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Climber to take climate message to Everest

April 4, 2009

From Reuters

A Nepali high altitude guide will try to climb Mount Everest for a record 19th time this summer to highlight the consequences of climate change in the Himalayas, including the world’s tallest peak.

Apa Sherpa, 49, will carry a special metal vase containing 400 sacred Buddhist offerings and place it on the summit hoping the move will restore the sanctity of the Himalayas and raise awareness about climate change.

“It is not easy but I hope I will succeed,” Sherpa, who is leading mountaineers of the Eco Everest Expedition to pick up the old trash left by climbers, said late on Friday.

“If I can reach the vase to the top I will be happy because it is for peace and climate change.”

Environmental activists say the Himalayan glaciers from where several Asian rivers originate are rapidly shrinking due to climate change threatening the lives of millions of people who depend on them for water.

Sherpa will also carry a banner reading “Stop Climate Change; Let the Himalayas Live!.”

Sherpa first climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035 feet) mountain in 1990 as a high altitude guide. He scaled the summit for a record 18th time last year.

More than 3,000 people have climbed Mount Everest, considered holy by the sherpa community living in the Solukhumbhu region where the mountain is located, since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa first scaled it in 1953.

Environmental activists say Mount Everest is littered with the trash left behind by climbers in the past. Environmental group WWF says climate change was happening faster in the Himalayas.

“The installation of these sacred vases … is intended to restore the sanctity of the Himalayan beyul (sacred valleys) and spiritually empower the people to cope with negative impacts of rapid environmental and social changes,” WWF, which is backing the climb, said in a statement.

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