Swiss woman close to reaching summit of Everest
Evelyne Binsack, a climber from the Bernese Oberland, is set to become the first Swiss woman to stand on the top of the world. Weather permitting, she should reach the summit of Mount Everest on Wednesday.
The climbing team are intending to exploit a "window" of good weather to make a final push for the peak. Binsack says this will be the "only chance" her team will have of reaching the 8,850-metre summit because weather conditions are expected to deteriorate at the end of the week.
Early May is the best time to tackle Everest, as the coming monsoon rains push the high-speed, hurricane-force jet stream winds northwards over Tibet. But the time available is short as the monsoon also brings snow to the Himalayas.
Binsack left her base camp on Sunday along with Swiss photographer, Robert Bösch, and the rest of her team. Four days of clear skies are needed to reach the top of what the Nepalese call the "goddess of the sky".
Sherpas have already prepared an advanced camp close to the summit, at an altitude of around 8,300 metres.
The climber's team has been preparing for the final push for over a month in Nepal. If Binsack is successful, it will be the first time she has conquered one of the world's 14 8,000-metre mountains.
However, the Swiss mountaineer, Erhard Lorétan, who has conquered all 14 such peaks, said that while Everest is the ultimate climbing challenge, it is not an exceptional feat. He told swissinfo that anyone in good physical health could scale the mountain provided the weather conditions were right.
The 34 year-old Binsack is best known to Swiss television viewers for her 1999 ascent of the Eiger's fearsome north face in the Bernese Oberland, which was carried live by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.
Three Swiss women attempted to reach the summit of Everest last year, but failed. The first woman to conquer Everest was the Japanese climber Junko Tabei in 1975.
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