Everest 2013: Discussion

As an experiment, I have created this page for those who would like to have a civil discussion on Everest items. However, please review these are the rules:

A valid email is required for all comments. All comments are welcome and will be moderated. I reserve the right to remove any content I deem knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually-oriented, threatening, invasive of a person’s privacy, or otherwise violative of any law at my discretion and without notification. All spam and non-authorized business solicitations will be removed. I reserve the right to block any user without notification. In other words, be nice.

The topic most people want to discuss is the Simone Moro conflict with the Sherpas. I moved all previous comments on this topic to this page.

These links are for your convenience:

Sherpa Interview

Climber Press Releases and Interviews

Professional Mountain Guides and Operators

Professional Climbers

Climbing Industry

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146 thoughts on “Everest 2013: Discussion

  1. Can enough be said about Everest?

    Is the kind of stuff happening on Everest even remotely associated with what we call climbing or alpinism? I would say no, but thats just me… I can’t find words to describe what I feel about this… I only note that through out history, Everest has always been a place of excessive consumerism.

    Some time have now passed since the distinguished trio got kicked off the mountain after trying to do some real alpine climbing. Many have commented on the events and this is just an other post about the Everest shit show. I found it quite interesting to read Russell Brice defensive comments on his corporate website and I think it reflects the Everest industry sentiment.

    In all its glory and rich history Everest stands tall but the history of true alpine climbing is limited to a few sporadic moments barley remembered and not that well known to the larger audience.

    Many of us who dedicate time to climbing mountains don’t care that much about Everest. It’s been a lost cause for a long time and the recent event just proves the point that Everest is Babylon*. The sad state of affairs on the mountain dates back to the era of national pride, where any means to reach the summit was accepted as long as the flag of a sovereign state would feature on the summit picture.

    Why would any one want to go to Everest?

    Given the history of Everest and the fact that Everest is not a mountaineers mountain, I think its relevant to ask why such a distinguished trio of outstanding alpinists chose to go to Everest?

    I think most of us agree that the Himalayas is full of much more attractive mountains on which to open cutting edge lines. We can hike up virtually any valley in the greater ranges and be bombarded with amazing unclimbed lines of much better quality compared to what one can find on Everest. And all the unclimbed objects come with the added benefit of lacking annoying and violent crowds. I con only speculate and that is pointless.

    Cash is king

    Are today’s money making tour operators on Everest taking the same kind of social, environmental and economical responsibilities as we take for granted in any other normal business? Can IMG, AAI, JG, Global Adventure, Arun, Peak Freaks, Himex, Astrek, Miura and Seven Summits, show that they are not just shamelessly exploiting the Everest region for profits? My guess is that the answer is a big fat no. And this is, in my opinion, probably the single most frustrating issue with the concept pre packed guided trips to the Everest region.

    Is this not the real reason behind the recent lynching of the Trio?

    It’s a common misperception that Everest tourism is bringing in significant income to Nepal as a country. However, not a single major guiding company operating on Everest is incorporated and based in Nepal and therefore not paying corporate taxes and taking real corporate social and environmental responsibility in Nepal. If you sign up with Chamonix based HIMEX for an Everest expedition you will be instructed to pay for your trip up the tallest mountain in the world to a bank account at UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland) in Geneva.

    In real economical terms only a tiny fraction of what a western member pays for his Everest expedition is actually spent in Nepal to the benefit of not only the high altitude Sherpa’s but also the country (UN economical data on GDP revenue sources in Nepal). Its so marginal that one might be able to argue that a team of four attempting Annapurna IV in alpine style might actually be a bigger or at least an equal net contributor to the economy in Nepal. How ever it should be mentioned as pointed out to me that teh peak fee is going to the Government of Nepal.

    A few high altitude Sherpa’s and their families in the Khumbu valley have no doubt benefitted from the hype on Everest in the short term and that’s great for them. But the real question is whether the Everest game is a sustainable way of doing business? Is the whole commercial guiding culture (operators and Sherpas) of greed to be blamed for the lynching of the trio? I think so.

    One mountain but not for every one…

    The events that played out at 7200 metes tells me only one thing, it’s all about the members need and in order to retain members and get a job as a high altitude Sherpa you need to perform. The guided trips and package tours take precedence over any other ambitions present at Everest. John Griffith is reporting that an influential individual (I speculate Russell Brice) has demanded that every issued Everest Permit should come with the condition that no one is allowed to climb above rope fixing Sherpas. That would be one of the single most tragic developments in mountaineering history. If this becomes the reality I guess its only a question of time before this will spread to neighboring Nuptse and Lhotse not to mention Ama Dablam etc. etc.

    Deal with the real issues

    When discussing the Everest issues, lets be honest and transparent. Its about money and business. Its guiding companies lobbying for the future of their business. If this issue was isolated to Everest its might be containable, but when browsing the web looking through the commercial outfitters offerings I notice that I can get dragged up a rarely climbed route on Ama Dablam, the SW Ridge on Cholatse and from the looks of it, even Nuptse is now on the menu. It’s a disaster in motion and something has to be done about this development.

    Russell Brice, HIMEX posted this:
    “We are right on schedule and the ropes on Mount Everest have been fixed all the way to the South Col at 7,900m while the ropes are only 150m short of the summit of Lhotse. The Himex Sherpas also used the low-wind-period and fixed the route on Nuptse all the way to 7,400m.”
    Source: Himalayan Experience

    I think its essential that the people involved in today’s commercial circus on Everest and its surrounding peaks in the Khumbu region take a hard look at what they are doing to the area. They exploit the area for profit and other dubious reasons. Its time to shift to a sustainable business model that is for the real benefit Nepal on a macro level and allow every aspiring alpinist space on the mountains. After all they are mountains and not an amusement park.

    * According to http://www.urbandictionary.com Babylon is used to indicate a strong and powerful, yet corrupted and immoral place.

    1. Well articulated argument. It seems that the risk of injury and death has shifted from the added perils of true Alpine climbing, (without the fixed ropes and other aids) in which the climber was much more skilled at his craft and pushed the envelope to achieve the goal. Today, the risk is just as much about the idea that the skill, preparation, planning and execution are lessened leading to perils that Alpinists may be respectful of but find mundane.

      David, you cover a number of subjects and possibly hint at more issues. Wish your voice would have been conveyed here during the event.

  2. This is a good old-fashioned turf war is it not? I’ve experienced this in pretty much every atavistic culture I have visited. It especially comes to a head when foreigners are involved and xenophobia, which is not considered a bad thing in atavistic cultures like Nepal, come into play.

    The Sherpas believe that they own the mountain. Why? Because its “their turf.”

    Spend a day in any city in Suth Asia and you will see the same sort of behaviour openly displayed. Greed, jealousy, and territorial thinking dominate any coveted asset.

  3. Alan,
    I have enjoyed your Everest coverage for many years. You really do a great job of mixing both clear, factual reporting and your thoughtful reflection in every post.
    My question has to do with pronunciation. While I read your posts I often wonder about the proper pronunciation for the names and places you mention in your posts. Do you know any resources for how to pronounce the various names all of the Nepali villages, mountains, and people? (ex: villages: Tengboche, Pheriche, etc. mountains: Kangchenjunga, Cho Oyu, Nuptse, Lohtse, etc. names: Tshering, Gyalzen, Lhakpa, etc) Thanks!

  4. Hello Alan and fellow Everest aficionados,

    Having been a rock climber (technical) for 20yrs, and a self-diagnosed gear whore, I find the equipment and personal gear planning for Everest, a bit fascinating. I’ve followed Chad Kellog’s speed attempts in the past and am hoping he kicks some butt this year.
    So I was looking at the OR site where it lists Chad’s selection of gear.

    Having only limited ice and snow experience, I’m wondering if someone can explain the gear selection. My particular interest is in the selection of crampons listed for him.

    >”Base Camp to Camp 2: YakTrax XTR rubber slip on traction device for running shoes”

    I kind of understand this, he’s going for speed, but is he really doing this section in running shoes?

    >”Camp 2 to Camp 4: Black Diamond Contact crampons
    Camp 4 to Summit: Black Diamond Sabretooth crampons”

    This selection is a real curiosity to me. I’m guessing that it has to do with route conditions for those sections, but I’d assume that the more rugged Sabretooth (12pt) would be the better choice for the Lotse face. The difference in weight is about 115g, the contact being lighter. Other than that, huh? Okay somebody enlighten me.

