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Tibet gears up for new climbing season

中国日报网 2013-09-17 11:00

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The Tibet autonomous region is bracing itself for the start of the fall climbing season, with over 250 mostly foreign mountaineers expected to tackle the region's famous mountains, some of which stand more than 8,000 meters high.

Despite a drop in the number of mountaineers visiting Tibet in recent years, the fall climbing season is still a big boost for the local tourism industry, and a key source of revenue for locals.

According to the China Tibet Mountaineering Association, 254 mountaineers from Austria, France, Spain, Nepal, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea and other countries are either on their way to Tibet or have already arrived.

Most of them will challenge the world's sixth highest mountain, Mount Cho Oyu, which has an elevation of 8,201 meters, or the world's 14th highest, Mount Shishapangma, which stands at 8,012 meters high.

Zhang Mingxing, director of the association, said on Monday that most of the climbers are foreigners and that more than 200 of them have been preparing for their climbs in Tibet. The rest, he said, are expected to arrive in late September.

He said there are fewer overseas mountaineers visiting Tibet this year because of the global financial downturn. Still, he expects the service industries in the region to receive a boost.

"The autonomous region has been hastening its steps to open up to the outside world and welcome foreign mountaineers," Zhang said.

Wangchen, a guide and mountaineering assistant to foreign climbers at Xigaze, said he is excited about the upcoming "mountaineering party."

"Domestic climbers plan to ascend only after they have accumulated funds and arranged time.But foreign climbers have been crazy about mountaineering since they were young," Wangchen said. “They have a stronger desire to get closer to the tops of the mountains. They can quit their jobs in order to do it, or even sell their cars and houses to realize their dreams."

Zhang said there has been a drop in the number of foreign climbers in recent years, with fewer groups made up of citizens from the same nation.

"That wasn't the case in the past, when associations organized people exclusively from their own country for the climbs. Nowadays, we have more groups comprised of different nationalities because of people's different economic situations. Many mountaineers have to turn to other countries to find climbing partners."

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

 

About the broadcaster:

Anne Ruisi is an editor at China Daily online with more than 30 years of experience as a newspaper editor and reporter. She has worked at newspapers in the U.S., including The Birmingham News in Alabama and City Newspaper of Rochester, N.Y.

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