A year-long bitter feud between two ace Nepalese climbers as to who reached the top of Mt Everest fastest has been resolved for now with the government stepping in to adjudicate.
Though the government said Pemba Dorji Sherpa was the fastest having climbed the 8,850 metre high peak in eight hours 10 minutes, rival mountaineer Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa is determined to best the record.
The feat must have been especially sweet to Pemba since he bested the earlier record set by Lhakpa of 10 hours 56 minutes in 2003.
Lhakpa's timing came within three days of Pemba setting a record in May 2003 of 12 hours 43 minutes.
However, Pemba's timing is doubted by Lhakpa who was at the base camp at the time. He said the weather had turned treacherous and was likely to hamper climbers.
Pemba had started his climb with a Swiss mountaineer but reached the top alone. As proof that he had scaled the peak, he had brought back flags left by other expeditions before him. However, according to Lhakpa, they could have been collected during an earlier climb.
The row became so widespread and acrimonious that veteran Everesters condemned it, saying it tarnished the image of a feat regarded as the symbol of heroism and endurance.
A seven-member government committee set up to probe the claims of the two climbers announced this week that it was accepting Pemba as the fastest climber.
A jubilant Pemba is already making plans for his next ascent. This time, he plans to create another record by staying on top for 24 hours.
However, Lhakpa is not ready to throw in the towel yet. He too is planning to summit the peak next year and best Pemba's record.