While mountaineers Rob Hall and Gary Ball prepare to strike for the summit of Everest, a Second New Zealand expedition is waiting for an official go-ahead to cross the Tibetan border. Both expeditions, sponsored by New Zealand Geographic, are attempting something new in Everest mountaineering history. The Ball-Hall team has joined with two sherpa climbers Fincho Norbu and Apa Sherpa in a lightweight attempt on the 8848m mountain's south pillar. Rob Hall said his small team was taking a stand on the issue of base camp pollution by back loading the team's non-burnable rubbish. Tin cans and glass will be crushed and carried down the valley by yaks to be buried off the glacier. Mike Perry and the nine-member New Zealand Everest expedition intend climbing the difficult North Face route, climbing without bottled oxygen or sherpa climbing back-up. If successful, they will be the first New Zealanders to climb this route, which has seen only six climbers make it to the summit. Their attempt depends on martial law being lifted in Tibet in time for their planned schedule, with serious climbing beginning on April 24. Perry is confident the expedition, planned for five years and with a budget of $100,000, will go ahead.
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