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Tibet, the Olympic torch heads for Everest

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While in Tibet the Olympic torch sets off for Everest, in Nepal the mountaineers are obliged not to climb above Camp 2.

The Beijing Olypmic games are just 99 days away and the news just in is that a group of mountaineers has just set off from Base Camp in Tibet to take the Olympic flame to highest point on this planet. Everestnews, one of the oldest and most reliable sources for Himalayan expeditions, reports about this start and mentions that ropes have been fixed up to 8300m. Strong winds are raging on the mountain by a weather window is expected for 3 and 6 May.

While these mountaineers are beginning their ascent, things look very different on the Nepalese side, where expeditions are not allowed to climb higher than Camp 2. Officially this is for "safety" measures, but many believe these restrictions are to ensure a smooth ascent of the flame and to control all information coming from the mountain.

The American magazine Alpinist reports that video cameras and mobile phones have been confiscated, while a few days ago a BBC reporter was forced to leave Base Camp shortly after his arrival, occurrences in line with the "communication blackout" imposed by both China and the Nepalese authorities.

We would like to highlight an unusual action of solidarity for Tibet: on 11 May all mountaineers across the globe are invited to climb a mountain and light smoke flags at 13.00. Deatils of this initiative, which we feel to be important, can be found on www.sadsmokymountains.net. Pick your summit.

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