22 Apr 2010

Friends and family want body to stay on Everest

11:48 am on 22 April 2010

Friends and family of mountain climber Rob Hall want his body left on Mt Everest, despite plans to clean up the peak.

Twenty Nepali climbers are to remove rubbish from an area known as the mountain's dead zone, which is above 8000 metres.

The expedition will set off from the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, this weekend and reach the Everest's South Col, just below 8,000 metres, by 1 May.

After setting up camp on the South Col, the team will climb to the summit of Everest and start working their way down, picking up rubbish as they go.

The team hopes to bring down at least 2000kg of waste and at least two bodies: American Scott Fischer, who died in 1996, and Swiss mountaineer Gianni Goltz, who died in 2008.

The BBC reports 1996 was the mountain's worst-ever climbing season. Fifteen climbers died that year, eight of them in one day.

Journalist Jon Krakauer later published the story of the tragedy in the book Into Thin Air.

The team also suspect they will find the body of New Zealand climber Rob Hall.

He successfully guided a group to the summit in 1996, but died while trying to save another climber.

Mountaineer Guy Cotter says the recovery process is opening old wounds.

He says Mr Hall's widow doesn't want lives put at risk to retrieve the body, which he says, is so high on the mountain it's unlikely to be retrieved anyway.