Sherpa Sets Everest Record
Kagzi Sherpa Climbs in 20 Hours, 24 minutes
Monday, October 19, 1998

The Western Cwm
photo: Eric Simonson
Sources in Kathmandu have confirmed that Nepali Kagzi Sherpa was successful in his attempt to break the speed record climbing from Everest base camp to the summit via the South Col Route on October 17, although he took a few hours longer than his hoped for 18-hour ascent.

From Jiban Ghimire in Kathmandu:
Kagzi Sherpa today climbed the world's highest mountain in 20 hours 24 minutes to break Frenchman Mark Batard's longstanding mountaineering record.

In October 1990, Batard climbed the 8848 meter (29,028 foot) peak in 22 hours 29 minutes.

With today's success, Sherpas from the region of Solukhumbu now hold all three Everest records: the first person to reach the summit (Tenzing Norgay Sherpa); most Everest climbs (Ang Rita Sherpa); and now, the fastest climb of the peak ever.

Kagzi, 33, had his eyes set on Batard's world record for a long time. His early attempt, however, was thwarted by bad weather.

Kagzi started out from the base camp at 4pm Friday and arrived at the summit at 12:40 am today. At 6am he had already reached 8700m (just 148m below the summit), but he lost three hours at that altitude while battling stormy conditions.

"He resumed his climbing after the weather got better and reached the summit at 12:24 am," it was reported today in a press release by Tuborg Speed Everest Expedition (TSE) 1998.

Earlier, Kagzi vowed to climb Everest in an unprecedented 18 hours as the leader of the five member TSE '98.

Before achieving today's record, Kagzi had scaled Mt. Everest four times. But it was his burning desire to break Batard's record, and secure his place in mountaineering history, that motivated him.

Kagzi always wanted to do something special, much like his more illustrious fellow Sherpas. "The late Tenzing Sherpa and Ang Rita Sherpa are my inspiration," Kagzi said earlier. "I want to set a new world record just like them."

In 1953, Tenzing, along with Edmund Hillary, became the first human to scale Everest while Ang Rita Sherpa has scaled the mighty mountain a record 10 times.

It could have come earlier for Kagzi though. In 1994, he abandonded his bid due to bad weather conditions after reaching 8400m in 12 hours."

Jiban Ghimire, Mountain Zone correspondent

Bad Weather Delays Speed Attempt
Gyalzen Sherpa reports from Kathmandu
Thursday, October 8, 1998

Kagzi Sherpa's attempt to climb Everest from base camp to summit has been further delayed by bad weather.

"Kagzi and his team are stranded at the base camp till 8th October 98. As per the latest report, Kagzi will now attempt along with his team within a time frame of 4-5 days from today for the summit as the weather is getting better thereafter."

Gyalzen Sherpa reports that Kagzi and his team's expectations of reaching the summit on the greatest day of the Hindu Festival i.e. MAHA DASAMI was frustrated by the bad weather.

Good day and best regards. Will keep informing you.

Gyalzen Sherpa, Mountain Zone correspondent
Editor's Note: Kagzi's attempt this year is sponsored by Tuborg beer, not by San Miguel, a detail of great meaning for beer-guzzling climbers and other veteran Kathmandu travelers who must choose between these two brands while in Nepal.

Bad Weather Delays Speed Attempt
Kagzi Sherpa was to start Oct. 5
Tuesday, October 6, 1998

Kagzi Sherpa was supposed to attempt the speed record climb of the South Col route on Mount Everest on October 1. Gyalzen Sherpa reports from Kathmandu that "one week of bad weather in the Khumbu disallowed him from this. Resultantly, his next attempt will be October 5.

The Mountain Zone will publish more information as it becomes available.

Kagzi Sherpa Trying to Climb Everest in 18 Hours
Second Attempt at Record Underway
Monday, September 28, 1998

Wally Berg, currently in Kathmandu prior to leaving on a trek to the fabled Mustang area, reports that the biggest news from the climbing world in Nepal is that Kagzi Sherpa's second attempt to climb the South Col route from Base Camp to the summit in 18 hours is currently underway.

"Some might remember," said Berg, "that Kagzi and I climbed Everest together in 1992. And from that time Kagzi has dreamed of breaking the record, set by Marc Bartard in 1988 when he climbed the South Col route in 22½ hours. Kagzi wants to do it in 18 hours."

Kagzi Sherpa raised the funds for his attempt himself, primarily within Nepal, to stage an attempt to do this in 1994. He failed at that time due to a logistical snafu — a down suit, which was to have been carried to the South Col for him to change into, did not arrive. He was standing at the South Col, exhausted and shivering, in a cotton shirt, knowing his chances were finished without this necessary gear. This year, however, Kagzi is better prepared: he has a five person Nepalese team assembled to support his efforts.

"It's a huge challenge," said Berg, "but I am confident that he can succeed."

The Mountain Zone will report on Kagzi Sherpa's attempt.

Peter Potterfield, Mountain Zone Staff

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