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Apr 222014
 
Icefall Doctors on Everest

Icefall Doctors Working

The Ministry of Tourism has agreed to many of the Sherpa demands but this is far from over as to the future of the 2014 season, the benefits for the Sherpa and the future of climbing in Nepal. Climbing continues on the north side.

Reports are coming in that a few Sherpa are stirring up the emotions at base camp demanding all Sherpa to stop climbing for the season. In addition, one report posted via Reuters on the New York Times has Lama Geshi  telling the Sherpa “…. they should not go to the summit because more will die”

I spoke directly with a contact who is at EBC and he confirms the season is still uncertain, the Sherpas are still undecided and there remains a lack of trust around the agreement with the Ministry.

There was a large ceremony at EBC Tuesday to mourn the dead. People there said it was a wide range of emotions, primarily sorrow, but also anger. Similar to last year when the fight broke out between Simone Moro and two Sherpa,  many in the Sherpa community seemed to come together feeling they were not being shown proper respect. This is not focused toward western climbers but more towards the Government of Nepal and around money.

In addition to the financial concerns, safety remains an issue. The ice serac that collapsed this year has released every year. Everest appears to becoming more unstable similar to Manaslu, Ama Dablam, K2 and many other large mountains around the world. That said, these ice features move all the time and are part of the overall objective dangers when climbing.

It is clear the major voices are from the young Sherpa, some who have been trained to international climbing standards and have International federation of Mountain Guide Association (IMFGA) certification.

Two expeditions who lost Sherpa in the serac release have canceled their season: Alpine Ascents (5) and Adventure Consultants (3).

The largest teams including Himalayan Experience (Himex) , Altitude Junkies, International Mountain Guides (IMG) are still at EBC and will continue the season if there is enough Sherpa support.

Individual climbers are in a wait and see stance, spending time with the Sherpa, getting know them better. Some climbers are doing acclimatization climbs on nearby trekking peaks trying to stay prepared when/if the season continues.

Many of the Sherpa have returned to EBC to attend the ceremony today but some are still in the homes down valley, a days walk from EBC. I’m told that many of the Sherpa are willing to continue climbing but will not go against the trend.

A meeting will be held in Kathmandu Wednesday April 23, perhaps with Nepal’s Prime Minister, to address the Sherpa concerns with an objective of bringing a signed agreement back to EBC so the Sherpa can make an informed decision on continuing the season.

I’m told that no decision has been made by the greater Sherpa community at EBC nor from the Ministry of Tourism thus contradicting major news media reports. This information is first hand from people there and owners of major guide companies.

The emotions are strong and varied. I’m told the elder Sherpa are devastated by the loss of life. Everyone knew someone who died in the Sherpa community. This is a unparalleled loss and has reached deep into their culture.

In addition, it has major implications for the future of climbing in the Khumbu and across Nepal. Depending on the overall reaction, it has the potential to change a way of life developed over the last 100 years in tourism and mountaineering for the Sherpa people.

I don’t want to exaggerate the situation but it is important to underscore the seriousness. The loss of life has brought into focus the real dangers of climbing these mountains and life changing choices are being made.

This is now more about the future of the Sherpa economy than foreigners climbing mountains.

Climb On!

Alan

Memories are Everything

 

 

 

 

  81 Responses to “Everest 2014: Season Still Uncertain”

  1.  

    Hi Alan,
    Namaste for keeping us so well informed!
    Thank you also to Larry Pitmans comment – for me, your’re absolutely right.
    Do we have to climb on top of Mt. E., …?
    in memory of the dead Sherpas

  2.  

    Btw, Alan, I do appreciate your blog and willingness to keep others informed of these events.
    Thank you.

  3.  

    Hey Alan,
    Just wondering, since I’ve seen very little comment on this, in my mind, the Sherpa work for the guiding companies, yes? I understand the Nepalese govt, pays for their insurance, etc, but, seems to me these guiding companies are also making quite a bit off of the Sherpa people. Yeah, I know, as many have pointed out, that the Sherpas often make double the national yearly avg, etc, but, the guiding co’s are making quite a bit off of each member, and yet they pay the Sherpa . . . how much? Seems to me they should also be stepping up, certainly in this case, but overall, and paying a bigger share of the Sherpas insurance, and maybe more salary, for a very risky enterprise in which they, the Sherpas, eliminate much of the risk for the members. Maybe they pay half, the govt. pays half, etc. Just seems like while they make double the amount of the Nat’l avg. they are still making a pittance compared to what the Ceo;s of these companies back in wherever, are making at the end of the trip. What are your thoughts?

  4.  

    Dear Alan , thanks for your continued updates in these trying times.At thid moment everything seems so confusing… sort of a limbo and the rumours that circulates every now and then is not helping the cause. Anyway hoping this unfortunate incident leads to a watershed in the management of future Mt. Everest climbs which would be beneficial for all involved be it Sherpas or Climbers. Whether there will be further climbing on Everest thus season may best left to the decisions of the individuals in my humble opinion.

  5.  

    safety of the Sherpas is as important as that of the climbers.The Govt. of Nepal must step in and ensure amicable resolution.

  6.  

    The Sherpa community needs time to heal. I believe the decision to continue with the climbing season is in their hands. After such a tragic loss to their small community we need to respect their wishes.

  7.  

    I’ll check out the Nepal Ministry of T and A website. Thanks a bunch Alan.

  8.  

    It is not something generally available as it is a requirement for companies guiding on Everest. The Nepal Ministry of Tourism and Aviation sets the rules and regulations. The issue the Sherpa have is not the policies but the amounts. Today the life insurance was increased to $15,000.

    •  

      hi Alan,appreciate your effort to keep us updated.
      do u feel the serac that came down could have been predicted? i ask as several technical personnel are constantly monitoring , isn it?

  9.  

    I don’t think people are aware of these policies. Is there a link I can go to read up on them Alan? Thanks again.

  10.  

    Those polices are in place and have been for years. There are many funds, I list some on this page http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/everest/2014-coverage/