Record-setting climbers of Mount Everest said they were too tired, after scaling the world’s highest peak to map out their future climbing plans.
Arthur Muir, 75, a retired lawyer from Chicago, became the oldest American to reach the 8,848.86-metre summit, on May 23.
Tsang Yin-Hung, 45, a former teacher from Hong Kong, became the fastest woman to scale the peak, breaking 26 hours. Usually climbers spend several days in different camps before reaching the peak.
China’s Zhang Hong, 46, became Asia’s first blind man, and the world’s third, to scale the peak from the Nepal side.
Mr Muir, who has three children and six grandchildren – a grandson was born while he was on Everest – said it was too early for him to decide his future plans after the Everest achievement.
“I have not decided yet,” he told reporters at the airport in Kathmandu after returning from the mountain.
Muir, who had abandoned an Everest attempt after breaking an ankle falling off a ladder in 2019, said he was exhausted when he finally reached the summit in bad weather.
“Frankly I was surprised when I actually got there, but I was too tired to stand up … in very windy and very cold weather,” said Mr Muir, who started climbing after retirement at 68 on mountains in South America and Alaska.
He said he was not scared despite reports of a COVID-19 outbreak at the base camp because he was vaccinated before reaching Nepal and had followed health protocols.
Mr Muir broke the record set by Bill Burke, who conquered the mountain at age 67 in 2009.
Tsang reached the summit in 25 hours and 50 minutes after setting off from the base camp, making two brief stops before reaching the peak. She smashed the record of 39 hours and 6 minutes set in 2017 by Nepali woman Phunjo Jhangmu Lama.
“I feel a kind of relief and am happy because I am not looking for breaking records,” she said. “I just want [to] challenge myself … so I feel relieved because I can prove my work to my friends and to my students.”
An outbreak of the coronavirus among climbers and their guides at the Everest base camp has forced at least three teams to cancel their expeditions.
But hundreds of others have pushed through attempting to scale the summit, at a time Nepal is in lockdown battling its worst surge in COVID-19.
Additional reporting: AAP