26 Oct 2010

Search for climber called off

8:06 am on 26 October 2010

A search has been called off for Sherpa Chhewang Nima, a leading Nepalese mountaineer, who has been missing since an avalanche in the Himalayas on Saturday.

Mr Nima, 43, a veteran of 19 ascents of Mount Everest, was expected shortly to try for the record, which stands at 20.

He was fixing ropes for a climbing group near the top of Mt Baruntse (7,129 metres, 23,400ft) when the avalanche occurred. He was knocked down the north-east slope of the mountain.

Bad weather hampered a helicopter rescue operation. The BBC reports a search for his body has now been called off.

Sherpa Shangri-La Treks told the BBC that "there is no way to find his body".

A Buddhist memorial ceremony had been held in his honour.

The BBC reports the record for the most successful climbs of Everest is 20, held by another Nepalese climber Appa Sherpa.