First climbers of 2018 reach Everest summit

Aussie climber holds fastest seven summit record; Everest route opens from Tibet side

Bad luck plagued the trip. The 2016 attempt brought him close to the summit before a blizzard set in. During the descent, a teammate lost his sleeping bag and Xia offered his up.

The achievement is incredibly impressive considering Xia's initial attempt - 43 years ago - resulted in severe frost bite which required the amputation of both of his feet. He first tried in 1975 but lost both of his legs during the climb due to frostbite. Yesterday saw the first successful summits of the year on the world's highest mountain, and among them was a global first. But the 2014 season was cut short when a pillar of ice in the Khumbu Icefall collapsed, killing 16 Sherpas.

During his previous attempts in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Xia's unsuccessful tries to beat Everest were scuttled by a series of natural disasters, including an avalanche, a 7.8-magnitude quake and a blizzard that forced him to turn back just 300 feet from the summit, according to Time. In December 2017, Nepal announced a slate of new rules for Everest, among them a ban on double-amputee climbers. In response, the Supreme Court put the ban under temporary review, creating a window for Xia to make his attempt.

Several climbers were also heading to the summit on Monday, according to government official Gyanendra Shrestha. He stood atop the summit at 8.40 a.m. (10.55 p.m. EDT). The wind was calm for most of the ascent and temperatures hovered near minus 10 Fahrenheit.

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The summit report was also confirmed by Mingma Sherpa from Seven Summit Treks. His dream was almost shattered when Nepal government banned double amputee and blind climbers from summiting its mountains.

According to Iswari Paudel, Managing Director at Himalayan Guides Nepal (HGN) Pvt Ltd, climbing Sherpas include Pasang Tenjing Sherpa, Pasdawa Sherpa, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, Jen Jen Lama, Siddi Bahadur Tamang, Pemba Chhiri Sherpa, Tenzing Gyaljen Sherpa and Datuk Bhote scaled the mountain by opening a route to the summit point at around 3:30 pm on Sunday.

For this season, China has allowed 118 foreign climbers from the Tibetan side of the mountain.

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