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Mountaineers Pyae Phyo Aung and Win Ko Ko made climbing history this morning by becoming the first Burmese nationals to scale the world’s highest mountain.
The pair reached the summit of Mount Everest about an hour before sunrise on Thursday, according to Bo Htun, a spokesperson for the climb’s sponsor, the Htoo Foundation.
“The two managed to successfully set foot on the summit at 7:07am Burmese time [5:52am Nepal time] this morning,” he said, adding that they started their descent immediately after reaching the peak.
The climbers began the final leg of their ascent at 9pm Wednesday and climbed without stopping until they reached the top, Bo Htun told DVB.
“From what we were told, they are descending all the way the back to Camp 2 as oxygen levels at Camps 3 and 4 are too low,” he said. “Also, since they have been climbing without rest for the past few days, they are actually quite tired. They will only be able to have a good rest when they get back to Camp 2.”
A third member of the team, Nyi Nyi Aung, was unable to complete the climb due to health problems.
Htoo Foundation chairman Tay Za congratulated Pyae Phyo Aung and Win Ko Ko for their successful climb and wished them a safe return on the foundation’s Facebook page, saying they had “dignified the country” with their accomplishment.
Upon reaching the summit, the two climbers planted the Burmese flag and the flag of Tay Za’s conglomerate, the Htoo Groups of Companies.
A previous attempt in 2014, also sponsored by the Htoo Foundation, had to be called off after the death of more than a dozen Sherpa porters in an avalanche resulted in the cancellation of that year’s climbing season.
The Htoo Foundation has also been involved in other high-profile climbs, including one on Burma’s highest mountain, the Hkakabo Razi, that ended in tragedy.
A rescue mission to find two Burmese mountaineers who had reached the peak of the mountain in northern Kachin State ended with a helicopter crash that resulted in the death of its Burmese pilot, Capt. Aung Myat Toe.