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Familiar south side landmarks the Khumbu Icefall, the Western Cwm, the Lhotse Face, the South Col, the Hillary Step will be the scene of the action on the Alpine Ascents International South Col 2000 Expedition. Legendary mountaineer Vern Tejas will lead the Alpine Ascents expedition as it attempts to climb the mountain with a team that includes famed big-mountain guide Willi Prittie and Chicago climber Al Hanna. Hanna, at 69, has already climbed six of the Seven Summits, and has reached 28,000 feet on Everest. Hanna climbs because he loves to climb, but if he's successful this year he will become the oldest person to summit the mountain.
Running concurrently with the climbing action on the South Col Route, are two back-to-back treks to Everest Base Camp led by four-time Everest summitter and Alpine Ascents International Guide Wally Berg. Berg, who has journeyed through the Khumbu 16 times in the past 14 years, will guide MountainZone.com readers through the trek, one of the greatest adventures open to those of us who love mountains. Berg's live satellite phone dispatches and digital images will bring this astounding journey to life, not once, but twice.
MountainZone.com is also following one of the most ambitious efforts on Mount Everest this year: Italian climber Simone Moro will attempt to climb Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen, and then proceed to attempt the unclimbed Northeast Ridge of Lhotse. Moro, former climbing partner of famed Russian climber Anatoli Boukreev, will report live on this breathtaking attempt to climb two 8,000-meter peaks in successionincluding an all-new route on Lhotse.
Dispatches begin when climbers reach Kathmandu in late March. In the meantime, check out the extensive photo galleries, interactive maps and multimedia presentations.
Stay tuned as features are added weekly, including video interviews with the climbers, auctions of autographed climbing gear, and a marketplace full of Mount Everest-related products. Once again, the greatest adventure on earth can be lived on MountainZone.com
Peter Potterfield, MountainZone.com staff