As Details Emerge, Everest Conflict Looks Uglier

Maybe now we’re getting closer to truthiness. The first reports of the high altitude fight on Mt. Everest April 27

khumbu 660Maybe now we’re getting closer to truthiness. The first reports of the high altitude fight on Mt. Everest April 27 came primarily from the three western climbers involved in the dustup with Sherpa guides, climbers, and porters. In the last two days as more witnesses are coming forward, it’s become clear that Simone Moro, Ueli Steck, and photographer Jonathan Griffith were not blameless, despite their early statements, but also that their actions have to be set against larger issues of commercial climbing vs. independent, the complex relationships between westerners and Nepalis, and the challenges of organizing safety when hundreds of people are funneled in a dangerous place.

Tensions were already high on the Lhotse Face before Moro and Steck and Griffith began their climb to Camp 3 on April 27, said Chad Kellogg, who is attempting to break the speed record from Base Camp to the summit and back. On the day prior, April 26, Kellogg and Rory Stark set fixed ropes up the face along the line of the 1953 first ascent, but were turned back by a huge crevasse.

“We had just wasted a day in our efforts,” Kellogg wrote. “As the realization set in we were more than a bit disappointed. Rory and I removed the screws and rappelled the face…The Sherpas just ran down and left us to fend for ourselves and so we coiled 400 meters of rope, collected the equipment, and filled our packs with 50 lbs of gear and rope to bring back down.

“When we arrived to Camp 2 there was a lot of grumbling from the Sherpa crew that we had wasted a day. They had wanted to fix the lines to Camp 3 themselves without the “white eyes” or mikaru as the foreigners are known. We came to find out that the fixing of the lines is a matter of national pride for the Sherpas. We stopped in at IMG for a few cups of juice and to talk with the guides and staff. We explained what we had tried and the insurmountable obstacles that we had run into. They congratulated us on our effort and we resigned to take a rest day and let the 18 Sherpa crew fix the lines up to Camp 3. I observed that tensions amongst the Sherpas line-fixing crew were high.”

The next day, Moro, Steck, and Griffiths set out for their Camp 3, located a little lower than the commercial C3. According to Alpine Ascents guide Garrett Madison, expedition leaders had agreed to avoid the face when Sherpas were setting up the fixed lines, a meeting Moro did not attend. When they arrived at the bottom, the three were asked not to climb it, then were either given permission or proceeded on their own (accounts are conflicting).

The Europeans were not the only independent climbers on the Lhotse Face, however. A group of Russians aiming for Lhotse were ascending parallel to the fixed lines, too.

The Russians wrote, “Headed up to Camp 3 we were caught up at the bottom of the ice wall by the group of Sherpas and a couple of Americans (heads of expeditions, interesting in fixing ropes on Everest) who persistently asked us not to continue our climb so as not to disturb the Sherpas. We tried to explain to them for about half an hour that we could climb aside from the Sherpas without disturbing them, to which they eventually agreed. We set our tent almost below the bergschrund, although we had planned to climb higher for acclimatization.” (Translated into English for Expedition Web).

The weather was deteriorating as the western trio approached the sharp end of the Sherpa efforts — the wind was picking up and temperature was dropping. According to Garrett Madison, whose account was written to share the Sherpa perspective, this is what happened next:

As the fixing team was moving through a steeper section of the Lhotse Face, the three European climbers met with the fixing team. The fixing team alerted the three climbers to not touch or cross the rope. This is a high intensity environment where people’s instincts are at a heightened state. The lead fixing Sherpa spoke with one of the three climbers at which point physical contact was made, at that point Simone came in verbal contact with a number of the fixing team who had now congregated at one of the anchors to secure themselves from sliding down the face.

Simone began to shout, many of the words in Nepali language, and many of the words were inflammatory. At this point the fixing team made the correct decision to drop their loads of rope and hardware, attaching them to the installed line, and descend without any further interaction or confrontation with the three climbers. The fixing team descended to Camp 2 and went to their respective camps as a number of expedition teams work together to fix the route on Mt. Everest. As the fixing team descended to Camp 2, Simone radioed down requesting to know what the Sherpa were talking about. At one point Simone stated over open radio frequency (fixing frequency-tuned in by all the fixing teams and anyone listening on the mountain) that if the Sherpa had a problem he could come down to Camp 2 soon and “f—ing fight.”

