More Avalanches End Everest Climbing Season in Nepal

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A Nepalese government delegation met with Sherpa mountain guides near Mount Everest's base camp on the south side of the mountain Thursday. The government was hoping to persuade the guides to continue working even though 16 Sherpas had died a week earlier. But fresh ice avalanches on Friday appear to have doomed Nepal's climbing season. Adrian Ballinger/Alpenglow Expeditions/AP
A Nepalese government delegation met with Sherpa mountain guides near Mount Everest’s base camp on the south side of the mountain Thursday. The government was hoping to persuade the guides to continue working even though 16 Sherpas had died a week earlier. But fresh ice avalanches on Friday appear to have doomed Nepal’s climbing season.  photo:  Adrian Ballinger/Alpenglow Expeditions/AP

On April 18th, 2014 an avalanche came down onto the Khumbu icefall above Mt. Everest base camp that killed 16 working Sherpa.

Since then, a debate has been raging within the Sherpa community about wether the climbing season should be canceled or should go on.  

Late last week, more ice avalanches came down onto the climbing route where the Sherpa were killed.  

“Fresh ice avalanches struck on a perilous route where 16 Everest sherpas were killed last week, hiking officials said on Friday, making it almost certain that no one will summit the world’s highest mountain from Nepal during this year’s climbing season.” – Reuters

AA_Everest_Draft-copy

Last week, there were 600 people at Everest base camp.  Right now, there are less than 50.  Most every single expedition has been canceled.  No one may climb Everest from Nepal this year.

 “…many of the remaining 400 or so Sherpas have been saying they do not want to climb this year, both out of respect for those who were killed and because they want more insurance and other benefits for their families.” – NPR

Everest and Nuptse
Everest and Nuptse

The Nepali government has tried to convince the Sherpa to continue climbing this season.  So far, their efforts appear to have failed.

Climbers on the north side of Mt. Everest will continue to climb this season.  

“The northern, Chinese side of the mountain remains open for business. On Thursday, between 50 and 100 climbers were continuing their methodical ascent toward the summit from the north.” – National Geographic

The crowded mess now called Everest climbing season
The crowded mess now called Everest climbing season

Next season, we very well may see the Sherpa with much better benefits and insurance policies in place.  We hope so.  They deserve it.

“Flying out of Katmandu has never felt so incomplete. Not simply for the lack of Everest‬ summit. That’s happened before and will happen again. This year I leave with a deep uncertainty of what future seasons may look like on Everest and throughout the Nepal Himalaya. I fear that regardless of how forward-thinking our alpenglow expeditions team is on issues of safety and compensation, we may be affected, as this year, by anger directed (rightly) at the unethical low end of the industry. The Nepal government needs to act now to regulate Everest – require previous 8000 meter peak experience of clients; require khumbu climbing center experience or equivalent of high altitude workers; dramatically increase minimum wages for all mountain workers; dramatically increase minimum disability and life insurance requirements; establish a legitimate high altitude rescue team with helicopter support funded by permit fees; modernize the icefall fixing system, team, and equipment; allow helicopters to carry equipment (and, if teams choose, members and Sherpa) to Camp 1; require teams to have legitimate communications, medical, and rescue infrastructure; limit team size. What am I missing?” – Adrian Ballinger, Everest Guide and Owner of Alpenglow sports


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