May 21, 1997 in Idaho

Climbers Begin Mount Everest Trek

From Staff And Wire Reports

An American climbing team left its Mount Everest base camp before dawn Tuesday, starting a days-long drive toward the mountain’s 29,028-foot summit.

Five climbers and three Sherpas on the American Everest Expedition - including guide Todd Burleson of Woodville, Wash. - hoped to scale the tricky Khumbu Icefall and reach base Camp II Tuesday afternoon.

There are five base camps in all, and mountaineers climb from camp to camp to acclimatize to Everest’s increasing thin atmosphere. Camp II is at 21,000 feet.

In an Internet dispatch, Freddy Blume, a scientist on the expedition, said the climbers left about 5 a.m. after making rice offerings for a safe passage. He said the regions to the east were shrouded in fog Tuesday, but nearby peaks in the west glowed bright orange in the first rays of morning.

The climbers proceeded despite a cyclone that battered Bangladesh earlier this week and brought rain and high winds to some parts of the Himalayas.

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