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Everest Swee no O2 for summit Monday
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May 12, 2004 14: 50 EST
Singaporean Khoo Swee, being one of the few climbers on Everest this season to go above 8,000m, is now ready to jump on this good weather. There is no doubt that Swee can make the summit (as he made it in 1998) but this time he is going without oxygen. His fear is to find a bottle neck up top (a bottle neck happens when climbers bunch up on the ropes because they go slower at high altitude, speed is key when climbing without O2 support). So his plan is to wait ‘till Monday for his summit bid. “Since everyone is looking at the same weather forecast, there is likely to be a crowd on the first attempt."

Swee may be climbing without oxygen, but he’s bringing some Sherpa insurance as a precaution; “I will have our youngest and strongest Sherpa, Dorje Lama, climbing with me on the summit day. He has been to the summit twice. Like all other Sherpas, he will be using oxygen. This is so that just in case I run into problems, he will be able to help me.”

This is what it all comes down to – the weather clearing up, teams acclimatized, ropes ready, and the summit waiting.

“Base Camp is now buzzing with preparations for the summit attempt. All the hard work of acclimatization and going up and down the high camps is building up to this climax.”

Everest summiter, Khoo Swee Chiow, known as ‘Swee’, is attempting to climb Everest from the South Side this spring without oxygen support. If he makes it, Swee will be the first Singaporean and Southeast Asian to summit without oxygen. The Malaysian born climber has ascended Cho Oyu in 1997, Everest in 1998, and Shisha Pangma Main in 2001.

This year won’t be the last of the Singaporeans on Everest either. Next spring Dr. Robert Goh will lead a team from Singapore on another oxygenless summit attempt.

As of 2002 only 88 people had summited Everest without the use of Oxygen support, eight died on their descent. The top of the world is near the bottom of the danger list; statistically Everest is the 10th most dangerous of the 14 8000ers - with or without O2.

Image of Swee courtesy of daretodream.com.
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