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Friday, 17 May, 2002, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Record-breaking day on Mount Everest
Chris Bonington and Doug Scott on Everest expedition
Fifty-four people conquered the summit in a single day
A record number of climbers have reached the summit of Mount Everest in a single day.

A total of 54 people reached the peak on Thursday - the largest number ever to conquer the world's highest mountain in a single day.

This was only one of four records achieved during the day, according to Nepal's tourism ministry.

Among the climbers was 63-year-old Tame Watanabe, from Japan, who has become the oldest woman to climb the mountain.

Tashi Wangchuk Tenzing
Tashi Tenzing reached the summit for a second time
Americans Phil and Susan Ershler also made history by becoming the first couple to climb the highest peaks on each of the world's seven continents.

A Sherpa known only as Appa completed his twelfth Everest ascent, shattering his own record set last year.

Another member of the record-breaking party was Tashi Wangchuk Tenzing, the grandson of Sherpa Tenzing Norgay - who together with New Zealander Edmund Hillary became the first to reach the top of Everest.

Edmund Hillary's son Peter is also on the mountain.

He had planned to met Tashi Tenzing on the summit, but did not make it in time.

Anniversary celebrations

The 54 mountaineers, who come from a number of expeditions, were able to reach the summit via its south route after a week of bad weather cleared up.

Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary
The original conquerors: Norgay and Hillary
Most climbers had been boxed in either at base camp or higher level camps for days.

Tashi Tenzing and Peter Hillary's climb marks the beginning of celebrations for next year's 50th anniversary of the first conquest of Everest.

A total of 1,114 people have reached Everest's summit since it was conquered 50 years ago. But 180 climbers have died on its slopes.

See also:

28 Feb 00 | South Asia
Fears over surge in Everest attempts
05 Mar 02 | South Asia
Famous names take on Everest
25 Mar 02 | South Asia
Nepal wants children off Everest
16 Aug 98 | South Asia
Everest bottle ban
06 Jun 98 | S/W Asia
Mount Everest clean-up
10 May 99 | World
So you want to climb Everest...
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