6 Orange County climbers descend after summiting Mt. Everest

Cal State Fullerton lecturer Cindy Abbott climbs through the Khumbu Icefall.
Cal State Fullerton lecturer Cindy Abbott climbs through the Khumbu Icefall. Courtesy of Cindy Abbott

Six Orange County climbers who stood atop Mount Everest this past weekend were descending the world's highest mountain today or already safe in base camps.

The Orange County contingent was among scores of climbers, guides and Sherpas who summited the 29,029-foot peak during a clear weather window Saturday and Sunday.

Cindy Abbott, 51, of Irvine, made it to Everest's summit, as did John Dahlem, 67, of Huntington Beach, and his son Ryan Dahlem, 40, of Aliso Viejo; Mike Chapman, 54, of Mission Viejo; and Denise and Paul Fejtek of Newport Beach.

Bill Burke, 68, of Costa Mesa, already the oldest American to successfully climb Everest, turned around a few hundred vertical feet from the top this weekend in a bid to reach the summit for a second time, the Orange County Register reported.

Also over the weekend, 13-year-old Jordan Romero of Big Bear Lake became the youngest person ever to climb Everest.

More than 200 people summited Everest over the weekend, a Nepal mountaineering official told Agence France-Presse.

Dozens more are on their way up the mountain, hoping to reach the top before the brief summer climbing season ends later this week.

About 2,900 people have climbed Everest since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the first ascent in 1953.

On Saturday, Nepalese mountaineer Apa Sherpa, 50, broke his own record by climbing Everest for the 20th time.

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