Greeks make crowded Everest top

Fifty-one years after the first ascent, Greeks have finally set foot on the top of the world’s tallest mountain. Five Greek climbers reached the 8,850-meter summit of Mt Everest yesterday morning, after a climb from their last campsite (Camp Four) at 7,900 meters that lasted at least nine-and-a-half hours. Giorgos Voutyropoulos, who arrived first at the summit at about 6 a.m., along with a local Sherpa porter, Pema Tshiring, planted the Greek and Olympic flags, in special commemoration of the Athens Olympics. Voutyropoulos was followed to the top three hours later after by group leader Panayiotis Kotronaros and Michalis Styllas, as well as four Sherpas. Pavlos Tsiantos, who is filming the expedition, arrived at 10.50 a.m. The expedition’s website mentioned that a fifth Greek climber, Antonis Antonopoulos, reached the summit, although his name was not included in the list of 47 climbers who reached the top yesterday, published by another website. Twenty-one more climbers reached the top on Saturday afternoon, after the Greek team had abandoned its first attempt due to high winds. Alongside the flags, the climbers also left a photograph of team member Christos Barouhas, who lost his life last fall descending from the Himalayan peak Cho Oyu, where the team had been training. The latest dispatch mentioned that Voutyropoulos had reached Camp Four, with the others descending a short way behind. Another person of Greek descent, the late Constantine Niarchos, had reached the Everest summit in 1999. He was officially listed as a Swiss citizen. All five Greek climbers reached the top from the Nepal side of the mountain. The Greek expedition, Hellas Everest 2004, also has a team, led by veteran climber Costas Tzivelekas, attempting to reach the summit from the north, Tibetan side. An attempt is expected today or tomorrow.

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