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Feature: Setting new Everest record to support anti-human trafficking campaign

English.news.cn   2014-03-31 16:56:17

by Bibbi Abruzzini

KATHMANDU, March 31 (Xinhua) -- With the spring climbing season just around the corner, Lila Bahadur Basnet, a 30-year-old Nepali climber, is about to set a new world record by reaching the summit of Mount Everest (Qomolangma) and making it back to Kathmandu within 10 days.

In an interview with Xinhua, Basnet said that in 2009, it took him just eight days to climb and descend but it was because he had to rush back after he got a call that his two-year-old son was admitted to the hospital.

"Now, I am confident that I will set a new world record under normal circumstances," Basnet said.

Besides setting a new world record, Basnet wishes to drum up support for the campaign against human trafficking in South Asia.

With the slogan 'Humans not for sale,' Basnet will raise awareness on issues related to human trafficking right from the rooftop of the world.

His wish is to hand over a jacket with more than 200 flags from different countries sewed on it to Ban Ki-moon, United Nations secretary general, if he will be given the chance to visit the UN headquarters in New York.

Having a total of nine years of mountaineering, Basnet has successfully ascended the 8,848 meter mountain four times already. The first time he reached Mount Everest summit was eight years ago and it coincided with the birth of his son.

This spring climbing season, he wants to make it back to Nepal' s capital city to commemorate Tenzing and Hillary's first ascent to Mount Everest which is observed every May 29. The first ascent to Mount Everest was on May 29, l953.

"Climbing to the world's highest peak from Kathmandu usually takes weeks allowing for proper altitude acclimatization," Temba Tsheri Sherpa, the youngest Everest summitter as per the world Guinness Record Book, told Xinhua.

Expeditions from the south side of Everest in Nepal fly into Lukla from Kathmandu and pass through Namche Bazaar, popularly known as the "gateway to Everest." Climbers then hike to Base Camp at 5,380 meters, which usually takes six to eight days to prevent altitude sickness.

From there, it will take weeks before one can reach the summit passing through four intermediate camps.

Basnet's record-breaking climb will be followed step by step by a professional film crew. A documentary, entitled "Everest: Beyond the Record," by Film Himalaya, will be released next year.

Basnet confided that his life has been an uphill battle, metaphorically like climbing a steep mountain. When he was just 12, both his parents died forcing him to start working at a very young age.

"My mother died of cancer. I never completed my studies and I started working in the field when I was only eight years old," Basnet said.

He grew up in Dholka, a hilly region located in the mid-western region of the Himalayan nation. His caste is not usually associated with mountaineering.

Basnet said that he got his first job as a guide through his wife who belongs to the Sherpa people, renowned in the international climbing community for their experience at very high altitude making them expert guides and porters for foreign mountaineers.

"I prefer working as a climber as you are master of your own destiny whereas businesses are constantly influenced by external factors," he said.

Basnet started working as a cook for high-mountain expeditions before becoming a trekking porter and then a so-called "climbing Sherpa. "When asked what scares him the most, he said the Khumbu icefall, regarded by many as Mount Everest's "death trap."

"I do not want my son to grow up without a father like me but we never know what would happen in the mountain," Basnet said philosophically.

Around 3,500 people have reached the top of Mount Everest since the first conquest in 1953. The summit climbing season usually starts in late April every year.

Editor: Shen Qing
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