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Blind American Climber Conquers Mount Everest

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: The following article is re-printed from the Arizona Republic, May 25, 2001.

Kathmandu - A 32-year-old American today became the first blind person to scale Mount Everest along with a 64-year-old U.S. doctor who became the oldest person to climb the world's highest peak.

Erik Weihenmayer, from Golden, Colorado, and blind since his teens, reached the 29,000-foot summit along the traditional southeast ridge route pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953, the U.S. National Federation of the Blind said.

The athlete, who uses a pair of long polls to sweep in front of him as he climbs, reached the top at 10.00 a.m. Nepal time this morning. "Great summit news," the federation, which sponsored the expedition, said on its Web site http:/www.2001everest.com. In all, eight climbers of the 10-member U.S. expedition climbed the mountain, the Web site said. Among them was Sherman Bull, a doctor from New Canaan, Connecticut, who beat the record of Toshio Yamamoto of Japan who climbed the mountain last year at the age of 63.

Since Hillary's expedition, more than 1,000 people have reached the Everest summit. Some 170 people have lost their lives on its slopes.