As Simone returned back to Camp 2 he again spoke over the fixing frequency a demand to speak with the fixing team comprised of 16 Sherpa (of eight different teams) back at Camp 2. He explained that he would meet them at one of the expedition camps. When he arrived in Camp 2 he went to his tent. At this point some western guides went to Simone’s camp to explain that he should apologize for the situation his team created during a very dangerous workday. As the western guides spoke to Simone, Sherpas from many different teams congregated as a result of his radio call from the Lhotse Face and wanted to speak with Simone and get an apology and to explain to him how difficult their job had been that day. The Sherpas who were together felt that Simone’s words and interactions were both hurtful to the individuals, as well as grave and serious insults to the entire Sherpa community. As the Sherpas approached Simone’s camp tensions were high and they wanted to have a discussion with an already angered Simone. Then Simone came out to talk and both sides approached each other in loud discussion at which point a careless western climber who had not been involved up on the Lhotse Face arrived and entangled physically with a Sherpa.

What happened next, as described by Kellogg, sounds surreal.

Melissa [Arnot] … saw a large group of Sherpas, between 35 and 75 men, headed for the encampment of Simone, Jonathan, and Ueli. She was closer than the mob so she ran to the tent and told them to make a run for the glacier and hide. Simone and Jonathan made it out to the glacier while Ueli stayed behind.

Ueli said that he was confronted by the mob and was immediately hit in the head by a fist followed by a rock to the head. Melissa pushed Ueli into the kitchen tent to protect him from the mob. The Sherpa men would not hit a woman so she was the buffer of protection from the very angry mob. Since it was too hard to figure out what was happening to Simone and Jonathan, Melissa sent a Sherpa from Simone’s camp to get he and Jonathan from the glacier. They were secretly ushered into the same kitchen tent as Ueli and buffered from the mob by Melissa and the head of Camp 2 for IMG. The men promised that if Simone came out on his knees and begged for forgiveness he would not be hurt. Simone tried to get out of the tent on his knees when he was beaten and forced back inside. Awhile later Melissa asked Simone to get back on his knees outside the tent and ask for forgiveness again. She had been assured by the instigaters that he would not be hurt. So Simone got on his knees to ask for forgiveness and was kicked under the chin, someone tried to stab him with a pen knife, but fortunately the knife hit him in the padded belt of his backpack.

Simone retreated inside the tent again. Marty Schmidt recalled when I talked with him at Camp 2 that he saw a man getting ready to bring a large rock down on Simone’s head to kill him. Marty grabbed the rock and the man’s arm and shouted, “No, no violence.” For his intervention he received a rock to the head himself. Marty was still wearing the bandage on his head when I spoke with him.

Eventually, the crowd of angry men dispersed. Swearing that if the three, Simone, Jonathan, and Ueli were still there in an hour they would come back and kill the three of them. Simone, Jonathan, and Ueli left by the main glacier behind camp and hidden from view. They did not even have a rope to protect them from the crevasses that lurk there as an ever present danger. Beat up but mobile, the trio made their way down from Camp 2 to 1 and through the icefall back to Base Camp.

The next day, the parties signed a “peace agreement,” and the westerners ended their No2 expedition. Steck and Griffith are heading home to Switzerland and the U.K., respectively. Moro, a rescue helicopter pilot, initially said he would stay on the mountain, but the Pakistan Times reported that, he, too, is leaving the Khumbu Valley.

Steck and Moro blamed the fight on a clash of values between commercial climbs that would depend upon the fixed ropes the Sherpas were setting and independent climbers such as themselves who wouldn’t.

“I don’t think it was a personal problem towards our team,” Steck told Swiss Info, “but a long-term problem that has been growing in Nepal recently. I guess we were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

He went on to say that the Nepali climbers were jealous of their richer western clients. The Swiss Info interviewer pressed Steck, asking, “Are you sure you did not provoke them?” but he replied, “The Sherpas have worked here for many years and they are the rich people in Nepal, and they have gained a lot of power. But on the other hand they see all these westerners making all that money. And there is a huge gap between them and the westerners. What happened up there is the display of anger that has been growing for years. It is the rift between two worlds and the jealousy has grown over years.”

