A team of Chinese surveyors hopes to reach the summit of Mount Everest on May 22, weather permitting. Credit: Xinhua.

Progress continues for a team of Chinese surveyors who are climbing Mount Everest.

The team left base camp for a higher spot on its journey to the peak at 2 pm on Saturday after they had earlier been forced back due to bad weather, Xinhua reported.

The team is expected to reach the summit on May 22, if weather conditions permit, said Wang Yongfeng, deputy director of the mountaineering administrative center of China’s General Administration of Sport.

Starting from the base camp at an altitude of 5,200 meters, the team will typically take about a week to reach the summit, passing through five camps at an altitude of 5,800 meters, 6,500 meters, 7,028 meters, 7,790 meters and 8,300 meters, Xinhua reported.

On the day of reaching the summit, the surveyors plan to set out from the assault camp at an altitude of 8,300 meters at the break of dawn, climb to the top in the morning when the weather is relatively good, and then retreat, said Wang.

Previously, the team delayed their original plan to climb to a camp at an altitude of 7,028 meters on May 9 due to the risk of snow slides and returned from the advance camp at an altitude of 6,500 meters, Xinhua reported.

A road construction team building a route from 8,300 meters above sea level to the peak also decided to retreat on Tuesday because of high winds.

The surveyors will judge the optimal time for reaching the summit by the weather forecasts for the north and south slopes of Everest, which are provided by meteorological department in southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region and professional mountaineering meteorological institution from Switzerland, Xinhua reported.

According to India’s The Tribune, Everest straddles the border of China and Nepal and both countries cancelled spring climbing to prevent the coronavirus from spreading among expedition teams that typically live for weeks in tightly packed camps at high altitudes with little access to emergency medical help.

China’s network of Beidou satellites, a rival to America’s Global Positioning System, is being used to survey the mountain’s current height and natural resources, The Tribune reported.

Data on snow depth, weather and wind speed is also being measured to monitor the deterioration of glaciers and other ecological impacts of climate change.

China has conducted six major surveys of the mountain locally known as Qomolangma, registering its height at 8,848.13 metres (29,029 feet) in 1975 and 8,844.43 metres (29,017 feet) in 2005, The Tribune reported.

China has also taken advantage of the lack of climbers to collect garbage from Everest and other popular climbing peaks.

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