Everest cybercafe opens at 17,400 feet

Fifty years after Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing climbed Everest, the world's highest mountain is now home to the world's highest cybercafe
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

Climbers can now email friends and family from 17,400 feet thanks to the highest cybercafé in the world at the Mount Everest base camp.

The Everest internet café has been launched to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest on 29 May, 1953, by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing.

Not only will it allow the 50,000 hardy trekkers who tackle the peak every year keep in touch with loved ones but internet access at base camp will make it easier to call for emergency assistance and check the latest weather conditions.

The cybercafé will also provide a link to the outside world for local villagers in the Everest region, who have no telecommunications access.

A temporary structure will house the internet café because the base camp sits on a glacier and moves by several inches per year. A base station further down provides a satellite link for Web access. The station will be operational during the main spring and autumn climbing seasons.

The project was started by Sherpa Tsering Gyalzen, the grandson of one of Hillary's party in 1953, and is being sponsored by Yahoo Mail.

Gyalzen said in a statement: "Not only will the cafe benefit climbers, many of whom use Yahoo Mail to keep in touch with friends and family, it will make an enormous difference to the lives of the local community who due to a lack of telephone access are almost completely cut off from the outside world."

Proceeds from the venture will go towards cleaning up the pollution and waste left behind at the camp by climbers.

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