KUALA LUMPUR – “I will not give up until I have conquered Mount Everest,” pledged Malaysia’s oldest mountain climber James Lee Chong Meng after the Lions Mount Everest Expedition (MEE) 2016 in Nepal.
The 68-year-old Lee said he would resume his mission in April next year and is expected to start training for the climb soon in Nepal.
Earlier his mission to scale the world’s highest mountain, which was scheduled to be completed in 70 days, had to be abandoned on May 19 following bad weather.
“Even though, I did not reach the peak, it was an achievement as I succeeded in completing the acclimatization training for six weeks and managed to climb up to Camp Three at a height of 7,300 metres above sea level.
“For me this is a feat as it tested my level of capability to climb,” he told Bernama Wednesday.
Recalling his experience there, Lee said due to the weather factor, he had to avoid taking extreme risks to reach the peak.
Lee said when he was at Camp Three, he had to scale a steep ice slope named Lhotse Face to get to Camp Four.
“The route there is ice and is very steep, any slip one will fall into a deep ravine,” he said.
Asked on the most challenging route among the four camps, Lee said Khumbu Icefall was the most treacherous track as the place could only be accessed at 2 am to 3 am.
“This is because the journey from the Everest Base Camp to Camp One could only be accessed at night to ensure the track is still in the form of ice.
“In the day time, the weather will cause the ice to melt and may trigger an avalanche and cause the track to change. Apart from that, this is the area many climbers were killed as avalanches can occur suddenly,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lions Club International District 308 B1 District Governor, Datuk L. Krishnan said he was very satisfied with Lee’s achievement in the mission.
“After this, we plan to implement phase two of the Everest climb in April next year and it needs detailed preparations to face any eventuality.
“I am very pleased with Lee’s accomplishment as he had proved to the younger generation that age is not a hindrance for a person to take on new challenges,” he added. – BERNAMA