Stripping at the top of the world

The Himalayas are abuzz with word of the first-ever striptease performed atop the highest peak in the world.

Lakpa Tharke, a 24-year-old sherpa employed by Himalayan Guides, reached the summit of Mount Everest Friday. Caught up in the excitement of the moment, Tharke peeled off layer after layer until he stood naked at 29,035 feet for roughly three minutes.

Tharke's boss, Ishwori Poudel, had to laugh.

"He didn't tell me his plan before heading to Everest. This is quite a funny thing, maybe not a good idea, but he's young and strong." said Poudel, managing director of the Himalayan Guides Nepal Trek and Expeditions.

Ang Tshering Sherpa, head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association was decidedly less amused

"It's very shocking news because Mount Everest is sacred to the Nepali people. It's not appropriate. But if he did it, it is very shocking because Sagarmatha is the goddess mother," he said, referring to the mountain by its Nepali name.

In fact Sherpa is demanding that justice be served.

"The government must enforce strict ethics for climbing."

The last time the mountain was desecrated in such carnal fashion was 1996, when a Western woman allegedly had sex at one of the camps on the mountainside. Sherpas blamed her - apparently she acted alone - for one of the worst years ever for casualties on Everest.

As more and more people scale the mountain, all the "firsts" and records are being claimed: two summits in a year; most summits lifetime; first double-amputee. Poudel is proud of his guide's ingenuity. Now he's concerned with Tharke getting the accolades and fame he so richly deserves.

"We will get the photographs after they return to Kathmandu," he said. "It is an extraordinary feat that proves how hardy Sherpas are. After we get the photographs, we will write to the Guinness authorities to claim a record."

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