PEKING -- An American woman climber attempting a previously unclimbed route up Mt. Everest plunged to her death 3,000 feet from the summit, the Chinese Mountaineering Association said Saturday.
Quoting a cable from the Everest base camp, the association said Marty Hoey, 30, of New York City, fell and died May 15 as she was approaching the U.S. expedition's sixth advance camp at 26,600 feet.
The fall occurred on thA spokesman for a Northwest group backing the expedition said the victim most recently was a resident of Tacoma, Wash., and had been a professional mountain guide for Rainier Mounteering Inc. But a second and final try for the summit was scheduled for Monday, the cable said.
The expedition, which represents the Rainer Mountaineering Inc. of Washington state, is attempting to become the first group to scale Everest along the 'Great Couloir' (gully) on the mountain's north side in China.
If successful, the Americans would also be one of the few expeditions to conquer Everest from its Chinese side. Chinese groups in 1960 and 1975 and a Japanese team in 1980 have been the only successful climbers.
Chinese mountaineering officials said after Ms. Hoey's fall, the expedition leader, Lou Whittaker, 56, of Seattle, Wash., descended to base camp at 18,500 feet and reported the fatality on May 19.
Whittaker's cable also said the entire expedition was expected to return to the base camp by May 30, before seasonal high winds and heavy snowfall make climbing impossible.
The other expedition members are: Jim Wickwire, 43, of Seattle; Phil Ershler, 30, of Bellevue, Wash.; Eric Simonson, 27, of Tacoma, Wash.; George Dunn, 29, of Seattle; Edward G. Hixson, 40, of Saranac Lake, N.Y.; Daniel Boyd, 30, of Seattle; Joe Horskey, 30, of Seattle; Gary Isaacs, 30 of Long Beach, Calif.; Dave Mahre, 54, of White Pass, Wash.; Larry Nielson, 33, of Olympia, Wash.; Tracy Roberts of Seattle; Nawang Gombu, of Darjeeling, India; Dick Bass of Colo.; Frank Wells of Coronodo, Calif.; and photographer Steve Marts.
A British and a Soviet expedition are also climbing Everest, and latest reports said both groups were approaching the peak.