Staff members lay a flag of the Olympic
logo at the base camp of Mt. Qomolangma at the altitude of 5,200 meters in
southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region April 30, 2008. A team for
weather report, communicaitons, power supply, fire control and media is
working at the base to ensure the success of the Beijing Olympic torch
relay on Mt. Qomolangma. (Xinhua Photo)
By Sportswriter Wangjimin
QOMOLANGMA BASE CAMP, Tibet, April 30 (Xinhua) -- A
meteorological expert said here Wednesday that precise date for the ascent of
the Olympic flame to the Mt. Qomolangma is still up in the air as the weather
over the world's highest peak is unstable recently.
Yang Xingguo, who is in charge of the meteorological
forecast for the ascent of the Olympic flame, told Xinhua at the Qomolangma Base
Camp on Wednesday that a storm is forming in the Bangladesh Gulf south of the
Mt. Qomolangma and it heads north and will add more uncertainty to the weather
atop the peak.
"The weather around the Mt. Qomolangma is complicated
as it is located in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, dubbed the Third Pole in the
world. And around the Mt. Qomolangma, there are three more peaks with an
altitude of 8,000 meters, let alone those higher than 7,000 meters," Yang said.
"There are also distinctive diversity of weather mode
between the south and north slopes of the Mt. Qomolangma, so it is really hard
to predict precisely. I think at least it is impossible to scale the mount in
the next three days."
The torch relay, ahead of the Games to open in
Beijing on Aug. 8, will include a flame ascent to the Mt. Qomolangma on the
border of Nepal and China's Tibet. It is separate from the one on the global
run, which has reached Hong Kong, China.
The sacred flame is expected to be on the Mt.
Qomolangma in May,but the precise date will depend on the weather. May will be
the safest month for climbing the Mt. Qomolangma considering weather conditions.
"The gale is the most dangerous factor to
mountaineering," said Yang, who works for the Chinese Central Meteorological
Observatory. "And compared with last year, the winds are stronger this year, so
we will keep close watch upon the weather to ensure timely and accurate
The Chinese meteorological authorities have installed
state-of-the-art observatories on the Mt. Qomolangma early this year in order to
collect weather information before and during the Olympic flame ascent to the
summit, which stands 8,844.43 meters according to measurements made by
scientists in 2005.
The weather service system will collect weather data
through satellites as well as the six automatic meteorological stations that
have been in place since last May, which are located at six points between the
Base Camp at 5,200 meters to an elevation of 6,200 meters above sea level.
"We have to provide three days' forecast for
climbing, and based on these forecast, we will recommend the best time for the
Chinese mountaineers and will stay in close contact with them during the
expedition," Yang said.
Shao Shiwei, deputy director of the P.R. department
of the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG) on Wednesday
also confirmed that the precise date for the ascent was not fixed because of the
bad weather recently.
The Olympic flame was lighted in ancient Olympia,
Greece on March 24. After running through 19 countries on its international
tour, the torch has arrived in China's Hong Kong. The flame's tour in China
includes the Mt. Qomolangma in May and Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous
Region, in June.
The Olympic flame's first trip to the world's highest
peak will also be televised. A lantern carrying Olympic flame has already been
in the Base Camp.