Mount Everest's famous Hillary Step destroyed, mountaineers confirm

Mount Everest's famous Hillary Step destroyed, mountaineers confirm

Mountaineers have confirmed that a famous rocky outcrop near the peak of Mount Everest has collapsed, potentially making climbing the mountain more risky.

The British expedition leader Tim Mosedale, who reached the summit last week, posted a photograph on Facebook and confirmed the destruction of the Hillary Step.

Other climbers confirmed that the renowned 12 metre (40ft) cliff navigated by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay during the first successful climb to the summit in 1953, and named after the New Zealand mountaineer, has shattered into a heap of colossal boulders.

A 50-year-old American physician, who survived a 2015 natural disaster in Nepal, died attempting to climb Mount Everest on Sunday morning, authorities said.

The famous rock barrier, the Hillary Step, located just below the summit of Mt Everest has collapsed.

"End of an era really, bit of a shame".

"It was reported last year, and indeed I climbed it last year, but we weren't sure for certain that "The Step" had gone because the area was blasted with snow", Mosedale wrote on Facebook after reaching the summit for the sixth time.

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Last year, the American Himalayan Foundation described the outcrop as the "Hillary Slope" by comparing a photo from 2016 and one taken in 2013. However, due to snowfall, it was hard to tell what was and was not rock. "It could well just be gravity, but I would suspect the natural disaster was the cause", he told BBC.

"I can report that the chunk of rock named "The Hillary Step" is definitely not there any more", he said.

Several mountaineers claim the snow-covered slope will be easier to climb than the old rock-face, but have warned a bottleneck could be created. These are 50-year-old Roland Gjurgund and Ravi Kamar, who got sick from returning from the top on Saturday and could not go back to the nearest camp when his Serpent escort managed (though he also got sick and he had difficulty reaching In the last camp at South Coll, at an altitude of 8,000 meters).

That is what British mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington told the BBC in an interview in 2012.

The Hillary Step was a bottleneck where climbers had to ascend and descend with the help of ropes.

"In a perfectly clear day no matter whether you stayed for two and a half hours at the Hillary step, which is quite close to the top".

The routes up Everest from Nepal and Tibet are already very hazardous, the BBC's Richard Galpin reports.

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