Another quick update from Nepal today, where things seem to be evolving quickly in the wake of the deadly avalanche that occurred last Friday, and the subsequent shut down of all climbing operations on the mountain. As you may recall from yesterday’s post, the Sherpas working on Everest had a list of demands for the Nepalese government that included paying compensation to the families of those who had died, increasing the amount of insurance covering the those working on the mountain, and paying for the medical expenses for those injured in the accident. The government was given seven days to reply, at which time the Sherpas would determine the fate of the climbing season.
It didn’t take the Ministry of Tourism a week to come up with their answer. Reports are starting to trickle in that they have agreed to the terms set down by the Sherpa leadership, possibly ending the climbing boycott. The fate of the climbing season still hangs in the brink however, as there are indications that some of the Sherpas may leave Base Camp, and return home. This comes amidst stories of rising tension in BC between the local guides and the foreign climbers there.
The news article linked to above says that during a Puja ceremony performed for the 16 fallen Sherpas today, the chanting became “furious” in nature, with many calling for the end of climbing on Everest this spring. The Sherpas continue to mourn their lost comrades, and many do not want to step foot back on the mountain. Whether or not this sentiment will continue remains to be seen, but it certainly sounds like things remain very uncertain there at the moment.
My guess is that the Sherpas will take the full week to grieve for the fallen, then make a decision at a later time. Right now, they are angry and heartbroken, and it will take some time before they can begin to heal. That may happen at the expense of this season, and I don’t think many of us would blame them for leaving.
Stay tuned for further updates. I’ll post more news as it comes in.
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