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Everest speed ascent in progress
20:58 p.m. EDT May 22, 2003
Italian Fabio Meraldi has left base camp bound for the summit. No stopovers in Camp II, III, or even Camp IV he is going for it, the very top; and then back down. The goal an Everest speed ascent/descent, without oxygen, in less than 24 hours.

His teammate, former Olympic Nordic skier and 14 time medallist, Manuela Di Centa, has also left for her summit push from a more traditional point, Camp IV, 7900m. She is hoping to be the first Italian woman to summit Everest. He expects to arrive at the summit around 0800 hrs Nepali time, and Manuela, 1200 hrs.

Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa planned to go for speed ascent too this year, however, poor weather halted him just the other day.

There are other teams going for the summit tonight as well - the Russians on the North, and one-armed climber Gary Guller from the South.

Image courtesy of EverestSpeedExpedition.com

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