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Hong Kong youth

Mount Everest: first photos of Benjamin Chan, 19, youngest Hongkonger to reach summit

Images sent to mountaineer’s family soon after he returned safely to base camp

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 11:07am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 6:50pm

New pictures emerged on Thursday of the 19-year-old student who became the youngest Hongkonger to conquer the world’s highest peak.

The Post received a series of photos of Benjamin Chan Ka-hei, including one showing him proudly displaying a Hong Kong flag at the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) summit of Mount Everest.

Chan reached the summit on Monday, according to International Mountain Guides (IMG), the company that arranged his expedition.

Other images showed Chan and his teammates climbing near the summit and resting at the top. 

“I just received these photos from him,” Chan’s older brother, Daniel Chan Ka-chun, said. “He reached the base camp yesterday. I think he is still there.”

Benjamin Chan told the Post around midday on Thursday that he was still “stuck” at the base camp due to bad weather and was waiting for the weather to improve to fly out to Kathmandu.

Chan reached the top along with 22 other climbers. The group started its descent at 7.15am Nepal time on Monday. The teenager reached Everest Base Camp, located at about 5,400 metres, on Wednesday morning, according to IMG.

The young mountaineer sent a brief message to his father just before 11am local time, saying the group had arrived at the base camp and were waiting for a helicopter to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu.

The message read: “In base camp, summitted … all is well!”

Chan’s expedition to Everest is part of a more ambitious goal to become the youngest person in the world to climb the highest summits on all seven continents as well as reaching the North and South Poles, a feat known as the Explorers Grand Slam.

The Hongkonger, who is taking a gap year after graduating from King George V School, aimed to complete everything within the year.

Therecord is held by Marin Minamiya, who is from Japan but spent several school years in Hong Kong. She completed the feat last April at the age of 20. Minamiya scaled the Everest summit when she was 19.

The youngest person to scale Everest was 13-year-old Jordan Romero, from the United States, in 2010.

More than 8,000 people have reached the summit, but at least 280 climbers have died on the mountain’s treacherous passes over the decades, according to the Himalayan Database.

At least 18 people from Hong Kong have completed the feat, say experts in the industry. Five of them made the trek for the first time this year, said mountaineer John Tsang Chi-sing, who was leading two of the climbers.