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Dozens of climbers waiting for clear weather for attempts on Mount Everest

Dozens of climbers are waiting for a break in the weather before they can attempt to scale Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak, Nepalese mountaineering officials said Monday.

The 23 expedition teams at the base camp of the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) mountain are waiting for one of up to just two windows of good weather that usually occur every May, said Khadananda Dhakal, chief of Nepal's Mountaineering Department.

Dhakal said there have been reports of several climbers reaching the peak from the Chinese side of the mountain in the north, but none of the climbers on the Nepalese side in the south have been able to reach above base camp at 5,300 meters (17,400 feet) due to strong winds and snowfalls.

Sherpa guides are facing problems fixing climbing ropes and carrying loads to support camps along the steep icy trail.

Climbers have to scale the peak by around mid-May when there is favorable weather for a few days. After May, the annual monsoon brings fresh snow and blizzards, making the climb impossible.

Climbers usually reach Everest's base camp in March. They then use the weeks leading up to mid-May to make practice runs to higher elevations to acclimatize.

Since New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first conquered Everest on May 29, 1953, around 2,000 climbers have scaled the mountain. About 203 people have died on its unpredictable slopes.

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