KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nine Nepalese guides reached the top of Mount Everest on Wednesday, becoming the first climbers in two years to conquer the world's highest mountain after two successive natural disasters.
Nepal Mountaineering Department official Gyanendra Shrestha, who is at the base camp, said the group reached the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit on Wednesday.
The Nepalese Sherpa guides are hired by expeditions to carry equipment and fix ropes on the icy and rocky slopes for the use of the foreign climbers.
Nearly 300 foreign climbers and their guides are attempting to reach the summit from Nepal this year. Many are expected to succeed as favorable weather is forecast this month. May is the most popular month to climb, coming between the harsh winter and dangerous monsoon season.
Nepal is hoping for a safe 2016 season on Everest, after an avalanche triggered by a powerful earthquake killed 19 climbers and injured 61 others at base camp last year. In 2014, 16 Sherpa guides were killed by an avalanche above the base camp.
The two disasters largely emptied the peak. Last year's climbing season was scrubbed, and nearly all of the climbers in 2014 abandoned their attempts after the avalanche. The only team who reached the summit that year from the Nepal side was a Chinese woman and her five Sherpa guides.