Hillary Step, vertical rock face located high on Mount Everest collapsed
New Delhi,May23: Mountaineers have confirmed that a famous nearly vertical rock face located high on Mount Everest has collapsed.
The development has potentially made the world’s highest peak more dangerous and time consuming to climbers.
However, it was confirmed by climbers including professional high-altitude expedition leader and six-time Everest summiteer Tim Mosedale that ‘the Hillary Step is no more’.
British mountaineer Tim Mosedale took to social media to confirm the news of the Step’s demise on a Facebook post after reaching the summit on May 16, dubbing the loss as “the end of an era”.
The near-vertical 12 metre rocky outcrop stood on the mountain’s southeast ridge, and was the last great challenge before the top.
“It is associated with the history of Everest, and it is a great shame a piece of mountaineering folklore has disappeared,” Mosedale said.
“It was reported last year, and indeed I climbed it last year, but we weren’t sure for certain that ‘The Step’ had gone because the area was blasted with snow,” he wrote on Facebook.
“This year, however, I can report that the chunk of rock named ‘The Hillary Step’ is definitely not there any more,” he added.
Mountaineers claim that the snow-covered slope will be much easier to climb than the notorious vertical rock-face, but loose rocks could also make it difficult and time consuming.
This could create a bottleneck that causes mountaineers to wait at the bottom for hours, leading to life-threatening situations for those already battling low oxygen and frostbite conditions at the top of the world.
The Hillary Step, which is approximately 8,790 metres (28,839 ft) above sea level, was named after Sir Edmund Hillary – the first to scale Mount Everest in 1953 along with Tenzing Norgay.