    And thanks Alan for keeping this updated. It’s a great repository of information if anyone should ever get an itch they can’t scratch (below 26,000 ft).
    Be Safe, Live Long, Climb Hard

    1. My guess Rick is he is shaving off every gram. The crampon choice has a lot to do with the ice conditions. YakTrax makes sense to me for EBC-C2 and the Sabertooths were what I used the entire way but completely agree with using them above the South Col where it is steeper. Personally I would use the on the Lhotse Face but then again, I was not running 🙂 I think some of the other professional climbers also did these same sections in shoes other than mountaineering boots so it is not completely unheard of.

      1. Thanks Alan,

        Reading your route description again, I see that the area from the slabs to the south summit is steeper than the Lhotse face by a bit. I guess it actually make sense. That route above the south col is rockier (and steeper) than the face, yes?

        I can’t imagine doing it in anything other than mountaineering boots. Well, I guess I could as long as conditions were right.

  5. Love your site and blog Alan. It’s very well done and run. I think you do a great service for a lot of people. Top job.

    An interesting read from Russell Brice from Himex that you put up a link to. Unfortunately it seems (to me anyway) to have some of the same tone as of the other teams. What I mean is an understandable yet unfortunate glossing over of the violence and an attempt to find excuses. A little subjective? I guess it’s hard being objective in the middle of an Everest expedition.

    “there were a few rough words uttered by Simone Moro that were not appreciated by the Sherpas, and understandably made them angry.”

    But then again, who wouldn’t swear at someone who’s attached to the line and allegedly very nearly nocks you off while you’re not. Then allegedly tells you off for hanging on to him for dear life and waves a ice axe at you and your colleague?

    “the Sherpas’ response was certainly somewhat over the top and some of their reactions were probably unnecessary.”

    Mmm, yes I guess the masked mob was “somewhat” over the top and “some of their reactions” such as the stoning, death threats, punching and kicking and attempted murder was “probably unnecessary”.

  6. Alan, in your overview page “Moro/Sherpa Conflict Coverage”, Mike Hamill’s accusations are listed as “first hand report”.
    Not only it is not a “first hand report (a judge would never call Hamill to testify, but Melissa and Chad instead), but also highly manipulative in structure and content. In my opinion it should not even be listed as an opinion piece on your site, since it contains accusations and arguments that are blatantly wrong and some even may have legal consequences.

    This already begins with the manipulative title: “An Unfortunate Event: Inciting Violence on the Lhotse Face”. I hope you make it very clear that what happened on Camp 2 (the “unfortunate event” according to Mike Hamill) has absolute no justification. (Nor is a “keyed radio” a justification for that matter).

    Rather than separating the reports and opinions by professional groups, I would personally find it useful in order to avoid any type of confusion and foster constructive discussion to divide the reports and opinions by

    * Directly Involved Climbers/Sherpa Press Releases and Interviews

    * Real First Hand Reports of Lhotse face and Camp2 events (no reports here of somebody that reports what an unnamed Sherpa or climber has said to him)

    * Opinion pieces on the specific “fight” – event (Lhotse and/or Camp2) and its causes

    * Opinion pieces on the general situation (and future) of climbing on Mt. Everest

    and No listing of opinions that are clearly manipulative in character, even if from professional guides or expedition (co)leaders.

  7. “I had initially thought it would pass over simply attributed as climbers behaving badly, but with the severity, it seems to have created a serious injury on the Everest industry.”

    How does assault and attempted murder pass over?

    How could anyone looking at this objectively put it simply down to bad behaviour of the victims, which takes all responsibility and liability away from the attackers, in fact justifying their actions?

    This may have caused a serious injury to the Everest industry, but it very nearly caused serious injury or worse to 3 innocent people. It’d put people lives over the industry any day.

    1. To be clear, I do not condone any of the violence or any of the disrespect. period. Full stop.

      The timing of my thought was on first report of a fight on the Lhotse face and not of the violence at C2.

  8. Alan Arnette says:
    May 1, 2013 at 8:10 am .Hi Martin, not sure which comments you are disappointed with, but in this post I think the the ones you reference are from AAI Guide from Garrett Madison and they are just as valid as Chad’s in my opinion.

    Alan, really hate to dwell on this subject, and it is going to be my last post concerning this negative situation, but I really want to hear your expert opinion and feedback. I think now, it is safe to say, Garrett Madison’s comments are totally INVALID. He has made a total joke out of himself, clearly acting in self interest and posting false information.

  9. truly sad to hear abt another people death again.

    now, briefly to sherpa fight incendent. i just come across to point of view from Denis Urubko on his blog giving somewhat sharp truth analyses why this might has happened. very emotional, and without western politically corrected wording. guess it would be unpleasant to those who try to absolve in every possible way violence of sherpas. though google translation is terrible hope it still gives right meaning.

    1. You can see a manually translated version of Urubko’s opinion piece at this link. I don’t think he will help solve much by calling the Sherpas “pigs”


      Another opinion piece was issued today from IMG Sr. Guide Mike Hammill who arrived at C2 on the 28th (the rest day after the fight) during which time he talked to many up there about what had happened.


      1. Alan,

        Great blog! I enjoy following all the angles and various adventures, at whatever level. It is always sad to hear of injuries and death. Prayers to all involved. Good on Moro for the heli support.

        Regarding the Urubko piece, while much may be lost in translation, he is very straight forward and the gist is clear. With all his experience, his observations surely must carry significant weight.

        His reference to “pigs” is aimed at the locals who were urinating and exposing their genitals to him and his partner as they approached base camp.

        He also states early on some basic sociological tendencies:

        “Locals, when they’re in crowd ( or group) absolutely lose frameworks of decencies and care. The impunity multiplied by confidence of forces in the «home territory», breaks last restrictions.”

        He follows up with:

        “«to rat» in one hundred small details”, (I.e. news, however accurate, travels fast in tight groups. Reference the attitude shown toward Bolokov and him down valley.)

        He also refers to the ringleaders as “rascals” and calls the group involved in the assault as “The cattle which waved knifes and stones in Camp 2,”. Obviously tying into his theme of group / herd behavior.

        Cheers, Doug

      2. No, it will not solve much by calling them “pigs”, but in this case it is true. At least Urubko has the courage to call it like he sees it, without any of the “political correctness” that only tends to diffuse the severity of serious situations, and not present them in their real light. That “banana republic” or whatever contract they signed at base camp won’t solve much either. You have essentially had an attempted murder x 3 situation here, and these guys are signing some make believe contract that is supposed to make everyhing OK overnight. Seriously???

          1. He disrespected me (or at least I perceived it as such), so we did him. Sounds more like urban gangland than highly paid guides and employees. The disrespect goes both ways. If the attackers had any respect for professional climbers who they don’t earn any money from they would have behaved very differently. The whole thing smells of a power play, that’s worked.

      3. I did read all the accounts presented here, and honestly, this another report, this time from guide Mike Hammel (who was not present there and obviously arrived at site only next day after and took info from others) looks somewhat biased. there one may find some inaccuracy and contradiction to common sense if you like. for the start he says “ueli descented and grabbed sherpa”. how could he descend if he apparently was below the lead sherpa and yet was unropped? it even difficult imagine that unroped climber would be heading down to “fight” with roped sherpa. such climber would of been insane then. secondly he claims the climbers when traversing were “causing injury”. this statement also looks untrue as the sherpa who got some injury to his face later admitted he just slipped himself on ice causing this injury to himself. further, speaking of events in camp 2, he says, some westerner “landed a first blow against sherpa”. we all know from all other accounts that this westerner was only trying to kick off stone from sherpa hands, and yet again it rather difficult to imagine the guy wanted to start fight against 100-sherpa mob.
        and finaly, no need to speculate here whether were they allowed to climb face or not. they obviously were not prohibited to do so at first place and everyone knows they ascended separately 50 or so meters. aside. the most and perhaps the only bad mistake Simone did was swearing at Sherpa. He is long time there and should have known or predicted what reaction or consequences might be in such case.
        personally, the incindent left me with feeling that it rather team leaders and their sirdars should take large part of responsibility and blame for what happened.

