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Chinese woman summits Everest

AFP-JIJI

A Chinese woman became the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest this season, officials said Saturday, but the climb was clouded by controversy because she took a helicopter part of the way.

Wang Jing, 41, reached Everest’s summit late Friday, accompanied by five Nepalese Sherpas, Tourism Ministry official Madhusudhan Burlakoti said. He said Nepalese officials have not yet decided whether to log the climb as an official ascent of the mountain because she used a helicopter for a big part of the way.

The ascent comes just over a month after an avalanche killed 16 Nepalese guides in the single deadliest accident on Mount Everest, spurring a virtual shutdown of the world’s tallest peak.

Wang and an American woman had decided to fly to Camp 2 on Everest because the route below — normally prepared by Sherpas beforehand with ropes and ladders — had not been completed this season.

The climbers were thought to be the first back on the mountain since expeditions left in controversy over the April 18 disaster.