Climbers safely down from Everest

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Maine mountaineers John Bagnulo and Bill Yeo safely returned to the advance base camp on the North Face of Mount Everest on Thursday following Bagnulo’s ascent of the 29,035-foot monolith.

Bagnulo of New Vineyard reached the summit of Everest at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Tibet time, he told his wife, Joanna. Thursday was his 36th birthday.

Yeo of Durham turned back before reaching the pinnacle. His wife, Julie Yeo, said Thursday afternoon that she hadn’t spoken with her husband yet and didn’t know why he halted his attempt at the world’s highest mountain.

The Sun Journal erroneously reported Thursday that Yeo reached the top with Bagnulo. The mistake was made as a result of some conflicting early reports.

Bagnulo’s wife, Joanna, told the Sun Journal by e-mail Thursday that following the climb, the men safely returned to the advance base camp.

Both men were climbing under a permit issued by the Chinese government to SummitClimb, a professional mountaineering group headed by Everest expedition leader Dan Mazur. Mazur confirmed the men’s safe return to the advance camp in a dispatch to EverestNews.com.

Bagnulo and Yeo were expected to rest at the advance camp before packing up gear and heading down to the lower base camp, almost 15 miles away.

They made the ascent accompanied much of the way by Dave Watson of Vermont, a seasoned Everest veteran. Another climber thought to be from Connecticut was with them. Only Bagnulo and Watson made it to the top, according to EverestNews.com.

The Mainers made the trip on their own, without the use of other guides, Sherpas or Tibetan porters. They’re experienced mountaineers, who have scaled peaks from Africa and South America to Alaska and the Himalayas.

Bagnulo has a doctorate in nutrition and taught has courses on the subject at the University of Maine in Farmington.

Yeo is a mountain guide and specializes in skiing and biking for L.L. Bean in Freeport.

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