      4. I’m disappointed in the comments from the senior guides and team leaders. It appears those that have commented so far do little much more than to appease. This is understandable but I don’t think it’s excusable, as what happened should be unacceptable and condemned by those who employ and take customers on the mountain, even if they are so very much reliant on those hired and the smooth running of things. Every comment I’ve read from a team leader etc. has described it as an unfortunate incident, not a terrible act. No condemnation for the attack. Gross glossing over the worst of the violence. I understand that the commercial guides want to get their customers up and down the mountain safely and for that they need the same employees that were part of the masked mob and smooth relations with them. But at what cost? Mob rule. Westerners led the line fixing attempt the day before the violence and friction was already there as a result. It was speculated that some western climbers may try to summit with or behind the line fixing team to the summit but now climbers are commenting that after the violence they dare not. Sad and wrong. If it were the commercial guides’ members who were attacked it would be interesting to see the team leaders’ reactions. But these were independent hot shots, so it seems that’s different. Different rules, different morality.

  10. Well have to say,have read this blogg for several years,my daughter teaches climbing.As far as Iam concerned the western climbers disrespected the sherpas,even disrespected them in Nepali,climbing fast without oxygen but with no regard to others,Everest and the sherpas will be here forever,respect means everything.Chris

  11. I followed the link to Himalayan Ascent owner’s blog, as you suggested.
    I read the whole thing and it seems to me quite similar to Garrett Madison’s report, especially in style. I won’t say my opinion again, but this sentence struck me and I cannot refrain myself to copy it here:
    “The fixing team threw rocks at the tent to get the group to come out.”

    So we learn some rocks were thrown, but just to invite people out their tents. May I suggest North Face to equip their tents with doorbells in the future, very useful on higher camps? Ok well sorry, couldn’t refrain.

    I appreciate that you have put together reports from different perspectives, you may want to consider this link as well, even though it’s not an eye witness report, it’s in Russian – or you have an automatic translation:

    thank you

    1. Max, thank you for the link to the Russian climber’s blog. I found it intriguing, relevant and a rare voice from someone there that doesn’t have vested interests and can, dares to speak their mind. I would love to read a properly translated version as all too often the automatic translation comes up well short.

      1. My bad, the (as described by Planet Mountain and others) super Kazakh climber Denis Urubko is of Russian decent.
        “The independent team of Denis Urubko and Alexei Bolotov are preparing to make their attempt at a new route along the Southwest Ridge. Russian Climb reports that the duo are now up near 8000 meters (26,246 ft) and keeping an eye on the weather. Alexei is reportedly sick however, so we’ll have to wait to see if his will endanger the expedition. The two men are climbing in alpine style and without bottled oxygen, which of course requires them to be in top form.”

  12. In addendum to your previous post in regards to “in the Sherpas defense”.

    I perceive the Western commercial guiding companies and possibly the associated heads of Nepali based trekking agencies entirely have their interests at heart in this one.

    They are entirely propagandizing this situation by using the generalized squeaky-clean image of the Sherpa guiding community to guilt the public and wrongfully victimize those who were assaulted in this uprising. Here is some probable evidence from a dispatch from one of the main guiding companies and it coincides with Chad Kellogg’s report. It also lays out who organized the route fixing and what companies had their Sherpas take part in this assignment. Therefore, if those 16 Sherpas who were fixing the lines were the most probable instigators of this event, then potentially the companies associated with those Sherpas ultimately hold the smoking gun.

  13. I’ve got video (unreleased) from that day at 6400M of a very large rock being tossed by one human being at another. I also listened and recorded the radio dispatches that afternoon. No one should have the right to toss a rock that can kill or seriously harm another. A woman screaming, men pleading, others on their knees begging? Yes, they should have been more respectful, yes there are all kinds of other issues that go deeper than the incident at C2, but to respond in this manner? I’ve seen 7 year old’s behave better. I’m ashamed to say I am climbing Everest.

  14. The sad part to this entire account is that the focus on the 2013 climbing will be in this event and not the summits. Uli must not be in any shape to climb mentally or physically if he has abandoned the alpine attempt via a new route after getting his acclimatization rotations in and was getting ready for an early summit. Sounds like the hero of the day as mentioned above was Melissa.

  15. Wow, this must be the most commented post on Alan’s site.
    I’ve never been higher than 23,000, but know this: at altitude I get super irritable. Things that would make me laugh at sea level might make me pretty mad there. Hence, when I go to altitude now I keep thinking, this is just the altitude, chill out. You would think professional climbers from Europe and Nepal learned this much before me.
    The events sort of reminds me of big marathons. There are world class pros (with or without world class egos), a lot more weekend warriors and a bunch of organizers who need to keep both of those happy. Everest climbing looks similar sans the dedicated organizers.
    Also, funny how the Nepalese collect huge fees, mandate liaisons, yet these liaisons did not sound like played any real role in mediating the resolution.

  16. Oh, and “elite” climbers who spend a fortune to reach this goal might think about taking their tons of trash off Everest when they leave. I guess litter only matters when it’s your own country? Or does this not matter to climbers whatsoever? Everybody “shares” the mountain and nobody “shares” the cleanup, is that correct? The next bit should look at how 10 tons of trash impacts the climbing community and then look at the sad state of garbage left there from the eyes of the Nepalese. The mountain is a sacred place.

  17. The western climbing teams are entirely missing the point. And if the western group went on the “fix” the rope that very day, I would question their intent. The mountain is sacred to the Nepalese and the climbing warriors. You have no idea. Their love isn’t about achievement or conquest or a notch on an alpinist’s rope. Pay attention, you all might learn something truly valuable about life and love.

  18. Alan;

    I am generally fully on board with your comments and blog, but here I think you are way, way off!!!! Your account was solely based on speculation and opinion, like the majority of others, and I think you clearly jumped the gun, again, like everyone else. I hate to say it, but, I never grouped you with the New York Times, but here, you do not leave me a choice. I have held back my comments for a few days to not jump to any conclusions, and see what transpires from eyewitness accounts, and let more opinions flow in before making any judgment calls. Cannot find anything even close to justify the actions of the Sherpas. NOT. EVEN. CLOSE!!!!! Sherpa or no Sherpa, respect or no respect, we are all human, so again, I repeat, NOT. EVEN. CLOSE!!!!! Especially after reading Chad Kellog’s account. Extremely sad to see Ueli Steck leave the mountain, and from what I undersdand, saying that he will never return again. Big words from a world class alpinist at the top of his game. From his posts, one thing is clear, he had a dream, and it was taken away from him, unjustly. That expedition, along with Denis Urubko are the only two expeditions this year that probably still give Everest any cred.

    PEMBA: Extremely, extremely disappointed with your comments!!! You have definitely dropped down a few class levels in my book, and I have always held you in high regard. You were always world class in my book, but now I question that. With comments like that, it is clear that only, and only “commerm” is in your interest, and not alpinism, and your credibililty has dropped down from world class to regional level, as I like to classify it. Nothing wrong with that, nothing at all. I do feel that commerm does have it’s right place in the high mountains, especially the Himalaya. But at the same time, please do not discredit TRUE Alpinists, such as Artur Hajzer.

    Again PEMBA, you are quoted saying, “Every action is a reaction. The sherpas would not go and fight like other punks. You all need to know the reality up there.”

    If anyone knows the reality up there, it is ARTUR HAJZER, and like he stated above, and has been presented in numerous accounts, there was no action whatsoever, that justified that type of a reaction from the Sherpas. A MOB of 75-100, come on!!!

    You (PEMBA) are also referenced above talking to him (ARTUR) about the use of oxygen and being blacklisted off a mountain. Seriously????????? A Sherpa saying someone should be blacklisted off a mountain.????

    The quote is “Sounds like that european climber guy is very stubborn and has no respect of Local Sherpas. He also has been causing trouble with oxygen last year which also deals with others life. ”
    “That guy hardly looks straight and talks to the camera on cbs interview. He is trying to gain his publicity. That guy should be on black list”

    Extremely dissappointed to hear something like that from you. First off, publicity wise, I do not think ARTUR HAJZER needs to do anything as far as publicity goes, even if he stopped climbing today. Feel free to reference his resume, and you will find a true alpinist, not someone who goes up the standard route of Everest 15 times, and proceeds to call himself an alpinist. Standard route on Everest, by today’s standars is NOT even close to alpinism. Oxygen wise, that’s a mute point. If you need oxygen, you do not deserve to be there, PERIOD. Go climb a 6,000-7,000 meter peak.

