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Last Updated: Monday, 26 May, 2003, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Everest climbers break more records
The record for the fastest ever ascent of Mount Everest has been broken for the second time in three days.

Sherpa Pemba Dorjie
Sherpa Pemba Dorjie: Record stood for three days
Lakba Gelu Sherpa made the ascent from Base Camp to the summit in just under 11 hours, shaving nearly two hours off the previous best time.

The latest record came on the same morning that a 32-year-old South African man became the first black climber to reach the top of the world's highest mountain.

Game warden Sibusiso Vilane reached the summit shortly after dawn.

He told the BBC by radio from the summit that he was crying tears of joy. He said he was feeling well and was very grateful to be there.

Record numbers of people have been attempting to climb the mountain on the golden anniversary of the first ever Everest ascent.

Hard climbing

A few hours before Mr Vilane reached the summit, Lakba Gelu Sherpa had arrived at the top of Everest in record time.

His 11 hours from Base Camp to the summit is a journey that takes the average climber a good four days of hard climbing.

Sibusiso Vilane
Sibusiso Vilane's ascent was delayed by bad weather

The previous fastest ascent record was set by a fellow Sherpa, Pemba Dorjie, who reached the top of the mountain in 12 hours and 45 minutes.

Mr Vilane's attempt at the summit came after spending weeks at Base Camp and up on the mountain acclimatising and waiting for a break in the weather.

He reached the top of the world after climbing through a clear and starlit night.

But the winds are now much stronger and he still has to get safely back down the mountain.

Correspondents say climbers regard the descent as at least as much of a challenge as reaching the summit itself.

Out of retirement

About 100 people have reached the peak in the last few days.

The Nepalese Tourism Ministry said on Monday that veteran mountaineer, Appa Sherpa, had scaled the 8850-metre peak for a record 13th time.

Appa Sherpa is 44 years old and came out of retirement to beat his own record.

The latest records are part of a series of achievement by climbers on the world's highest peak.

Last week, Japanese national Yuichiro Miura became the oldest climber to scale Everest at the age of 70.

Since the mountain was first conquered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, about 1,200 people have made it to the top.




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