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GALLERY: Hillary Step Aside

In more recent years, the ascent and descent over the Step has generally been made with the assistance of fixed ropes, usually placed there by the first ascending team of the season. With increasing numbers of people climbing the mountain, the Step frequently becomes a bottleneck, with climbers forced to wait significant amounts of time for their turn on the ropes, leading to problems in getting climbers efficiently up and down the mountain. Only one climber at a time can traverse it. In a good climbing situation (prior to the potential collapse of the step), it is about a two-hour climb from the South Summit to the Hillary Step, one to two hours to climb the cliff, and then another 20 minutes from the top of the Hillary Step to the summit of Mount Everest. It was suspected in 2016 that the April 2015 Nepal earthquake had altered the Hillary Step, but there was so much snow it was not clear whether it had truly changed. It was reported in May 2017 by climbers including mountaineer Tim Mosedale that "the Hillary Step is no more", although the full extent and interpretation of the changes are still nascent. There are multiple pictures of before and after. Another climber who thought the Step changed by 2016 was six-time Everest summiter David Liaño Gonzalez, who summited in 2013 and 2016, when the relevant changes are reported to have occurred. However, some important Nepalese climbers, including Ang Tshering Sherpa, chairman of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, have reported that the Step is still intact but covered in more snow than before. Later in the year, after seeing a large exhibition of photos from 2006 to 2016 he did agree that at least the upper portion of the step had indeed changed.

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