Moro, when asked whether he understood why the Sherpas were so upset, said, “Not really, there are still many question marks. We didn’t ascend using the fixed ropes, we didn’t bother anyone, and we climbed fast, alpine style to Camp 3 and when we went to our tent they just exploded.”

As with most conflicts, the situation on Everest wasn’t that simple. The Base Camp peace agreement stated: “All those present agreed and committed that such activities must never be repeated by anyone in mountaineering and in the tourism sector. If any party is dissatisfied with the actions of another party, they commit not to go into conflict or use violence against the other party. Instead they commit to report the actions to the government representatives or relevant government recognized association present at the base camps, to come to an amicable solution between the parties.” It is a worthy and noble idea, and maybe it will lead to better understanding. But 50 years to the day since the first American ascent, the Everest climbing scene has become a complex mix of big-money efforts fueled by intensely goal-oriented people, where cultural and language differences easily lead to misunderstanding, all set in an extremely dangerous natural environment at an altitude that diminishes decision making and weakens the body. In light of all that, summiting might be the easy part.

UPDATE MAY 2, 2013
In an interview with Explorers Web, Simone Moro said, “Garrett Madison’s report is completely false. He wrote: ‘…At one point Simone stated over open radio frequency (fixing frequency-tuned in by all the fixing teams and anyone listening on the mountain) that if the Sherpa had a problem he could come down to Camp 2 soon and ‘f—ing fight’.’

“This is completely, completely, completely false! I never did such a stupid and provocative radio call, and I have witnesses to confirm it. The report is falsifying facts to justify the tension and the violence in Camp 2. I can understand that he has to defend his business, but lying is not the way to do it. ”

Photo by Shutterstock

Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal.
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Showing 33 comments
  • Wade

    This account rings completely false to me. It completely glosses over the violence that has been described by the other witnesses by simply stating that “a brawl ensued”. Now I don’t believe that Euro team are angels or blameless, but this report is trying to make me believe that a group of anywhere from 35-50 people (maybe upwards of 75?) felt the need to defend itself against a much smaller group? It’s saying that a single western climber saw this large group and initiated a fight? It sounds more like this climbing guide has a vested interested in recasting the sherpas as blameless.

    • Mike G.

      I dont think the show of force was so high due to a need to defend. I think what this is describing is a grave offense against the Sherpa community and their response in solidarity against such an offense.

      • Wade

        I believe the article has been updated with a fuller picture of what happened since my original comment. My comment refers to the Garrett Madison story of what happened.

  • CJ

    Yeah, the Garret Madison story seems about as one-sided as it gets. Every other account talks about some pretty hairy violence on the part of the Sherpa. Madison just strips that out of his report. What’s his agenda? Commercial guide trying to cover up the simmering resentment of a low-paid Sherpa labor force that’s been mistreated as the pack-animals of rich tourists climbers and theri guides for the past decade?

  • Bill

    Its hard to know anything for sure, and I certainly don’t have any specific knowledge of sherpa Nepalise culture, but reading between the lines, this looks like the root of the tension is commercialization of the mountain. The mountain is an income source for many. The ethics of ascent and safety (relatively speaking) are believed by the guiding companies to be dictated by themselves, for themselves. The independent alpine style of the NO2 team (how independent? I don’t know…), from a strict climbing ethics perspective, should supersede commercial outfits and their rope fixing for tourists. Obviously, Everest is more complicated than that. Minimalist alpine style is best done on mountains where nobody else is around. This kind of reminds me of the bolt-chopping incident on the compressor route. It pissed a lot of guide services off, but ultimately, cleaner climbing should supersede the pack-muleism of commercial guiding.

    • Ganesh

      They alpine style always said they are non commercial but deep down they are also commercial. They use the local agent for all logistic and hire sherpa climber for bringing their sutffs like oxygen, tent etc up to south col.

  • Craig Rowe

    Heck, it’s 2013 and the debate wages on about the 1996 disaster. Thankfully, this incident had no tragedies attached. And because of that, we’ll probably never know what really happened.

    Given that Steck & crew left the mountain, I suspect things escalated to the point of non-forgiveness.