    ROSS!!!! Take those suggestions to heart!!! Do your homework first before posting and wasting everybodys time with an uneducated post like that. I think everyone on this forum is on a level that they should know who Artur Hajzer is, if not, you shuld probably not be posting and wasting everyone elses time with senseless and uneducated comments. The mountaineering community has received enough embarassment in the last 3 days to last 3 years.

    Good comments MAX!!!!


    1. Hi Martin, not sure which comments you are disappointed with, but in this post I think the the ones you reference are from AAI Guide from Garrett Madison and they are just as valid as Chad’s in my opinion.

  19. What nobody seems to have taken into account is Human Nature. On occasion, Men will fight. This is nothing unusual. Anywhere, a bar, football pitch or even neighbours arguing about a garden fence. It has always happened and always will. The fact that it has happened in such an unusual stage doesn’t change this fact.

  20. Sorry, but calling this “The Sherpas Viewpoint” (sic) sticks in my craw. Which Sherpas? The rope fixers on the face? The mob at Camp 2? At basecamp? The Sherpa people in general? To lump all of these together is absurd: at least one Sherpa was apparently assaulted by others, many are no doubt mortified about what happened, and many don’t really know what the truth is any more than other observers.
    I agree it’s a shame that we don’t have first hand accounts from Sherpa who were there, but this is no substitute. It is the viewpoint of a commercial guide with a heavy interest in the status quo. Sure, it makes excuses for the behaviour of some Sherpa (in a patronising way – they’re hot-blooded young men who need to be better controlled by their employers) but only as part of a spin which doesn’t contradict many facts of the Moro/Steck/Griffith story, but omits many elements in an attempt to downplay the seriousness of the assault at Camp 2, and explain away the whole episode as the consequence of their failure to go to a rope fixing meeting or follow some unwritten rules agreed by commercial guides. That’s an analysis that seems to have very little to do with Sherpa grievances, but a lot to do with `business as usual’ for the Everest industry.

  21. Sorry, in my eyes the comments arguing like “Moro should have been at the meeting, followed the (unwritten rule) and stayed off the face while the fixing team was under way” aren’t acceptable.

    They basically mean commercial outfitters – only working on behalf on their own profit – now are setting the law on the mountain (of course “unwritten”) everybody has to follow, even if the lines aren’t needed by skilled alpinists. (Ueli Steck, in his last book, describes Everest as “ski pole terrain” – if you see him soloing Eiger North Face in under three hours, you know this is surely true for him). It’s simply obnoxious blocking complete mountain faces for commercial reasons.

    This complies with news from Jon Griffith’s report:

    “A very influential character (sorry no names right now) has asked the Ministry of Tourism to have written on every permit that climbers are not allowed to climb before the fixing team. If this happens it means the only way you can climb Everest is by climbing in a nice big track and on fixed lines with tons of people. It also means that any teams who want to climb something (in alpine style) apart from the Normal Route will not be able to acclimatise in advance before their ascent. It is insane, but it shows the attitude towards this mountain.”

    From http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68025

    You may guess yourself who this “very influential character” might be. There are surely incredibly courageous guides on the way with the commercial expeditions – only to name Melissa Arnot and Marty Schmidt – but there are also villains (reading of “High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed” by M. Kodas recommended).

    There’s clearly a clash of two climbing cultures here and it’s delivered on the sherpa’s back.

    Therefore I cant’t either approve of opinions like: Now lets make peace, get quickly over it and return to the daily agenda.

    This conflict has been simmering a long time and it won’t go away by shoving it under the carpet.

  22. But is this the Sherpas’ viewpoint? The piece is written by Garrett Madison “expedition leader for Alpine Ascents (AAI)”. a better title would be “the Commercial Expeditions Viewpoint and Interpretation of the incident”.

    Alan, this correction is not aimed at you but at the original author of the post. It was wise and fair of you to include it as it was.


  23. Everest for pure alpinists is dead and nothing but a cash cow for big expedition teams! It was once a dream of mine but slowly as the years have passed this has diminished. Its time the Chinese (who have the money) build a pressure sealed cable car to the top and complete the circus that Everest has become.

    Like most have mentioned, Moro didn’t need to be at that meeting, he didn’t have to wait, his permit is as good as anyone’s on the mountain. And if I was Moro I would take my rescue chopper and skills to a country where it would be appreciated.

    I just hope Denis Urubko and Alexey Bolotov don’t complete their new route and summit before the rope fixing Sherpa or they may also be stoned and made to beg for being on a summit before any others and for breaking “unwritten rules”!!

  24. hey Garett,
    Thanks for clarifying this. I met you in Mount vinson base camp and I thought of you as the smoothest guide around.
    This post is very important as it shows the other side of the story.

  25. This is brilliant. I just love reading all the post. We need this. Its funny how bad things bring good thing. Please keep posting.

  26. Ngima Sherpa is coming to stay with us in Kettering in June.I hope he enjoys our culture as much as I have enjoyed his during my trekking in the Khumbu with him.Let,s hope this sad chapter is soonforgotten.

  27. Afterall…IT IS THE MOUNTAIN that brings the Sherpa and Climber together to attain one goal!

  28. What has happened is unfortunate but all in the past. Respect for Mt Chomolungma is the bottom line and should be the basis for both Climber and Sherpa!

  29. It’s good to hear, other side story, I believe Sherpas would never initiate such act as mentioned in western media.

  30. Dear Alan,
    Thank you so much for sharing this article. being a Nepali, i don’t want these conflicts to occur in Nepal with our guests. and the news published on http://www.planetmountain.com ( one of my friend in India who was closely reading updates of the climbers shared the news on her facebook) made me sad and worried about the 3 climbers. but at the same time, the news didn’t have the other side of the story so i was waiting for some news on Sherpas and how it got so intense that they had to fight for their existence or ego. now i’m clear about that had happened. Thank you once again.


  31. So they had to cross the rope to get to their camp at Camp 3 and later went down to confront the sherpa at Camp 2? Which camp did they want to be at….?

    I’m sorry but clearly the western climbers had something to do with instigating the fight.

    1. It is common for climbers to climb to a high camp and then decent to a lower camp to sleep during their acclimatization. In this case, the sherpas dropped the ropes in a fit of anger and went down after the encounter near camp 3. These guys went ahead and finished the rope fixing job because they didn’t want to get blamed for the delays, which must have set off the offending sherpas even more. If you had read any of the accounts of the accident you would have known that.

      1. John, I can read. My point is that if they touched a high point and turned around without crossing the rope, this may have been avoided. If after the initial aggression, they stayed at the camp at camp 3 previously established (yay literacy), tempers likely would have cooled by morning.

        The crux of this is what was said on the radio and a lot of people would have heard that. If you’ve read the above, you’ll concur. If the climbers provoked a fight, they can’t cry about being in one.

    1. This indeed sounds very nasty and most of this is seemingly not hearsay. I don’t really know what exactly happened, but no matter what spin you put on the Sherpas’ side of the story, their violent behaviour as described here, is a disgrace.

      1. Thanks, this is indeed facts reported from a guy who was there, and it matches Moro, Steck and Griffith dispatches.

  32. No time for personalities or pettiness when you are up there. I hope the people reunite and make peace and they summit the mountain as planned. Good luck 2013 climbers and Sherpas, be grateful for what you have.

    1. “…and Sherpas, be grateful for what you have.”

      Really? I’m all for acknowledging both sides in an expedition, especially when questions of labour and economics are raised, but *be grateful*? How utterly patronizing.

      1. @T-danza: Rhonda didnt just mean that to SHERPA…Look carefully, read again and then comment, It says “Good luck 2013 climbers and Sherpas, be grateful for what you have”

        They fought up there, for whatever reason, Why fight here arguing?

  33. Alan once again you’ve come up trumps good Sir!! So Moro wasn’t present at the meeting held re fixing the ropes on Lhotse and hence didn’t know of the protocols set. Well I am led to believe he is a a veteran of the mountain and as such should he not know the unwritten rule? Or is he just so arrogant that he thinks he can ignore these protocols? Here is a piece from Tim Mosedale’s blog which is the way everyone should behave “Everyone had a great night and them we had an early start to go for a walk towards The Lhotse Face. Again everyone was in fine fettle and we quickly gained altitude and stopped for a rest at 6,700m. We could see the Climbing Sherpas fixing ropes on the face but didn’t venture up as we’d only get in the way”. Those my dear friends are the magic words “We Didn’t Venture Up As WE’D ONLY GET IN THEIR WAY!!” And to all who say that they helped to finish with the fixing of the rope,so the Sherpas are meant to be grateful that someone is now trying to do their job eh?! In the UK when the workmen carry out road repairs,we close an extra lane of the roadway to protect them and also put in a temporary speed restriction. It’s slow and inconvenient getting through these sections, but we obey, cos we believe its there for a reason which is to protect the workforce. Why do some people think it’s any different on Everest? Why should a Sherpa have to take abuse from Moro on the Lhotse face?

