• Safety at the Top of the World

    2 June at 11:44 from atlas

    This year, 520 climbers have reached the summit of Everest.

    He told the Guardian most of the traffic jams were because only one person could go up or down at a time.

    "If you have people waiting two, three or even four hours that means lots of exposure [to risk]," he said.

    "To make the climbing easier, that would be wrong. But this is a safety feature."

    Frits Vrijlandt, the president of the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation, said the ladder could be a solution to the increasing numbers of climbers on the mountain.

    "It's for the way down, so it won't change the climb," Vrijlandt told the Guardian.

    Apa Sherpa, who climbed Everest a record 21 times before retiring in 2011, described the Hillary Step as "very hard" and said a ladder was a good idea.

    Pertemba Sherpa, who played a key role in the British expedition led by Sir Chris Bonington, which climbed Everest's south-west face for the first time in 1975, told the Guardian that the security of the sherpas working on the mountain should be paramount.

    "The route is changing, there is more rock, less ice and snow. It's very dangerous," the 65-year-old said.

    "For the safety of sherpas, this is good."