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Everest speed ascent veteran breaks record
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May 21, 2004 09: 09 EST
Pemba Dorji Sherpa, 26, ascended Everest in eight hours 10 minutes, breaking the record set by Lakpa Gelu Sherpa, 36, of 10 hours 46 minutes in May 2003, a tourism ministry official said.

"Pemba reached the summit of Everest at 2:10 am (local time Friday) in eight hours 10 minutes after leaving base camp at 6 pm on Thursday evening," the official said.

"Detailed reports about Pemba's record breaking summit ascent in the shortest time is awaited," he added.

Pemba had also summited on May 16th at 7:15am. So in 4 days and 19 hours he made a back-to-back ascent and broke a new speed record.

Before leaving for base camp in March, Pemba had announced at a press conference that he would try to beat the speed ascent record set by Lakpa.

The two Sherpas have been vying with each other to be quickest up the mountain, with Pemba last year breaking the record when he on May 23 whizzed up in a time of 12 hours 46 minutes.

However, just three days later Lakpa, powered only by fruit juice, sprinted to the top to set the new record.

It took Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay more than seven weeks from base camp to the summit. Last year, Hillary pointed out that he and Tenzing had to forge their own route without the benefit of modern equipment, or of ropes and ladders already fixed in place.

"We had to do everything ourselves," said Hillary, clearly unimpressed by the new trends on Everest. Apparently Hillary is not counting the one thousand sherpas who assisted the team - editors comment.

There seems to be much controversy surrounding speed ascents these days. Last year saw lots of debate on a Rainier speed ascent here in America, and the Everest speed ascent.

Last year Pemba Dorje questioned the authenticity of Lakpa Gelu's record and petitioned the tourism ministry for an official investigation into the expedition.

Last July, the ministry confirmed Lakpa Gelu's record.

Pemba Dorje's latest attempt came as part of a team led by veteran climber, Appa Sherpa, who broke the record for the number of ascents on Monday with his fourteenth climb.

An Everest speed ascent history

Oct 5, 1990, Marc Batard (no O2): 22 hrs 29 min
Oct 17, 1998, Kaji Sherpa (with O2): 20 hrs 24 min
May 21, 2000, Babu Chiri Sherpa (with O2): 16 hrs 56 min
May 22, 2003, Pemba Dorjie Sherpa (with O2): 12 hrs and 45 min
May 25, 2003, Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa (with O2): 10 hrs 56 min
May 21, 2004, Pemba Dorjie Sherpa (with O2): 8 hrs 10 min

Images of Pemba Dorjee Sherpa and Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa courtesy of BaseCampMD.com
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