    1. You are confused. The rope-fixing meeting doesn’t involve alpine climbers who don’t use the ropes, it is for commercial guides to coordinate the work since their members will be using the ropes. Simone and co had no reason to be in the meeting nor to abide with any “protocols” those commercial companies may have installed among themselves. As a matter of fact, none of the leaders of those companies would have expected these climbers to care about their meeting.

      Also by all accounts, the climbers chose a path 50m away from the sherpas in order to make sure they don’t bother them, but they had to traverse the line to get to their camp which is when sherpas started to engage them.

      1. John Scale, yes these climbers were going up alpine style,but they did this whilst the Sherpas were fixing the lines in what I believe is the most dangerous section of the already a very taxing Lhotse face. I haven’t yet been to Everest,nor am I a mountaineer yet(I start training in June) but I understand that the Lhotse face is a steep incline of blue hard ice,which would surely require the alpine style climbers to dig their crampons in harder? A result of which could mean dislocating a piece of ice and endangering the people doing a very precarious job below? John you may be an expert elite climber,I don’t know,but judging by your comments re commercial expeditions,it seems you have an issue with that. But most of us mere mortals are ordinary climbers with a dream of tackling Everest,and what the Sherpas do for us in just amazing!!The mountain belongs to everyone for sure but does it then give them the right to endanger others?

  34. I don’t understand all of the negative comments. This story is more balanced and far more realistic than the other versions floating around on the internet. It didn’t demonize anyone and emphasized it was a series of misunderstandings that escalated unnecessarily. Clearly neither side intended for the eventual result. So why people want to demonize a group of people is utterly beyond me.

    As far as I’m concerned, this is a very commercialized route and everyone knows that. Climbers who want more freedom should a different route or a different mountain. With there being so many people on the mountain, climbers have to work together to share that space. The sherpa were engaging in an activity to help most of the people on the mountain. Even if the climbers in question chose not to share said supplies, I think the sherpa were perfectly reasonable in requesting not to be put in a position of danger unnecessarily. Keep in mind that a disproportionate number of sherpa have died on the mountain and we usually hear about injuries and death during this time.

    1. 1. This story is not balanced and does demonize the European climbers. It says Moro called for a fight and that the brawl was started by a third party (also a westerner)

      2. Why should 3 alpinists climbing the thing in good style have to pass on a weather window because they will have to (probably unforseeably) cross over the Sherpa fixed line. Guiding services forbidding people from climbing the mountain on fixing days is not sharing, even if the majority of people use the lines. The lines shouldn’t be there to begin with!

      3. The Sherpas were not in a position of danger compared to the unroped alpinists.

    2. First of all, Garrett Madison makes money from guiding on Everest and uses sherpas, so he has a financial incentive to try to cast the sherpas in a more positive light. Second, just because a story is more balanced doesn’t make it more true. What doesn’t sound right to me is that “a brawl” would be initiated by a team of three against a much much larger group of sherpas.

      You say that clearly neither side intended for the eventual result, but where is there any evidence that the sherpas didn’t want to cause physical harm to the Euro group? In the other accounts by witnesses it says that the sherpas were threatening to kill the three and describes pretty awful mob violence.

      You can read Chad Kellogg’s account here http://www.explorersweb.com/kellogg7

      You can read Ueli’s interview here

  35. Only thing I can say is that someone triggered the problem, I would assume the Europeans were educated while most Sherpa climbers are poorly educated or even illiterate. Sherpa people are peaceful people but when push comes to shove it can turn sour. I am not taking sides but ego and prejudice is harmful to any person wherever he or she may be. Of course it is appalling and unacceptable for a large group of Sherpas to attack 3 European climbers.

    I am not a climber but being in the travel tour business I say some respect for each other is what is needed. We must stop the blame game and try to avoid any such incidences.

    With respect to all the climbers and lovers of Nepal and the mountains.

  36. John Scale says I’m wrong to suggest that three accomplished climbers should not be able to climb above the fixing Sherpas if they so wished. I am still sure I am right on that count but don’t believe for a minute that that was what happened. We have all read the many media accounts which were put out too swiftly to gain maximum impact. We can see that many events helped to exacerbate the situation but only climbers present know what really happened. What we do know is such a confrontation should never have taken place and but for the bravery of Melissa could have ended with a much worse scenario. Well done Alan for not inciting the situation and allowing folk to air their views on both sides.What I will say is that for me,who lives and breathesEverest,today the magic has gone and I am sure our past Everest Hero’s would be ashamed and saddened.I hope in the ensuring weeks the magic will return.Kate Smith (UK)

  37. Reading this it seems objective.

    It makes sense that if Moro wasn’t at the meeting, his and Steck’s reactions would seem to make more sense – – these guys have the public reputation of being loners to begin with.

    But this report also highlights one thing to me – – that with the number of people showing up at EBC and climbing, the logistics management may need to focus even more on the people management issues (I know they work hard at this but hundreds of people take a lot of work to co-ordinate) – – the hard logistics management is more focused on fixing ropes and provisioning camps. The people management part is hard.

    I’m concerned that if this stuff happens again next year, the nepalese government is going to start clamping down more and we’ll wind up with an environment more like we have on Denali or Ranier or the other mountains – – guided trips strictly controlled by the park service, even down to the climbing slot time and duration. That would really suck.

    Also. I’d like to hear from Melissa, really. Melissa is your first ascent sponsorship making you gun shy on the thread ? You have an important point of view and you ARE part of the elite group on the mountain and the outside world – – a lot of people – – know who you are and pay attention to what you say.

    OK – I’m tired of this story so this is my last post here. I wish I could block the story on CNN though.

  38. I was listening to the radio here in Boston and one of the western climbers was on air.
    He basically summed it up as, Sherpas have been feeling marginalized because of the wealth that is on display at the base camp (among western climbers). So what happened this week was down to economics.

    He claimed no one was hit by ice etc…and that none of the sherpas had come forward to show injury- reading this piece it appears creating of a dangerous situation and not following mountaineering rules at everest was the sticking point.

    Another point he kept making was how he is a free climber and that rules on which day to climb or when to climb should not be regulated because climbing is about freedom.

    He did end by saying that Sherpas do a lot of work (DUH)..

  39. This account makes a ton more sense than that which was initially publicized by Western media. I’ve never been on Everest and won’t claim to have the experience to back up my assertions, but it seems to me that this event was an inevitable byproduct of the over-commercialization of the world’s highest peak. I understand this mountain’s allure to guide services and their members, and am thankful that this can benefit Sherpa communities by providing an income stream. However, Everest was once a test piece for the world’s top alpinists. Is it wrong that it remain such? By mandating that only fixers be allowed on the mountain during a certain window, one is effectively stating that Everest belongs to those with the most money; that’s a sad state of affairs. It’s neither right nor wrong for Everest to be a commercial peak, but why can’t it still be a place for top climbers to push their limits? The peace-and-love-hippie in me can’t understand why these two breeds of climber can’t occupy a mountain concurrently. (Of course, if any party knowingly risks the safety of another while they’re sharing a route, that’s a different matter entirely and has no place in modern mountaineering.)

    At any rate, this sounds like a misunderstanding that was exacerbated by egos on both sides (not to mention by altitude). I have the highest respect for both the Sherpas and for the European climbers involved. Kuddos to everyone who played a part in making peace.

  40. in short what Garrett Madison is saying is that Everest is a mountain for guides and their members and that the sherpas are not skilled enough to carry out their job:

    he writes:

    “It was also agreed at the meeting by all the expedition leaders that nobody would be climbing on the route on these dates except the fixing team. That while these young men were working to fix the route for all expeditions at base camp, no expedition would disrupt or create a distraction for them.”

    “fixing the Lhotse face demands strict concentration,”

    “This is a high intensity environment where people’s instincts are at a heightened state.”

    “during a very dangerous workday.”

    “The Sirdars have committed to educate these hard working young men about handling the stresses of a very intense job.”

