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6 O.C. climbers summit Everest, other OK

An incredible six people from Orange County summited Mount Everest during the weekend with only one local climber – the oldest American to have climbed the world’s highest mountain – being forced to turn around during a repeat attempt.

Undaunted – and rightly so – Bill Burke, 68, of Costa Mesa, proclaimed his trip a success after high winds, sub-zero temperatures and darkness prevented what he hoped would be a double summit, one from the mountain’s north side and one from the south side.

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Cindy Abbott, 51, freshens her ice climbing skills near Everest Base Camp.

In a satellite phone dispatch late Sunday night, Burke reported he was only a few hundred vertical feet from the top when he “ran out of gas.”

While disappointed, Burke made one of high altitude climbing’s toughest decisions: To turn around when he could almost taste success.

Consider what Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary once said of summiting Mount Everest: It's not about who summits. It's about who gets down.

The six climbers who did summit took the traditional southern route. Burke was on the north face, considered a tougher climb.

They included Cindy Abbott, nearly blind in one eye from a degenerative disease; John and Ryan Dahlem, .....

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