Hinkes Climbs Final 8,000’er

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Briton Alan Hinkes has summited 28,172-foot Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world and the final peak in his quest to climb all 14 8,000-meter summits. Hinkes struggled through deep snow and dangerous avalanche conditions to reach the top of Kanchenjunga in the evening of May 30. He was alone, having left his exhausted partner, Pasang Gelu, about 15 minutes before the top. Both men returned safely to basecamp.Hinkes had tried Kanchenjunga twice before, in 2000 and 2002. The 51-year-old Yorkshireman is now claiming to be the first Briton to climb all 14 8,000-meter peaks, and the 13th overall, but his 1990 ascent of Cho Oyu is disputed. Hinkes reached that peak’s large summit plateau in heavy fog, and while other climbers turned back Hinkes went on alone for an hour and claimed to find the true summit.Hinkes is the second man this year to claim the final summit in an 8,000-meter quest. Earlier in May, American Ed Viesturs climbed Annapurna to complete his own 8,000-meter tick list. Two other men nearing the final step on the ladder died this season: Italian Christian Kuntner, who needed only to climb Annapurna to finish his list, was killed by ice fall on that mountain shortly after Viesturs left, and Tibetan Renna, who had climbed 12 or 13 8,000’ers (the 13th is disputed) was killed when an avalanche struck his jeep on the way to Gasherbrum I in Pakistan.