    “In climbing the Nepalese side of Mt. Everest, all the teams collaborate in working together to ultimately achieve a mutual goal,”

    Simone might have made a few mistakes, but these arguments are lame. It is obvious that Everest is not a mountain for climbers anymore. Ueli and other should have known this, but now at least they have final confirmation. Garrett should enjoy doing his version of the mountain, but may be he should not forget to go climbing too from time to time, so he understands the climber a little better. His thoughts are not surprising coming from an AAI guide. He should get out of Mount Rainer and that Everest junk show more often.

    1. Seriously Luc? Who else in the world has the experience to fix 1000’s meteres of fixed rope on the Lhotse face. Fixed rope is some heavy and cumbersome shit.

      1. Real alpinists. And there wouldn’t be any major fixing if the guide services weren’t around to haul under-experienced westerners. I can’t figure out why people think this account is more objective, it’s the worst one I’ve read. It washes over a lot of details, other than the ones demonizing Moro. “Sherpas viewpoint”, what a joke, unless they only remember the wrongdoings unto them, this account is trash. If you’re going to do a Sherpas account, then account for everything that has been put out there, discount what the Sherpas (who were involved) believe to be false and try to explain everything else in as objective a manner as possible.

        1. Hey Luc & Jon, how about we just keep Everest for the elite alpinist eh? And just to point out a lil something my friends,these inexperienced climbers you talk about,well most of them have saved hard & even mortgaged their houses to realise their dream. And I can tell you for a fact,no reputable guide/expedition leader is going to entertain you,unless you prove you’re an accomplished (not elite) mountaineer. My plan involves 5 years of saving and training and climbing mountains of various degrees before I can join an expedition. We might not be elite, but we have dedication. And once again,the mountain neither belongs to the Sherpas nor the Alpinists,but everybody!

          1. ” how about we just keep Everest for the elite alpinist eh?”

            Yeah, how about it? How about we abandon the thing that NO ONE is talking about- PROFIT. If you do that, you won’t see many sherpas and guys that mortgaged their houses so that they could come acclimatize and jug pre-fixed ropes. That’s not “elite alpinism”.
            “these inexperienced climbers you talk about,well most of them have saved hard & even mortgaged their houses to realise their dream.”

            Ummm yeah. It costs alot. What does that have to do with actual skill? I can pay a guide to haul me up something, it doesn’t mean that I possess the skill and prowess to do it myself.

            “And I can tell you for a fact,no reputable guide/expedition leader is going to entertain you,unless you prove you’re an accomplished (not elite) mountaineer.”

            Please read your very first sentence. Unless you were being facetious AND rhetorical, you just contradicted your very first sentence. This also means that your posting is utterly nonsensical and not to be taken seriously.

            “My plan involves 5 years of saving and training and climbing mountains of various degrees before I can join an expedition. We might not be elite, but we have dedication.”

            Ah, and there it is. You’re a non-elite alpinist/mountaineer and you need sherpas so you’re defending what they did, and thus their presence on the mountain. Got it.

            “And once again,the mountain neither belongs to the Sherpas nor the Alpinists,but everybody!”

            Exactly! So why do the sherpas and the commercial guides have the right to set rules for the entire mountain? Good job on posting an entire self-contradictory line of drivel and exhibiting exactly what is wrong with raping that mountain with inexperienced “westerners” that “mortgaged their houses” whatever that means… to “realise their dream”.

            The European alpinists are not required to attend the commercial meetings. Nor should they be. But regardless of what you think ethics are or should be, one thing is certain:

            The wounds inflicted on the Europeans were far worse than any (if there even were any) on the sherpas. Why is this? Hmmm maybe because a group of 30 TIMES THE SIZE OF THE EUROPEANS brawled with them. Why is this not being emphasized anywhere? And people are DEFENDING IT!!!! So, if a kid riding down the street on a bike, cuts in line and uses the ramp before everyone else, let’s just encourage the other kids to gang up on him and beat the shit out of him. GREAT IDEA!!

            What happened here is the equivalent of an entire football team beating up the opposing team’s quarterback. It’s bullying, and it was done to protect profit. Anyone that doesn’t at least consider this perspective is obtuse, ignorant, and not worth even talking to.

          2. Dear Henri Gardener
            Yup you’re right! I am defending the Sherpas cos i’ve been promised that when i attempt Everest,they will haul me up! Ha is that contradiction or sarcasm? I know it’s early in the morning where you are but do look up sarcasm before re reading my post. And if the analogy of the kid on the bike you mention,well if that kid cuts up other kids on the bike,then hurls abuse at them and gets a fight cos he asks for one,then maybe he should’nt go home crying to mum! And tbh anyone who thinks that a Sherpas health and safety is fair game in favour of an alpinists pursuit is in your words “obtuse,ignorant and not worth talking to either” So this is where I stop with you!

  41. Yes, the sherpas are of course under immense pressure, but not mainly because some world-class mountaineers who surely know much better than everyone else on Everest how to move freely on tricky terrain without harming themselves or others are climbing on the same face.

    They are under immense pressure (especially the rope fixing team, but the personal sherpas too), because:

    – They are the group that reliably each year pays the highest price possible on Everest (three deaths last year, already one this year), not to mention broken limbs, strokes, other illnesses, and this in a country with difficult to reach and costly health providers and – at best – marginal insurance in case of invalidity.

    – The obligation to open the way for the queues waiting on the lower slopes just in time to the summit, and this under extremely difficult circumstances (if they are really fixing up- and down-lines, as I read somewhere in former posts, it’s even double work compared to former years). Further, the lines have to be in excellent condition, if you have so many people (remember the famous Dujmovits photography?) leaning on them.

    -The obligation to bring members in varying degrees of fitness and climbing ability under presumably overcrowded conditions safely to the top and down again – members who paid loads of money for this goal and often won’t listen to their personal sherpa trying to convince them to return and go down – how often did we read stories of sherpas staying a long time with ailing customers, at last leaving them to die and getting to safeness just short of their own death?

    – They are no superhumans, they too can get ill (or at least feel bad) sometimes on the mountain – but they will do everything not to show it, because if they fail, they will get kicked out in next to no time and the next in the queue will be happy to take up this hard, but well-paid work.

    For further read, here’s a link to an really insightful article in a Swiss journal:


    Hope, “Google translate” doesn’t take too much of the sense away…

  42. This piece is a sloppy blend of facts and opinions and suppositions. vague, full of errors, and historical misinformation.
    The different attitude of large commercial member expeditions to small self-supported teams is huge and warrants some flexibility toward new methods.

    1. Jonathan, why don’t you point out the errors and historical misinformation in this piece?

      1. I have not read this anywhere else: “Then Simone came out to talk and both sides approached each other in loud discussion at which point a careless western climber who had not been involved up on the Lhotse face arrived and entangled physically with a Sherpa.”

        a) Why would any one person attack a group of angry people
        b) I have read no other account of this careless westerner

        ” It is safe to say that the Sherpa thought this western climber was part of Simone’s team and had initiated a dangerous confrontation. At this point the Sherpa felt as if they needed to defend themselves as they had just seen one of their colleagues attacked.”

        a) This climber was not with them on the mountain, why would they think he was part of their group
        b) 16 Sherpa felt they needed to “defend themselves” against 1 pyscho + the team of 3

  43. Hi Alen,
    I read your post every day. I was worried about the accident that took place between Westerner and Sherpas. I saw different news saying ” Sherpas attacked the westerners” which makes a bad influence and reputation of Sherpas. The media writes a news without knowing the cause. I personally respect all the climbers but i think if the 3 westerners didn’t flashed the news and tried to solve it, it would be better.
    Once again, thanks for all the post from both sides.
    Much love and keep on climbing

  44. Hi Alen,
    I read your post every day. I was worried about the accident that took place between Westerner and Sherpas. I saw different news saying ” Sherpas attacked the westerners” which makes a bad influence and reputation of Sherpas. The media writes a news without knowing the cause. I personally respect all the climbers but i think if the 3 westerners didn’t flashed the news and tried to solve it, it would be better.

    Once again, thanks for all the post from both sides.
    Much love and keep on climbing

  45. Thanks for the post Alan. This version of the event speaks to me as more plausible than what has been going around. I have had the pleasure of Sherpa on several expeditions and have many fond memories, especially of their kindness, generosity, hard work and lack of ego.

    A couple things of concern about the situation I have. First is that you call Everest “their” mountain. Everest, as any mountain or range is not owned by anyone, unless it happens to be on private property.

