Kathmandu, May 15 (IANS) A team of 14 rope-fixing climbers on Monday stood atop the world’s highest peak Mount Everest — Mt Qomolangma for the Tibetans — becoming the first team of 2017 to reach the summit from south face in Nepal.

Though other Sherpa climbers had already opened the route to the top of the Everest via China’s Tibet last week, expedition from Nepal side was delayed this spring season owing to bad weather, reports Xinhua news agency.

Qomolangma in the Tibetan means the Goddess Mother of Earth.

“A team of 14 rope-fixing climbers has reached the summit between 1:15 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. today,” Gyanendra Shrestha, a Tourism Ministry official, told Xinhua on Monday.

Last year, the rope fixing task was completed on May 11.

“The first two summiteers are Pema Chhiring and Pem Chhiri who stood atop at 1:15, “ Phurba Tenzing Sherpa, a record holder Everest climber told Xinhua from the base camp.

Fourteen high-altitude mountain guides were assigned for rope fixing from Camp II to top of the 8,848 meter peak under Expedition Operators Association of Nepal (EOAN).

Dambar Parajuli, President of EOAN, said on Monday, “As the route is open now, the rope-fixing Sherpa will return to base camp and escort their clients to the summit.”

The ascent of the 14 climbers has paved the way for all the commercial and independent summits of 2017.

According to Department of Tourism, 40 expedition teams comprising 373 climbers from various countries are readying to scale the world’s highest peak this spring season. May is regarded as the perfect window for the Everest expedition in terms of favourable weather between winter and monsoon.

Many have expressed fears of traffic jam in the Everest region this season due to high number of climbers and their mountain guides and helpers.

The Everest has not only been an identity of the Himalayan nation but also a major source of revenue collection. The Himalayan country that charges 11,000 US dollars per foreign climber earns millions of dollars annually.

This year, Mt Everest has already recorded two tragedies, including the deaths of famous Swiss climber Ueli Steck and the 86-year-old Nepali climber Min Bahadur Sherchan, who was in a bid to regain the title of oldest climber.

There were no expeditions in the spring of 2015 due to avalanches triggered by the devastating April 25 earthquake that killed 19 climbers, including high-altitude guides and helpers. The government had extended their permits for two years, which is ending this year.

There was no expedition in 2014 as well as 16 Sherpa guides were killed in an avalanche near the Everest Base Camp.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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