French-Nepali climbers claim discovery of safer approach to Everest peak

Kathmandu, December 3 (EFE).- A team of French and Nepali climbers said on Friday that they have discovered a new route to climb Mt Everest from the Nepali side, which could help climbers to avoid the treacherous Khumbu icefall.

“It’s a life-saving route,” Marc Batard, a French climber who led a seven-member exploration team, told EFE.

According to Batard, the new route begins just below the Everest base camp at a height of over 5,100 meters and passes through the ridge of Mt Nuptse before reaching Camp 1 (6,065 meters) above the Khumbu icefall.

It takes around seven hours to cover the vertical distance of around 1,000 meters.

“The new route will be tested in the upcoming spring climbing season, in March-May, to assess whether it is feasible for a commercial expedition,” Batard said, adding that their team had completed all of its observations and finished a trial.

The Khumbu Icefall stretches from 5,500-5,800 meters and lies just above the Everest base camp.

Pasang Nuru Sherpa, an experienced high-altitude guide and a member of the exploration team, told EFE that it was considered one of the most dangerous climbing spots in the world.

Climbers normally cross the the icefall late night or early morning between 3-5 am with the help of headlamps.

This is the time when the ice blocks and the hanging glaciers are most stable and avalanche risks are at their lowest, while during the day sunshine causes the glaciers to melt, increasing the risk of avalanches.

Sherpa said that even experienced climbers and guides took 4-5 hours to navigate the area.

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