seen Leo and Pastour, who have been training in the Everest area since February.

The whole team is now in Namche Bazaar, the center of trade in the Solo Khumbu or Everest region. They are doing last-minute shopping for equipment and goods they will need for the climb to Everest in May. From here, the team will trek to Everest Base Camp where they expect to arrive on April 18.

The climbing season on Everest has been delayed due to a longer than usual winter. Even now, when its supposed to be spring, there are still reports of snowfall in the higher villages and at Everest Base Camp. Because of this, the route through the Khumbu Icefall, the first stage in climbing Everest, is expected to be opened at the end of the second week of April.

Expedition Leader Art Valdez has talked to the two Filipino Everest climbers and reiterated that their primary goal is to keep safe on the mountain. He said that if the weather does not cooperate, the two should not continue with the climb. When told about media reports that the Everest climb is turning into a race for the 1st Filipino to reach the top, Emata dismissed this. "Everest should be approached with respect. On Sagarmatha (Nepalese name for Everest), you do not race against anyone. It is between you and the mountain. If she allows you to summit, you are lucky. You should never say you will conquer her, because in the end she will always win."

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