    The beauty of mountains is freedom. Freedom to climb what you want, how you want, especially if you are doing it in a style that has less impact on the mountain and on the environment. The meeting about fixing ropes was for the guided groups, otherwise Simone and his team would have been there? Were they not invited? Or was it that they were not going to use the fixed ropes so it was not of concern to them? I do not know.

    The act of climbing the Lhotse face, away from the fixing and fixed ropes does not seem harmful. If I am solo on the Lhotse face and a Sherpa or anyone comes sliding down a fixed rope into me, I would be hard pressed not to use profanity and do whatever necessary to stay alive. Scary stuff. The Sherpa sliding down onto the solo climbers, is WAY crossing the line. That is putting the lives of the climbers in danger of falling, and I would even go so far as to say that it would be murder if they knocked someone off in this way.

    Then egos got going and it all blew up from the sound of it due to the juiced western climber who got over excited and started the brawl.

    The mountains are for everyone.


    Stephen Koch

  46. No Alan !!

    I do not agree and I do not accept the Sherpa’s story. . There is no difficult or danger enough to make such panic. It should be allowed to go over fix ropes for climbers.

    Artur Hajzer

    1. It sounds like an exagerrated reaction. Since you haven’t been and seen that, try to be more careful while making your judgment.


      1. Haven’t been and seen what? He is not judging, he is stating his opinion that a climbing party should be allowed to climb above a team fixing rope, and there is no reason to panic over it.

    2. HI Artur,

      I would suggest you to study about the Everest first and then comment on how danger or difficult it is.


      1. Hi Ross,

        I would suggest you study about Artur Hajzer first and then comment on his right to have an opinion on the dangers and difficulties of Everest.


      2. Hi Ross
        good suggestion if you address it to me…. but it might be a bit off the mark with Artur Hajzer.

  47. Sounds like that european climber guy is very stubborn and has no respect of Local Sherpas. He also has been causing trouble with oxygen last year which also deals with others life.

    That guy hardly looks straight and talks to the camera on cbs interview. He is trying to gain his publicity. That guy should be on black list.

    Pemba Sherpa.
    Vail Colorado

    1. There is no excuse for dozens of men attacking the three climbers in such a manner. None! No alleged disrespect justifies the attempted murder of Steck, Moro, and Griffith. The Sherpa responsible should be arrested for assault! This is why I no longer attend football games, Nepal is now also off my list.

      1. I agree dozen of men should not have attacked the three climbers; they should have been thrown off the mountain at night. Different cultures react differently to disrespect. Educate yourself a bit before visiting a different culture than yours. What justifies and what not is relative thing

      2. Every action is a reaction. The sherpas would not go and fight like other punks. You all need to know the reality up there. Who did what and what caused this argument. What do you know about this. ?
        I talk directly in base camp.
        Cool off please.

    2. So, Pemba Sherpa, there’s a black list of men not allowed on Everest?
      And so, Lucas, you suggest unwanted persons being thrown off the mountain at night?

      Do you really think this is the solution?

  48. This is so interesting but the sport of climbing has no room for combatives– I think Simone should be ordered to leave the country and not come back, deported

    1. I think the guiding services should be banned, but it will never happen being such a treasure trove for the government. Too bad it lead to the deaths of however many Sherpas and members

  49. some people just put bread on their table, for their families……….sometimes not even returning to them……………..and some say: “Heeeey, look at me!! Me, me , me “

    1. If Westerners didn’t say ” “Heeeey, look at me!! Me, me , me “ I just “climbed” the highest mountain”, there would be no money for the guiding services and therefore much less money for the Sherpas, and therefore no bread on their tables. Instead they would have to do some other less dangerous job and have a better chance of returning home.

  50. It is very dangerous to have people climbing above you, especially when you are focused on doing a tricky job and can’t pay attention to what is coming at you from above. The Sherpas are very dedicated people but I can see where conflicts might grow from the issue of who has access to Everest and when.

  51. I dont’ understand, I think this piece is obscure in several points:

    -when you recount the meeting of the expedition leaders, and sherpa leaders of April 18th, do you mean that following this meeting any climber with a permit for Everest could NOT be on the face in the days sherpa would fix the ropes? Or was this rather a planning meeting for all major commercial expedition, in order to join forces? Does a team with a regular climbing permit have the right to be on the face on the same day sherpas are fixing their rope lines, if this team is climbing alpine style, to the side of such lines, without interfering?

    -were the people at that meeting entitled to book the Lhotse face for certain days? In that case, what did they do to let everybody know their decision?

    -You say Simone was not at this meeting, and therefore he might not have been aware of this unwritten rule. Since Simone has been to Everest 10 times, is it because in this meeting a new unwritten rule had been decided? Or are you saying Simone was not aware of a long term rule in spite of his experience? Do you think Simone might not have been aware that rope fixing is a delicate, dangerous procedure and that sherpas doing the work must not be disturbed?

    -did Simone Moro, or Ueli, or Jon touch the ropes? Did they interfere with the sherpas work? Is it possible for two party of climbers to climb up the Lothse face, without disturbing one another?

    -you say on the Lhotse face “physical contact was made, and then verbal contact”, who did what exactly?

    -you say a number of times Simone was verbally aggressive (inflammatory words), why was that? Did he have reasons or just like that?

    -Simone wrote he offered help to fix ropes to sherpas, which his team did (I believe Ueli did), for 260 m up the face. Is that true according to your knowledge?

    -in your description of the “brawl” at camp 2, you do not mention anybody throwing rock at people, nor trying to stab people, nor threatening to kill people: did that happen or not?

    -you mention that Simone’s team “descended to base camp”. Does it mean it’s not true that he was forced to do this, that his team was given one hour to leave? Did they descend the icefall by an alternative route for fear they might be attacked again, or is this also untrue?

    I’m very sorry but the more I read this and the less it seems an accurate depiction of events. It’s more a description of a character we are all supposed to know well: the arrogant western professional climber, without really saying what happened up there.

    You know, I wasn’t up there, so I don’t know. Maybe Simone Moro is not the nice guy I think he is. I really would like to understand, but this piece… too many grey areas. Melissa’ sentence seems a lot more revealing to me: “standing in front of those same friends to protect them from unexplainable violence and anger.”

    Like everybody, I feel the same urge to put all this behind and move on. But if there was violence, one must understand first, in order to be able to really do that.

    I would like again to underline Melissa Arnot’s courage.
    And I would like to thank Alan for this space, and for allowing popular and unpopular opinions to be expressed. I think this place is building bridges over crevasses, so to speak.

    1. I’d like to second your comment about Melissa’s courage. It seems she physically stood in front of the trio to shield them from harm. She deserves tremendous respect and admiration for that.

    2. Me too well said Max.

      Not suprised they left the mountain.

      Way to many questions remain imo.

  52. Thanks Alan. I find it extraordinary that 3 such experienced climbers would think that it was acceptable to climb above the fixing team in such a dangerous spot. It does smack of arrogance, and a disregard for the safety of the Sherpa by exposing them to entirely avoidable risk.

    1. Kate, are you serious? You think it is unacceptable to climb above others in the mountains?

    2. I agree with you 100% Kate. It seems to me that to some on here the health and safety of the Sherpas and their right to work without danger is fair game in pursuit of the Alpinists goals. Sad indeed 🙁

  53. Thanks for the no spin reporting what ever the exact details are are insignificant at this point. These are all strong willed men by the nature of what they are doing. There was a show of mutual respect when they let their egos down and made up. I wish them all well and as you say I hope they can “climb on”

  54. Namaste Allen.
    Thank you for clear news what had happened during the season and also about mutual goal. Really we have to preserve our relation since 1953ad. We have to follow and respect our relation what Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenjing Norge taught us. Thank you Allen for sharing point of view of both side.
    Warm regards
    Yangzin Sherwa
    KTM (phortse)

  55. First Thank you Alan for your observations and report! I personally wishing that some Sherpa should write true observation report, and I know there are few Sherpas who wants to write as like you. Any way you did it. Hope now everything will be good, there in mountain’s holy place and media’s, hello place. Every once love right report with observation.

    Pasang Tshering Sherpa
    Khumjung 2

  56. Thank you Alen for sharing the Sherpa side of the story as they don’t have the access to western media. The Sherpa community appreciates your unbiased viewpoint of the unfortunate event on Mt. Everest.

