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May 27, 2012

Youngest Brit teen clambered past dead during historic Mt Everest climb

     London: Leanna Shuttleworth, who became the youngest British woman to scale Mount Everest this weekend, has opened up about how she had to climb past the dead mountaineers at the summit. Shuttleworth described the harrowing time she had as she walked around mountaineers killed in last weekend's deadly storm. As the teenager ascended the top of the world's highest summit, she had to walk around dead and dying climbers - some of whom were still attached to the fixed mountaineering lines. Shuttleworth echoed reports of the dangerous ‘traffic jam’ at Mount Everest 's summit. The 19-year-old said that about 150 climbers had rushed to summit the mountain, during a small window of good weather and the queues to ascend to the peak had caused dangerous delays. “The summit was really quite terrible as far as summit days go. We had awful weather,” the Daily Mail quoted her as saying. “We started out at 9pm and the wind was meant to start dropping but it never did. We passed quite a few other teams but they turned back.” “Our oxygen regulators kept freezing up, we could not get into our water as the lids had frozen on and we did not want to stop because it was so cold.” “A member of our team, his corneas froze. His eyesight is fine but he had to abandon the climb and go down blind.” However, passing the casualties on the mountain was the most horrific part of the ascent, she said. “There were casualties from the day before which was tragic and horrendous.” “There were quite a few bodies attached to the fixed lines and we had to walk round them.” “There were a couple who were still alive. Our Sherpa helped one of the people but a couple were so far gone they didn't even know we were there. It was the most horrendous thing to see.” A spokeswoman for the Buckinghamshire-born teen said that the extreme weather conditions meant many climbers had to turn back and it has been linked to deaths of at least four people on the mountain. “During her trek, she witnessed what has been described as a traffic jam of more than 100 people who tried to summit the mountain during a window of good weather,” the spokeswoman said. “A strong wind left many of those climbers trapped, leading to injury and at least four deaths. Leanna witnessed some of the casualties first hand,” she later added. Shuttleworth has been climbing since the age of 14, she started the challenge on April 2 and reached the summit of Everest at 6.10am on May 20. On reaching the top of Mt Everest she became the youngest British woman to have completed the Seven Summits Challenge (SSC), her spokeswoman added.
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