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Carter climbs Nepalese mountain

KATMANDU, Nepal -- Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife ended a two-week trip to the mountain kingdom of Nepal Wednesday after braving a peak that left Secret Service agents gasping for air.

Carter, at a news conference before his departure, said the latest Soviet proposal for arms control was a starting point for negotiations between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at their summit conference in Geneva, Switzerland, next month.

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'The Soviet proposal is a good proposal on which to negotiate. Both sides must make concessions without violating their own security commitments,' Carter said in Katmandu, the capital.

Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, completed a two-week visit to the mountain kingdom Wednesday during which they climbed the 18,500-foot peak of Kalapattar. Carter called the experience the most memorable of his life.

Secret Service agents accompanying the former president had to be evacuated from the mountain suffering from altitude sickness, but the Carters stayed healthy and continued the trek.

'We never had any headaches or any other signs of altitude sickness, although most people in the group had it,' Carter said. 'It is surprising the younger and the more able were affected the most.'

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Cyclones and poor weather canceled some of the Carters' plans. The cyclones and other weather-related problems have left at least a dozen mountain climbers dead this month.

Daniel Newell, 35, a California computer consultant, was killed on Oct. 18 as he attempted to scale the 23,734-foot Langtang Lirun peak in central Nepal, the Tourist Ministry said.

The deaths of two other members of Newell's expedition, Jan Elliot Spake, 20, a California student, and their sherpa guide, Gyalgen Sherpa, 32, had been announced previously. The three had been on the mountain since Oct. 13 and decided to descend because of bad weather.

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