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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 September, 2004, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
New Everest record is confirmed
Sherpa Pemba Dorje
Pemba Dorje supplied evidence of his Everest ascent to an enquiry
The authorities in Nepal have upheld the record of Pemba Dorje Sherpa as the fastest Mount Everest climber.

The announcement follows an enquiry into his ascent of the world's tallest mountain earlier this year.

Twelve Everest summiteers questioned Pemba's record last June, arguing that he had not even reached the summit.

All of the complainants were Everest summiteers, including Lakpa Gelu Sherpa whose speed record Pemba broke in eight hours and 10 minutes.

Evidence checked

Upholding Pemba's claim, the tourism ministry said that his team had proof that the Everest summit was reached on 20 May.

It said the evidence cross-checked by the team included flags, photographs and a written document which he had seen or collected on his ascent of the 8,850 m peak.

Mount Everest
There has been bitter disagreement over who holds the Everest record

The ministry said that Pemba had contacted a government official at Everest's base camp to inform them regularly of his progress, and had given a detailed description of items left at the mountain by a climber who reached it a day before him.

The investigators also said that they had seen photographs taken by other mountaineers that showed Pemba going up Mount Everest.

The complainants had argued that no one had seen him going up or coming down.

The BBC's Navin Khadka in Kathmandu says that the enquiry's conclusions mean that Pemba is now officially confirmed as having beaten Lakpa's record of 10 hours and 56 minutes last year.

Claim and counter-claim

Our Correspondent says that the two men are bitter rivals, constantly challenging each other over claims as to how fast they have climbed Everest

The bickering began last year, when Lakpa Gelu Sherpa climbed the world's tallest peak in a record-breaking 10 hours and 56 minutes.

Pemba Dorje Sherpa did indeed scale the peak in eight hours and 10 minutes on May 21
Nepalese tourism ministry statement

Three days earlier, Pemba Dorje Sherpa made it to the top in 12 hours and 45 minutes. He then filed a complaint at the tourism ministry claiming that Lakpa's feat was not proven.

The government launched an investigation which finally upheld Lakpa's record.

When Pemba made it to the top in a new time of eight hours and 10 minutes, he in turn was questioned along similar lines by Lakpa and the other Everest summiteers.

They argued that the weather was so bad on the day Pemba claimed to have reached the peak that no expedition group on Everest could continue their climbs.

They also said that the evidence Pemba submitted at the tourism ministry does not justify his claim that he reached the summit.


SEE ALSO:
Tall stories claim over Everest
01 Jun 04  |  South Asia
Sherpa breaks own Everest record
17 May 04  |  South Asia
Everest speed record ruling
31 Jul 03  |  South Asia
Everest speed record row
16 Jun 03  |  South Asia
Everest draws record climber back
23 Jan 03  |  South Asia
Everest record holder retires
22 May 02  |  South Asia


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