Shock and anger on Mount Everest
“It‘s a tremendous shock to us all“, Dawa Steven Sherpa writes to me from the basecamp on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest. “My team was extremely lucky to miss the avalanche but we have all lost friends and family members in the avalanche.” As in the previous years the 30-year-old Nepalese is leading an “Eco Everest Expedition” which is combining business and ecology: clients are led to the 8850-meter-high summit, but the team is also collecting garbage and brings it down to the valley.
It is still unclear when the climbing season on Everest will continue – and if at all. Alpine Ascents International (AAI) is the first of the big Everest players that has called off its expedition. “We have all agreed the best thing is to not continue this season’s climb, so that all can mourn the loss of family, friends and comrades in this unprecedented tragedy”, AAI writes on its website. Among the 16 avalanche victims of last Friday were five Sherpas working for AAI. They also supported the U.S. climber Joby Ogwyn, who planned to make the first wingsuit flight from the summit of Everest. Discovery Channel has meanwhile cancelled the live TV broadcast of the jump that was originally planned for 11 May. The team of Adventure Consultants that had lost three members in the avalanche has also decided to go home.
The Nepalese government has been coming under public pressure after the avalanche disaster on Everest. It’s announcement to pay an emergency aid of 40,000 rupees (about US $400) to the victims’ families invoked disbelief at the Sherpas. The mountain guides, the high altitude porters and the basecamp staff presented a list of demands and threatened to boycott all further work on the mountain. Among other things, they require that the government establishes a relief fund in which it shall pay 30 percent of the royalties from the climbing permits. That would be a million dollars this year. The local staff of the Everest expeditions also demand that they will not derive any disadvantages if they do decide not to return to the mountain this season because of the avalanche accident.
According to the Nepalese government 334 mountaineers from 41 countries have pitched their tents at the foot of Everest this spring. More than 400 Nepali support staff, mostly from the Khumbu region, is working for the 31 expedition teams.
Donations for the victims’ families
I had already informed you, that you can donate for the families of the avalanche victims via the Sherpa Support Fund of the American Alpine Club. Furthermore, Dawa Steven Sherpa informed me about the “Juniper Fund” that was founded by the US climbers Melissa Arnot and David Morton. Both have climbed Everest several times and support with their relief fund “individuals, families and communities in underserved countries adversely impacted by their work for the mountain-based adventure industry”.
My thoughts are with the 16 dead Nepalese from Mount Everest (R.I.P.) and those who mourn them.
Date22. April 2014 | 12:06
TagsAAI, Avalanche, Boycott, Dawa Steven Sherpa, Discovery Channel, Juniper Fund, Mount Everest, Ogwyn