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Sherpa plans cyber cafe at Everest

Everest will soon have what's billed as the world's highest Internet cafe.
Everest will soon have what's billed as the world's highest Internet cafe.

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KATHMANDU, Nepal (Reuters) -- The grandson of a Nepali sherpa in the first expedition to scale Mount Everest 50 years ago plans to set up the world's highest Internet cafe at the mountain's base camp.

Tsering Gyaltsen, whose grandfather, Gyaltsen Sherpa, was in the 1953 team that helped Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reach the 8,850 meter (29,040 foot) summit, hopes to open the cafe next month to cash in on a flood of visitors for the anniversary.

Thousands of trekkers and mountaineers pass through the base camp at 5,300 meters (17,400 feet) every year and many expeditions carry satellite phones into the Himalayas to run Web sites about their efforts and contact friends and family at home.

Otherwise, the nearest phones are a four-day trek away.

Gyaltsen, waiting for government permission to go ahead, will use radio and satellite links and solar and generator power.

Money from the cafe will go to a project to clear Everest of the hundreds of tons of garbage left behind every year.

Nepal has eight of the world's 14 highest mountains The tens of thousands of foreign tourists they attract annually are a major source of income for what is one of the world's poorest nations.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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