Himex Boss Russell Brice Weighs In On Climber-Sherpa Conflict On Everest

The Everest climbing season may be long over at this point, but one story continues to get plenty of attention weeks later. The conflict that took place between European climbers Ueli Steck, Simone Moro and Jonathan Griffith and the Sherpa team fixing ropes high on the mountain both shocked and saddened the mountaineering world.

A loss of tempers is one thing but threatening the lives of the three western climbers is a completely different situation altogether and while it has been two months since the high profile incident took place, the repercussions of the event are likely to be felt for months and years to come.

One of the more respected figures on Everest is Russell Brice who has been coming to the mountain for decades both as a climber and expedition leader. His company, Himalayan Experience, is one of the larger and more well organized groups on the mountain each year and Brice is most certainly a leader in the Everest community.

It was him who helped broker a deal between the three climbers and the Sherpas that helped bring a semblance of peace to the mountain following the conflict this spring and two of his best Sherpas were part of the group that had the initial run-in with Ueli, Simone and Jonathan.

Brice has mostly kept quiet about the situation, preferring to let it play out within the “Everest family” if you will. But now, he has shared his thoughts on the entire affair in an interview with the BMC.

In the interview, the no-nonsense Brice doesn’t really do much to dispute the story that Simone and Ueli have shared with the media. He does take umbrage with the fact that they spoke to the media at all however as part of the “peace accord” that was made in Base Camp.

One of the conditions that came out of those talks was that the European climbers wouldn’t talk to openly with the press. Russell feels that that portion of the agreement was ignored by Ueli in particular.

He goes on to say that the Swiss climber wanted to press charges against those who has assaulted him, which would have involved getting the police and government officials wrapped up in the conflict. That didn’t happen, but Brice says that the ringleaders of this assault would most certainly be dealt with in other ways within the Sherpa community.

The article offers some excellent insights into Sherpa culture, the Everest climbing community, life in the Khumbu, the economics of guided expeditions and much more. It is a good read all around and I highly recommend you take a look. Lots of interesting stuff for those who can’t get enough news about Everest.

Big thanks to my friends over at EpicTV for sharing this story yesterday. Its has some very important message that I think many will find interesting.

Kraig Becker