Student mountaineers of Peking University to challenge Qomolangma

The Mountaineering Association of Peking University on Wednesday announced an ambitious expedition to climb the world's highest peak, Qomolangma, as part of the celebration of the renowned university's 120-year anniversary in 2018.

The association, better known as Shan Ying She, or a group of mountain eagles in Chinese, will recruit an amateur team of students and experienced alumni to train rigorously over the next two years for the campaign to summit Qomolangma, known as Mount Everest in the West.The expedition will be supported by the Chinese Mountaineering Association and the sports bureau of the Tibet autonomous region, which will provide physical, mental and technical training for the climbers.

Lin Jianhua, president of Peking University, announced the plan on Wednesday, saying the success of the expedition will be measured by the challenges the participants face in extreme situations.

"It's more important to focus on the positive energy of climbing high despite challenges, which reflects the spirit of the university. The expedition should follow the safety-first principal and topping the summit shouldn't be set as the only goal," he said.

Since it was established in 1989, the association has developed into the most prominent amateur mountaineering club in China. It has organized 35 ascents of 22 of the world's highest peaks and 40 of its former and current member students have successfully climbed peaks over 7,000 meters above sea level. Three of its members have become advanced mountaineers with national certificates.

An avalanche in August 2002 killed five student members of a 15-climber team that challenged the 8,012-meter peak of Shishapangma, the world's 14th highest mountain, in south central Tibet. The tragedy attracted much media attention and led to a heated debate on the development of China's amateur mountaineering.

To guarantee safety for the May 2018 expedition, the association has drafted a pre-ascent training plan as well as a series of preventive measures in medical support, meteorological forecast and equipment in cooperation with CMA and a crew of Tibetan mountain guides.

Wang Yongfeng, vice-chairman of CMA and captain of the national mountaineering team, said the expedition will explore the new frontier of China's amateur mountaineering and outdoor activities.

From July to September 2017, selected climbers will assess their physical and mental abilities by finishing four practice expeditions to some of the world's most daunting peaks, including the 7,546-meter Mount Muztagata in Xinjiang and the 8,201-meter Mount Cho Oyu on the China-Nepal border.