Mount Everest guides cancel season after avalanche.
Geege Schuman stashed this in Out of Doors
After 13 of them died (with three more missing and presumed dead) in last week's avalanche, Mount Everest's "sherpa" climbing guides will leave the mountain and shut down the 2014 climbing season before summit attempts have even begun, AFP reports.
"We had a long meeting this afternoon and we decided to stop our climbing this year to honour our fallen brothers. All sherpas are united in this," local guide Tulsi Gurung told AFP from base camp."Some guides have already left and others will take about a week to pack up everything and go," said Gurung, whose brother is among those missing after an avalanche last Friday killed 13 sherpas and left three missing and presumed dead.
Meanwhile, a piece in The New Yorker by Into Thin Air author Jon Krakauer has more details on the circumstances of the guides' grievances with the Nepalese government and the risks they take to support foreign climbers:
In 1996, for example, I made four round trips through the Khumbu Icefall: three circuits as I progressively acclimatized to twenty-four thousand feet during the month of April, and a final round trip on my journey to the 29,035-foot summit and back. I was terrified each of the eight times I moved through the frozen chaos, which usually took more than three hours to ascend, even with my nearly empty backpack, and slightly less than an hour to descend. In contrast, each of the sherpas supporting my team’s ascent was required to make something like thirty trips through the Icefall, often while carrying eighty-pound loads of food, propane, and bottled oxygen.
That sounds absolutely terrifying.
More about this tragedy: http://pandawhale.com/post/41560/the-value-of-a-sherpa-life-mountaineering-outsideonlinecom
Geege, this is so sad!
Good for them, maybe a year off from climbing Everest will give climbers some time to think, and decide how they want to go forward with the climbing of Everest.
Amen. Climbers, outfitters, and the Nepalese government - everyone who profits from the sherpas' labor.
Does anyone represent the sherpas to get them less exploited?
Grayson Schaffer, author of "The Disposable Man: A Western History of Sherpas on Everest"* has taken up their cause.
"Last June, after I’d finished reporting “Disposable Man,” the Nepalese government announced that it would double the amount of insurance that high-altitude porters were required to carry, to $11,000. But for about $200 per policy, at least one Kathmandu-based insurance company will cover Sherpas for $23,000. Even that is clearly insufficient to cover the loss. What’s left instead is a patchwork of charity, in which some families find help from climbers to send their kids to school and others don’t.
The sherpas really hold the power in this, as most can not climb without their assistance. They should control the numbers of climbers, because as the numbers of people increase, the chance of death increases for all. Maybe a lottery system, I know whatever it is, even if you try to make it fair, people will still try to sell their permits for top dollar, maybe they could be issued in the drawees name only, and would be returned to the pot, if you can't go? Anyway, it should be the people from the areas choice, at how they see best to set up a system that is fair, and safe :)
Thanks Geege and Janill. That gives me hope.