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  The knife ridge between Everest South Summit and Hillary Step (archive)

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Everest climbers possibly on the Knife Ridge
22:51 p.m. EDT May 20, 2003
It is currently 7.40 PM in Kathmandu (10.00 PM EST). No updates at all have come in from any of the Everest expeditions in the past hours. Providing the teams didn't turn around, they are estimated to climb onto the Everest Knife Ridge (video) just this moment.

The usual timing is 7.00 local time for the Everest South Summit, with only a two hour climb left for the top. The first summiteers should arrive at the summit in about an hour, with the others following through the local mid morning. Latest safe summit hour is considered 2.00 PM local time, around six hours from now.

The knife ridge is a sharp, steep ridge leading from the South Summit, ending up in the Hillary step. The ridge takes around one hour of tricky climbing, with a sharp and steep wall on both sides. It towers almost freely over Nepal and Tibet. Hillary Step is a rock climb in the sky.

The step onto the ridge goes through a small, half open tunnel from the South Summit. The crampons grip the rock and ice at a sharp, crooked angle towards the side of the ridge. Occasionally, the snow gives way and the climber slide down for a hairy second. If safety is a priority to the climbers, this is not a place to climb without fixing ropes.

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