Click for site home
The Blog on alanarnette.com
Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Apr 302013
 

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


  146 Responses to “Everest 2013: Discussion”

  1.  

    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.

  2.  

    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.

  3.  

    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.

  4.  

    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.

    Namaste

  5.  

    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”!!

  6.  

    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.

  7.  

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

  8.  

    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.

  9.  

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

  10.  

    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!

  11.  

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

  12.  

    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.

    Ajay
    Kathmandu

  13.  

    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.

    •  

      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.

      •  

        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.

  14.  

    Details from someone who was actually at Camp 2. http://www.explorersweb.com/kellogg7
    Sounds nastier than the worst reports so far.

    •  

      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.

      •  

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

  15.  

    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.

    •  

      “…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.

      •  

        @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?

  16.  

    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?

    •  

      Perfect analogy.

    •  

      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.

      •  

        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?

  17.  

    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. 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.

    •  

      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
      http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/Sherpa_fight_ends_climber_s_Everest_ambitions_.html?cid=35670568

  18.  

    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.

  19.  

    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)

  20.  

    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.

  21.  

    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)..

  22.  

    Here is Chad Kellogg’s take… It seems to back up the earlier accounts: http://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/stories/drama-at-21000-feet-chad-kellogg-reports-on-the-everest-brawl

  23.  

    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.

  24.  

    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.

    •  

      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.

      •  

        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.

        •  

          Jon, I’m with you 100%

        •  

          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!

          •  

            ” 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.

          •  

            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!

  25.  

    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:

    http://www.derbund.ch/panorama/Sherpas-muessen-ihre-Gaeste-oft-bis-in-den-Tod-begleiten/story/24130593

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

  26.  

    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.

    •  

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

      •  

        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

  27.  

    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

  28.  

    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

  29.  

    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.

    Peace,

    Stephen Koch

  30.  

    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

    •  

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

      Respectfully,
      Mark

      •  

        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.

    •  

      HI Artur,

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

      Ross

      •  

        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.

        Jim

      •  

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

  31.  

    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

    •  

      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.

      •  

        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

      •  

        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.

    •  

      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?

    •  

      Pensa, who are you Talking about right here?

  32.  

    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

    •  

      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

  33.  

    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 “

    •  

      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.

  34.  

    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.

  35.  

    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.

  36.  

    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.

    •  

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

    •  

      And how about lowering into unroped climbers?

    •  

      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 🙁

  37.  

    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”

  38.  

    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)

  39.  

    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

  40.  

    I’ll believe the Sherpa’s side any day.

  41.  

    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.

  42.  

    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.

  43.  

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

  44.  

    in all these crassness @ everest have we all forgotten that:
    MOUNTAINS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ROPE FIXED…????
    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…

  45.  

    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

    •  

      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.

  46.  

    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.

    •  

      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

  47.  

    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.”

    and

    “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”…

    •  

      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.

      •  

        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.

  48.  

    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.

    •  

      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.

  49.  

    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.

  50.  

    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.
    http://www.montagna.tv/cms/?p=47029
    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.

    •  

      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…

      •  

        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.

      •  

        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.

        •  

          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.

%d bloggers like this: