Wealthier seek epiphany from holy mountain
Updated: 2013-05-30 04:13
Mountaineers climb towards the pinnacle helping the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping retake the height of Qomolangma in May 2005. The Tibetan mountain climbing expedition members climbed the 14 highest mountains, more than 8,000 meters high in 14 years. [Photo/Xinhua]
BEIJING - Six decades after humans first conquered Mount Qomolangma, a pioneering Tibetan mountaineer has told how he is helping booming numbers of China's nouveau rich to scale earth's highest mountain.
Having personally stood at the top of the world in 2003 and 2008, 45-year-old Nyima Tsering now runs a training camp that aims to help non-professional Chinese climbers reach the 8,844-meter-high peak of the mountain otherwise known as Everest.
"In the past, Mt Qomolangma could only be reached by professional teams, but now more and more ordinary Chinese wish to join us," says Nyima Tsering during an interview with Xinhua.
Wednesday marked the 60th anniversary of human beings' first successful expedition to Mt Qomolangma, with New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay from Nepal reaching the summit on May 29, 1953.
For much of the past six decades, scaling the snow-capped mountain on the Sino-Nepalese border has been an athletic feat and a demonstration of national strength due to the great difficulties and dangers it involved.
But for Nyima Tsering and others in the new generation of Chinese summiteers, the mountain is also becoming a longed-for destination and a source of enlightenment for ordinary people.
"The older Chinese mountaineers challenged the peak with a strong sense of a mission to glorify the nation, but to me, climbing the mountain is just part of my life," says Nyima Tsering, who is also head of the Tibetan Mountaineering Team.
Since establishing the camp in 1999, he has trained 40 local farmers into professional guides, who have led more than 200 expeditions to the summit.
Unlike others who regarded the ascendance to the summit as a victory of the human spirit over nature, Nyima Tsering says he always holds Mt Qomolangma in awe and veneration, and the feeling has not changed despite advances in equipment that have made the climb easier.
"We've prepared electric drills for digging footholds in our latest attempt to reach the peak this year, but I could not convince myself to use them -- Mt Qomolangma never speaks, but we know it has feelings," he says.