SA Everest climb cancelled

2014-04-24 15:55

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South African mountaineers Saray Khumalo and Sibusiso Vilane have been forced to abandon their expedition up Mount Everest.

Khumalo posted an update on the Ubuntu Everest Facebook page today to say that the expedition had officially been cancelled.

“We have two options, come back home immediately or consider doing another mountain before we return.”

The mountaineers intend to climb another mountain because they have already acclimatised to the high altitude.

“They say the mountain is open, but it certainly is not safe for any of us to attempt it this year,” Khumalo, who sought to be the first black woman to summit Everest, said.

On Friday, an ice avalanche killed 13 Nepalese guides about 500m from Vilane and Khumalo, who were at base camp. There was concern that another avalanche could follow.

Khumalo said the Nepalese tourism minister went to the mountain today.

“Sherpas presented their demands and at the end threatened to stone the minister if he did not sign their petition.”

Ubuntu Everest also posted an update from mountaineer Alan Arnette.

He said that, from his own experiences and judgment, there were three reasons for the Everest 2014 season from Nepal being halted.

These were the hazard of further avalanches, the importance of paying respect to those killed in the avalanche and the Sherpa people of eastern Nepal, who regard the mountain as sacred.

In addition, Sherpa guides were dissatisfied with the pay they received and the compensation given to the families of those killed.

“Threats were made to Sherpas who didn’t agree to stop climbing – threats against them and their families,” Arnette said.

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