Tension at Everest over sherpa strike threat

2014-04-22 10:07
Relatives of a Mount Everest avalanche victim grieve during a cremation ceremony in Kathmandu. (Prakash Mathema, AFP)

Relatives of a Mount Everest avalanche victim grieve during a cremation ceremony in Kathmandu. (Prakash Mathema, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kathmandu - Tensions mounted on Tuesday at Everest base camp as frustrated mountaineers who have paid tens of thousands of dollars to climb the world's highest peak faced disappointment due to a strike threat by guides.

Thirteen sherpa guides were killed and another three are presumed dead after a devastating avalanche last Friday in the most deadly accident ever on the 8 848m mountain.

The guides have since asked for a pause in expeditions as a mark of respect for their fallen colleagues, and have threatened to cancel all climbing on Mount Everest from this month onwards unless the government revises their insurance limits and sets up a welfare fund.

Ed Marzec, a retired lawyer who had planned to become the oldest American to conquer Everest at the age of 67, said he had decided to abandon his mission after losing a member of his grief-stricken team.

Speaking from base camp, he said the atmosphere between some climbers and their guides was souring - even as a memorial was set to take place for those lost in the accident, which occurred just ahead of the start of the summer climbing season.

"Things are getting pretty ugly and we have a lot of young climbers keen to summit going from tent to tent, trying to convince people to put pressure on the sherpas so they don't cancel," Marzec said.

Insurance inadequate

His views were echoed in an online account by veteran mountaineer Tim Rippel, who leads expeditions with his company Peak Freaks.

"Sherpa guides are heating up, emotions are running wild," Rippel wrote on his blog. "Things are getting very complicated and there is a lot of tension here and it's growing," he wrote.

Relations between local guides and Western mountaineers hit a low last year when a brawl broke out between three European climbers and a group of sherpas.

The guides have given the government until Monday to respond to their demands, which include a request to pay $10 000 to families of the guides killed in the avalanche as well as those who were injured and are unable to resume work.

Sherpas have also asked the government to pay the medical expenses of the injured, many of whom are recovering in hospital.

The disaster has underscored the risks borne by sherpas who ascend the icy slopes, often before dawn and usually weighed down by tents, ropes and food for wealthy clients.

Sherpas earn between $3 000 to $6 000 a season, but their insurance cover is almost always inadequate when accidents happen.

More than 300 people, most of them local guides, have died on the peak since the first ascent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
Read more on:    nepal
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something is blocking the flow of things today and it is easy to become frustrated and pessimistic. The problem is that your mind...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.