KATHMANDU - A Swiss climber who vowed never to return to Mount Everest after a brawl with local Sherpa guides last season is back in Nepal to scale another peak, an official said Thursday.
Ueli Steck, a famed Swiss climber, and his team are now at the base camp of the world's tenth highest peak, the 8,091-metre (26,545-feet) Annapurna, Gyanendra Shrestha, an official at the tourism ministry, told AFP.
"He has received the permit to climb Annapurna," Shrestha said.
Steck swore in April never to return to Mount Everest after trading blows with a group of furious Nepalese guides amid a dispute over climbing rights.
"I am so disappointed and my trust is gone. I could not go back to this mountain, even though everyone says that this would not happen again," Steck told swissinfo.ch, the international arm of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.
"Who can assure me that the angry mob is not cutting my rope or burning my tent?" he said.
The guides claimed Steck, along with an Italian climber and a British photographer, ignored their request to stay in Everest base camp while ropes were fixed for commercial climbers.
But the Europeans claimed they were free to ascend since they did not need to use the ropes.
The fight shocked the mountaineering community and caused a damaging rift between Western climbers and the often lowly-paid Nepalese guides who are essential for expeditions to the crowded summit.
A blogpost published Monday on the website of the US magazine The New Yorker cited a letter from Steck describing his plans to climb Annapurna via the steep Southface wall.
"It's a safe place up there. It's good to be on a real climb. The Southface will be not crowded," Steck wrote.
Tendi Sherpa, a manager of the mountaineering agency aiding Steck, told AFP that a team of five guides was helping the climber who is expected to summit the peak by October 14.