Last week, we reported on the Ukrainian Everest expedition that left $50,000 worth of cryptocurrency on the summit of Mount Everest. On May 14, Taras Pozdnii, Dmitry Semerenko, and Roman Gorodetskiy summited the mountain and buried the goods as part of a publicity stunt for an Irish social media startup.
It turns out one very crucial piece of information was missing from the original reports: as the three climbers and their two Sherpa returned from the summit, 45-year-old Lam Babu Sherpa disappeared.
In a written statement to Outside, Semerenko criticized the support they received from Lam Babu and Mingma Sherpa, who both work for Seven Summits Treks, a low-cost Nepal-based guide company:
“We could tell by the look [of] them that they were inexperienced, and had to clarify if they [had] ever been to Everest before,” he explained. “They barely understood English and basically were porter Sherpas.” He said they carried extra oxygen bottles and often lagged behind the three climbers.
Lam Babu was no rookie in the Himalaya, however. He summited Everest in 2017 from the north side of the mountain, supported a 2015 team on the south side, and twice worked on nearby 22,349-foot Ama Dablam. According to the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association, Lam Babu had his IFMGA certification, the highest international guiding accreditation.
Mingma Sherpa made it down the mountain, but it’s still unclear precisely what happened to Lam Babu. Gyanendra Shrestha, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation’s representative at Base Camp, said Lam Babu went missing, presumed dead, and the rescue team stationed at Camp 2 was unaware of the incident as it unfolded.