Four experienced Sherpa guides say they will attempt to climb to the top of Mount Everest in the span of less than a week during the brutal winter season to set a record on the world’s highest peak.
The team are flying on a helicopter to the Everest base camp on Monday and will begin the ascent on Tuesday.
Team leader Tashi Lakpa, 34, said he and his teammates plan to reach the 8,850m (29,035-foot) summit on Saturday, make a quick descent and return to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, on Sunday.
“The last teams that scaled the peak in winter did it in two months, but we are planning to do it in five days. We are attempting to set a new mountaineering record,” Lakpa said on Monday in Kathmandu.
The team members will be battling extreme cold, high winds and piled-up snow and ice as they try to become the first to reach the top of Everest in winter in 27 years.
Only a handful of climbers have reached the mountain’s peak during that season. The feat was first accomplished in 1980, and has not been done since 1993.
Everest is mainly scaled during the spring climbing season in April and May, when weather conditions are favourable.
There are already two foreign teams on the mountain this winter who have been battling rough weather for the past few months.
Team leader Lakpa said he and the others have been training on other mountains in preparation, acclimatising their bodies to the high altitude.
Between the four climbers, Lakpa has scaled Everest eight times, while the others have done it three times, twice and once.
Lakpa said it was also an attempt to bring glory to Nepalese climbers. Nepalese climbers and guides, who were once relegated to support staff, have recently been emerging out of the shadows of their Western peers, setting new mountaineering records.