Olympic flame's Everest ascent is grand but so far a secret

Thursday, May 1, 2008

BEIJING -- Chinese mountaineers made final preparations Wednesday to take the Olympic flame up Mount Everest in a grand but contentious feat that is being accorded an unusual mixture of fanfare and secrecy.

As China marked 100 days before the start of the Olympics, state-run television began the first of what were billed as elaborate and technically difficult live broadcasts from Everest's base camp for the journey up the world's tallest peak.

Mountaineers were completing the setup of a staging point at 27,390 feet for the final assault on the 29,035-foot summit, Chinese Central Television reported.

There was no word on the flame's whereabouts or those of the 31-member team that would go to the summit. Nor was there any news on which members would ascend to the peak or when.

The Web site of Beijing Daily likened the lack of information to a "mysterious veil that has surrounded base camp."

Some media reports had speculated that the climb could come as early as Wednesday -- when the countdown clock in Beijing marked 100 days to the Aug. 8 through 24 games -- or today -- the May Day holiday.

A brewing storm made a climb in the next three days unlikely, the Xinhua News Agency reported late Wednesday, citing the expedition's weather expert.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: