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University climber's death sounds safety alarm
By Qin Chuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-06 01:36

The accidental death of a student climber has urged college mountaineers to pay more attention to safety.

A third-year student, Huang De, from Beijing's Tsinghua University, fell to his death when climbing down a mountain in Southwest China's Guizhou Province on Saturday noon.

Huang fell after a piece of rock he was using to hold on to broke off.

His companions, Wang Rongtao and Zhang Weihua, both graduates of Beijing's Peking University, and two guides dared not move any more after the fall.

One of the guides then went back to a local village for help on Saturday evening.

It was not until the next afternoon that the two trapped climbers and the other guide were rescued.

"We have reminded our climbers to pay more attention to their safety," said Sun Lin, a student working at the Tsinghua University Mountaineering Association.

Currently a team of 13 climbers, all students of Tsinghua, are in Northwest China's Qinghai Province to climb a mountain more than 6,600 metres high.

After hearing of Huang's death, the climbers held back from attempting the climb because of the potential risks.

Sun said the climbers in Qinghai are now in good spirits despite the bad news.

A source with the Peking University's Mountain Eagles Club said the club's mountaineers have not changed their plan to climb a peak of more than 6,000 metres high in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

In recent years, mountaineering has gained popularity among college students.

Students from Peking and Tsinghua, China's top two universities, have earned the most acclaim in the field.

Last July, 16 members of Peking University's Mountain Eagles Club climbed the 6,178-metre Mount Yuzhu in Qinghai Province.

Meanwhile, 14 students from the Tsinghua University Mountaineering Association reached the peak of the 6,590-metre Mount Samdain Kangsang in the Nyainqentanglha Mountains in northern Tibet.

But students' enthusiasm has been accompanied by accidents, sometimes fatal.

Five members of the Mountain Eagles Club died or were presumed dead after they were hit by an avalanche when they were trying to reach Mount Shisha Pagma's 7,292-metre western face in Tibet in August 2002.

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