Mt Everest's famous 'Hillary Step' is still there

  • Updated
  • 24/05/2017

Nepalese climbers have argued that Mt Everest's Hillary Step, named after Sir Edmund Hillary, has not collapsed and is still intact.

According to the Guardian, the chairman of the Nepal Mountaineering Association says the step is in its old position but just covered in snow.

"[It is] intact, except that there's lots more snow on it so the rock portion is not easily visible," Ang Tshering Sherpa said.

Those claims are supported by a fellow climber who says the confusion may have happened because mountaineers marked a new route to the summit but approached it from another side.

Nepal, Mt Everest
Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary (Getty)

"I was the coordinator of the team that opened up the route to the summit. Since there were no climbers on the mountain in two years, it appeared like a new mountain with lots of snow," they said.

"I did not see any marking of the older route. For safety reasons in the Hillary Step, I changed the route a little to the right."

The Hillary step is a near vertical rock face 12m high and is regarded as the most difficult part of the climb to the top.

The face is known for being covered in snow and ice making it dangerous for climbers to ascent.

It was named after Sir Ed as a mark of being the first known person to reach the top.

Nepalese climber Lila Basnet also said the summit was unchanged.

"It appears there was much more snow in the area but we found nothing wrong with the Hillary Step. This is the fifth time I have climbed Everest and it all appears good," she said.

Last week there were claims the step had collapsed, most likely due to Nepal's 2015 earthquake.

"It's official - The Hillary Step is no more. Not sure what's going to happen when the snow ridge doesn't form because there's some huge blocks randomly perched hither and thither which will be quite tricky to negotiate," British mountaineer and commercial expedition leader Tim Mosedale posted on the Everest Expedition Facebook page.

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people to climb the world's tallest mountain in 1953.