SOLUKHUMBU (Nepal) – James Lee Chong Meng, 68, Malaysia’s oldest climber, is currently undergoing training to aclimatise himself with the situation and weather at the Everest camps.
Lee, who arrived at the Everest Base Camp (EBC) at a height of 5,364 metres above sea level on Monday, was now undergoing training by climbing to four camps, which were of increasing heights, prior to attempting the 8,840-metre high Mount Everest.
“For starters, I will climb from EBC to Camp 1 and back, then from EBC to Camp 2 and back, repeating the process with Camp three and Camp 4 to get used to being at such a high altitude,” he said.
He said this to a Bernama reporter who accompanied the 2016 Lions Mount Everest Expedition (Lions MEE), organised by Lions Club International District 308 B1 to boost environmental awareness and show the ‘Malaysia Boleh’ spirit, participated by Lee.
The former engineer said the climbing training would be made repeatedly at the camps to aclimatise himself, before attempting to climb Everest’s peak next month.
Lee is posed to set a record as the oldest male climber in South East Asia by conquering the mountain.
“The extreme cold at the Everest camps, which are between 6,000 and 7,000 metres above sea level, posed a high risk of frost bite, and can even result in death. I am told a climber is only allowed to be at the peak of Everest for four days,” he said.
Lee said he was healthy and in high spirit, in fact, his sprained right leg had healed.
Lee, who started climbing as a hobby in his 40s, had climbed many mountains including Mount Kinabalu, Mount Rinjani in Indonesia, Mount Fuji in Japan and Mount Ama Dablam in Nepal.
He harboured the dream to conquer Mount Everest since March 31 and expected to achieve his mission in 70 days.
Also part of the climbing team were two sherpas, namely, Ngaa Tenji, 33, and Ang Temba, 44, and two climbers Sherine Leong, 40, and Desmond Tee, 56, who joined Lee at EBC.
Bernama, as official media for the expedition, sent three represenatives, namely, journalist Muhammad Afiq Mohd Asri, 25, Bernama TV cameraman, Fazril Amirul Azali, 23, and photographer Zulfadhli Zulkarnain, also 23. – BERNAMA