  57. WOW! Thank you for the observations and report! Its so sad that todays media just carelessly posts peoples stories as “Factual” (ABC news for example) and Inflames the whole situation. Our society needs more of this type of reporting so we can get the majority of persons on this Earth back on course of LIVING PEACEFULLY! Thank you.

  58. “It is my first time to Nepal but Ueli and Simone have been here for many years. Ueli for example climbed Everest last year with Sherpa Tenji as a climbing partner not as a Sherpa. Sherpa Tenji was booted out from a commercial expedition last year, as it was decided that he wasn’t needed, and Ueli offered to climb together with him as Tenji’s aim had always been to summit Everest without oxygen. I am also glad to say that Sherpa Tenji was part of our team this year. Simone has done 43 trips to Nepal and his relationship with Sherpas stretches way back. If you talk to Sherpas at Base Camp they having nothing but good things to say about him. He has a rescue helicopter out here and even offers free rescue service to all Sherpas and Porters on the mountain. So I think both Ueli and Simone have a long history of respect and friendship with the Sherpas.”

  59. in all these crassness @ everest have we all forgotten that:
    if anyone is fixing ropes for their personal benefit, it should be their problem/responsibility to ensure full support & quick, safe passage for climbers w/o support & not the other way round commanding everyone off till they lay out the tarmac…!!! moreover nothing justifies the violent mobilizing behavior of the sherpas… and unfortunately the community has to take the dent for a few rotten apples…

  60. Holy smokes. Climbers should just let the rope fixers do their job first. No one should be *special* in that environment…just follow the guidelines and let the vital Sherpa work get done. Sounds very selfish to me. Thanks for the postings.
    Climb on!
    Tina in Virginia

    1. They did not violate any ‘guidelines’. The commercial outfits got together and agreed upon a schedule for fixing, and also agreed not to get in the way of the fixing op but Steck et al were an independent expedition, and not obligated to wait for the op to finish. They were careful not to interfere with the fixing, and they didn’t put anyone in danger. And then when the fixers descended, the ‘selfish’ climbers went and finished fixing the rope themselves, actually.

  61. Thank you Alan. I agree this should be posted and it seems like possibly the most accurate depiction of the events. Let’s hope everyone can now move forward and work together.

    1. Thank you Alan for your observations. The media reports so far have presented only one side of the story and this is greatly appreciated. I hope the hard work Sherpas do continues to be appreciated.

      Pasang Yangjee

  62. Thought so… hurt pride and too many alpha males in the same place:

    “Traditionally, the Sherpas fix the rope and make the ascent smooth for the climbers. But, when another makes their move before the Sherpas set the ropes, it definitely hurts their pride,” an official said. The Sherpas said that the reason for their assault on the climbers was because they knocked ice down on a Sherpa below. “But, it was not the only reason.”

    “In contrast, the unnatural behaviour of the trio climbing without a rope, in their quest for a new discovery, did not consider any safety advice to show their strength over the experienced Sherpas.”

    Nima Nuru Sherpa, the first vice-president of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), also the managing director of Cho-Oyu Trekking that guided the three mountaineers, admitted that the incident that occurred for the first time in the region was undoubtedly linked to their ego.” (From ekantipur).

    If you want to see a serious mountaineer moving freely in steep terrain, google “Ueli Steck speed solo Eiger record”.

    See also Steve House twittering:

    “In 2011, while acclimating on the normal route on Makalu we climbed solo next to fixed lines. Lead sherpa threatened us there as well.”


    “There is a gross misunderstanding of modern climbing by most sherpas in Nepal, likely created by Everest and Ama Dablam “guiding”.

    Maybe such people should stay away during tourist season with their “unnatural behavoiur”…

    1. They can’t really stay away during “tourist season” on Everest though, as I understand it, and come back another time. The reason they get so packed is thanks to the weather you often just have a relatively itty-bitty window where anyone–elite professional mountaineer or bucket-lister doctor–can go for the summit.

      1. Sorry, forgot the ironic smiley after my last remark.

        Of course you’re right, so this will be likely the end of serious alpinism on this mountain.

  63. Some of Jonathan Griffith’s version of events:

    “They picked up big rocks off the glaciers and started throwing them at us. We were all kicked and punched a fair bit and hit by rocks. I was bruised and cut.

    “Ueli had a rock thrown in his face. Simone was stabbed with a pen knife, which luckily hit his belt on his rucksack.”

    “We came under attack for about 15 minutes. We owe our lives to these brave people. Without them, we’d surely be dead at the hands of an out of control mob.”

    I’m wondering what it must be like for the other teams. The Sherpa either involved in the alleged incidents or looking on without helping those outnumbered would have come from different teams, for example lent for the fixed rope work. Could this mean team leaders & members might be starting to wonder if Sherpa in their group were involved in attacking and threatening westerners like themselves or looked on as part of a alleged mob? Could this cause a slight breakdown of trust when the groups so heavily rely on the Sherpa? Or even cause many to show more appreciation for the Sherpa’s work, either out of thinking more about them or even out of fear? It’s great that there’s been a meeting and a shaking of hands as everyone would want to forget it ever happened. But I wonder if that was enough. It’s hard & dangerous enough for everyone there as it is. I wonder if this incident will affect the perception climbers have of Sherpa for some time.

    1. Sven, my opinion is the allure and lure of Everest to Westerners have transcended risks for decades. Similarly, the financial impact to Nepal is so large that I doubt this incident will have a material impact other than stories. Similar questions were asked after the closure and control of Everest for the Olympics in 2008 and there have been record number of climbers since then.

  64. Although the professional climbers were wrong in crossing the line whilst it was being set up. The response from the lead Sherpa was over the top and highly dangerous. The climbers claim that the lead Sherpa landed on him forcing Steck to touch as he was not attached to the line, and all this on the Lhotse Face. Witnesses say their tent was pelted with rocks until they came out and that they were later told one would die that night and they’d take care of the rest later. I doubt many believe murder was ever on the cards but I’ve been in a situation we’re I’m outnumbered in a foreign country, beaten up and told I’ll be killed soon. Even if the supposed threat doesn’t seem credible, when you’re in it, you believe it.

    Steve House tweeted this: “In 2011, while acclimating on the normal route on Makalu we climbed solo next to fixed lines. Lead Sherpa threatened us there as well.”

    Seems like there needs to be some dialogue, agreements and guidelines made regarding who’s ‘aloud’ first up the mountain. I disagree slightly about that the mountain is the Sherpa’s. It’s in one respect the Chinese and Nepalese government’s. In another it’s a sacred place for the Sherpa’s. In another, it’s everybody’s.

  65. Here you can find an article in Italian on Montagna.tv, that reports the facts of today, from the point of view of Simone Moro.
    It is really saddening to learn that these things happen even in camp 3 of Everest, and it saddens me in particular that this should happen between Ueli Steck and Simone Moro, two climbers I admire, and the sherpas, which also deserve a lot of respect.

    1. Oh come on… let’s not make a big deal out of it. There is one mountain full of the most testosterone filled, proud, and vain men and women on the planet…

      1. To Dragos: There was a knife, there were stones thrown at people, including one that hit Steck on the face, there were repeated death threats by a mob of maybe 100 people against 3. And all that in a place where it’s not easy at all to escape somewhere. I don’t know if on the slopes on Everest there are more proud and vain people than anywhere else. But the should be a law like anywhere else, defending people from violence.

      2. I disagree – whatever happened on the Lhotse face, which may have been caused by arrogance or inconsiderate behaviour on either or both sides, or simple miscommunication, the confrontation at camp 2 afterwards sounds really ugly and unnecessary. If exploration – climbers aiming for new routes – can’t share this iconic mountain with commercial expeditions and the sherpas who work for them, surely that is indicative that something is deeply wrong. I also note that this story has been picked up by mainstream media around the world, has been egregiously misreported, and will doubtless be used as a stick to beat mountaineering in general, and everest climbing in particular as other unfortunate incidents in previous years have been.

        1. Yes, for sure it will be a media recoil from with nobody will benefits. That is true. All I am trying to say here is that we should not consider as saints neither the Sherpa (all my respect to them) neither the climbers (PROs or corporate executives). I’ve seen fists and kicks on so many mountains (small or big / famous and unknown) and as always (as it is always in life) the truth is somewhere at the middle – that is why I was saying not to do a big deal about this. However, some decided to do a big deal about this, and all the (stupid) media is now escalating this issue. Sad.

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