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Nepal ruling in Everest speed record: Pemba it is
image story

Sep 16, 2004 12: 29 EST

A while ago, the Ministry sent out an open letter asking for any information relevant to the controversy surrounding Pemba Dorjie's record ascent of Mt. Everest on May 21st, 2004.

After Pemba’s record setting 8 hour and 10 minute ascent from the South Side, the previous record holder, Lhakpa Gelu, challenged Pemba, “The weather was so bad that day there is no way [Pemba] could have made the climb."

As a result, the Ministry formed a 7-member committee to get to the bottom of this. They were looking for information – pictures or videos from the summit with specific date and time, also banners/flags/mementos left on the summit.

Twelve Everest summiteers questioned Pemba's record

According to BBC, twelve Everest summiteers questioned Pemba's record last June, arguing that he had not even reached the summit. This included Lakpa Gelu Sherpa.

The tourism ministry now say that Pemba's team had proof that the Everest summit was reached. It said the evidence cross-checked by the team included flags, photographs and a written document which Pemba had seen or collected on his ascent of the 8,850 m peak. Pemba had in addition given a detailed description of items left at the mountain by a climber who reached it a day before him.

The investigators also said that they had seen photographs taken by other mountaineers that showed Pemba going up Mount Everest. Lakpa Gelu had argued that no one had seen him going up or coming down.

The weather on May 20/21

Lakpa Gelu claims that "The weather was so bad that day there is no way [Pemba] could have made the climb."
Pemba, however, said snow that day was confined to base camp and there was no wind, and that above 6,000 meters, the weather was fine.

According to dispatches from that day there seems to have been bands of weather on different levels. Levels around 7000 meters had fog, snow and wind, levels above were calm, but with occasional gusts. Weather reports for that period predicted a high chance of heavy precipitation below 7500m on the 20th and at all altitudes by 6am on the 21st. Winds were predicted to be moderate.

Pemba started at 6 P.M. on 20th May 2004 and reached the summit at 02.10 A.M. on 21st May 2004 according to the Nepali Ministry of Tourism.

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 (left) and Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa (right) courtesy of BaseCampMD.com.

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