Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 11:59 UK

Nepal Everest clean-up held up by strong winds

Extreme Everest Climber
The Extreme Everest team says the mountain has been polluted

An effort by 20 Nepalese Sherpas to clear rubbish and remove the bodies of climbers from the top of Mount Everest has been hampered by 100km/h winds.

The Sherpa-led Extreme Everest expedition is performing a "deep clean" of the world's highest mountain.

So far it has recovered several bodies, including that of a Russian climber, Sergei Duganov, which has now been helicoptered off the mountain.

The Sherpas hope to remove at least two tonnes of rubbish from Everest.

The clean-up team now aims to reach the summit on Saturday when the weather should have improved.

A spokesman for the expedition said that three bodies - two of which had not been identified - had been found on a lower part of the mountain known as the Khumbu icefall.

Mr Duganov's body was found on the Lhotse face of the mountain - along with the body of Swiss climber Gianni Goltz which was removed on Tuesday.

The BBC's Joanna Jolly in Kathmandu says that the expedition is controversial because many relatives of climbers who died on Everest want their bodies to remain there.

However, the Sherpas say the bodies are polluting the 8,850m-high (29,035ft) mountain and need to be removed.

In a separate development, the government has announced that foreign mountaineers who have climbed Mount Everest and another peak - Mount Dhaulagiri, the world's seventh highest at 8,167m (26,794ft) - will get free Nepalese visas for two years.

The scheme is designed to boost tourism in the Himalayan nation, a senior government official said.

More than 4,000 climbers have made it to the top of Everest since it was first climbed by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953.

Some 700 of these foreigners are said to be still alive.

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