Mount Everest's famed Hillary Step destroyed, says mountaineer

Climbing Mount Everest has become even tougher with mountaineers saying yesterday that the rocky patch near the top known as Hillary Step has collapsed.

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. Hillary Step, named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who along with Sherpa Tenzing Norwich, were the first people to ascend to the top at 1953, possibly collapsed in the 2015 quake in Nepal.

The announcement confirms suspicions raised during last year's spring climbing season that the Hillary Step had been damaged by the natural disaster that devastated Nepal in...

The iconic almost vertical 12 meters (39 foot) rocky outcropping stood on the southeastern ridge of the mountain and was the last great challenge in reaching Everest's summit.

"In the current state it would be hard to safely negotiate down where the step used to be on account of the huge unstable rocks that are perched on the route", Mr Mosedale said. "I mean obviously it's associated with the history of Everest in the 1953 expedition", Mr Mosedale said.

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"It's official - The Hillary Step is no more", he wrote, adding that the rubble could be "tricky to negotiate".

The American Himalayan Foundation posted pictures online in May 2016 that seemed to suggest the Step, although covered with snow, had changed shape.

The Step no longer requires climbing equipment and is now a leisurely stroll through thick snow to the summit.

The photographs of Hillary Step was posted previous year by the American Himalayan Foundation, but due to the thick snow cover, it could not be confirmed.

Mr Mosedale, who is due to go back up Everest later this month, said he believed the Step was most likely a victim of Nepal's 2015 quake.

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Others believe that with the outcrop gone, the slope will be much easier to climb, but even they warn this could create a risky bottleneck.

'If the weather is breaking up, that two-and-a-half hour wait can be a matter of life and death'.

A film about Sir Edmund Hillary is already earning critical buzz ahead of its premiere.

Francesco Enrico Marchetti, a 53-year-old Australian climber, was killed when he was descending to the lower camps from the North Col route on Everest on Sunday morning, according to the Tibet Mountaineering Association.

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