Conquering fears for a second time on Everest

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 June, 2013, 3:47am

Despite seeing friends lose their lives to the mountains, one Hongkonger is facing his fears - and has just conquered Mount Everest for a second time.

John Tsang Chi-sing has been climbing mountains for 22 years.

In 2009, he was the third person from Hong Kong to scale the 8,848 metres to the summit of Mount Everest.

This year, the 60th anniversary of man's first ascent of the mountain, he has done it again.

"The death rate [of people trying to conquer Everest] is about 8 per cent … but there was a sense of spiritual satisfaction when I reached the top," he said.

Tsang set off from Tibet on April 7, reaching the top of the mountain 49 days later.

It was as challenging as the first time. He said he had to carry about 10kg of equipment, including oxygen tanks.

When he hit 6,000 metres, he began to feel drained. He barely had the energy to move because he was so affected by the altitude, he recalled.

"I rested for a few days in the tent but I still couldn't move," Tsang said. "Then I descended back to base camp and rested. I got my energy back and decided to continue with my journey."

Near the top of the mountain, the dangers became more apparent as he passed the bodies of several mountaineers whose expeditions had been cut short.

But he knew he must press on, as he was so high up that no rescue helicopters would be able to reach him there. He persevered, reaching the summit on May 19.

Tsang said he was well aware of the risks of his expeditions, recalling how several of his friends had lost their lives while trying to conquer mountains.

In fact, just a day after he reached the summit of Everest, Tsang met a Japanese mountaineer who was on his way to the top. It was to be his last climb because he was 57.

"I received his call for help because he had been in an accident and couldn't move," Tsang said. "The other climbers managed to give him an oxygen tank but he died 10 hours later."

Tsang admitted that he feared death more now, after seeing so many expeditions end in tragedy.

"To be honest, I don't know where I get my motivation. It's like I've started this sport and I just have to continue it," he said.