    • Craig Rowe

      Quite a bit more clear take on the issue. It seems so odd that the Sherpas would mount such an aggressive stance, even with the challenge issued by Simone. Then again, where would Everest ascents be without them.


  • Jonny

    As a mountaineer myself, people often assume that my ultimate goal is to climb Everest some day. The answer is always a resounding “No thank you!”. To me, Everest represents everything that is wrong with climbing today. Wealthy people essentially purchasing an expensive tourist package to visit what is essentially the ultimate tourist trap. It’s the equivalent of visiting the more popular areas of the Great Wall of China, or Lake Louise on a nice day.

    I could care less about Everest, and could care less about anyone who climbs it. There is bloody 3G coverage all the way to the summit for pete’s sake. Personally, I would be much happier if I never heard a shred of news from that god forsaken objective ever again. Hopefully this is a lesson to everyone that if you have any self respect as a climber, you will avoid ever visiting Everest, and never sink a single penny into that cesspool of a tourist trap.

    • Chris

      “These mountain climbing corporate executives that scale Mount Everest in a package deal… they go up the mountain as assholes, and they come back down as assholes.” – Yvon Chouinard

    • Don

      I couldn’t agree more. Everest has been completely polluted by people who really (for the most part) could care less about mountains and mountaineering. I can’t say that I wouldn’t attempt it if I was really wealthy, but it certainly isn’t on my tick list at all.

  • SB

    It is sad that a unique locale is now treated like a commodity that ultimately cheapens its value. We may feel entitled, have ” the right”, or can simply afford to buy “the experience”; however this attitude reduces the significance of the event and accomplishment. Attitudes on all sides: locals, Westerners, commercial expeditions, governments, and independent teams should change.

  • Stephen Koch

    My take is that the Sherpa were way out of line by thinking they should have their (money making teams) mountain free of other climbers while fixing the ropes up the Lhotse face. Why did they believe this? I can only imagine it is the attitudes of those on the mountain to make a profit, the commercial expeditions. They are trying to do what serves them best, to get clients up to the top so they can make more money. The Sherpa guides are paid a fraction of what the Western guides are paid. The Sherpa do the lions share of the dangerous work on the mountain. The pressure to succeed and get their job done is intense. That being said, the Sherpa who rappelled into Uli (according to Simone’s account on his website – and I have met Simone on numerous occasions and he is a gentleman and someone whose word I trust) who was solo / unroped crossed the line, BIG TIME. The Sherpa’s actions could easily have knocked Uli off the mountain and killed him. I believe from what I have read from several varying accounts that this is when Simone got outraged and yelled profanities in any language he thought the mad rappeller would understand. He witnessed someone jeopardizing his partners life. The partner who he is committed to completely through their climbing relationship.

    The European/Western/Non-Guided/Non-Guiding/Non-Fixed Rope Using climbers were not hurting any of the Sherpa or their efforts to fix the ropes by climbing up the Lhotse Face. The entire notion that they were told or asked to not climb the face due to the fixing is a sad reflection of the money making priorities of the vast majority of the activity on Everest by the commercial expeditions. The striving for a greater challenge through a new route is very admirable and if anything, they should have been given greater latitude towards their adventurous goals instead of less.

    The fighting that occurred at Camp 2 seems to have been totally one sided with between 25 and 75 Sherpa against 3 European climbers. What was Simone being asked or forced to apologize for? Yelling (possible profanities in several languages – an advantage to being multilingual) at the Sherpa who is yelling at him and his partners for climbing on Mount Everest? And then the lead rope fixing Sherpa (according to Simone’s account) rappels down and into Uli, who is unroped and then yells about being touched or hit when Uli or whoever got rapped in to put up their arms/axes or did whatever was necessary to not get knocked off the mountain and killed.

    My take at the bottom line of all this: the individual Sherpa who believe Everest is “their” mountain (their being commercial guiding groups) were pissed for not receiving a larger slice of the Everest Money Pie. They took it out on an easy target, three climbers not using Sherpa up high, oxygen or fixed ropes – Vs. having it out with their bosses. And they jeopardized the lives of the three climbers on the Lhotse face and in Camp 2. I have Sherpa friends, have hired them for several expeditions and know them to be wonderful people. That being said, the one, two or several who started this need to be held accountable. The commercial expedition groups may need to redistribute the cash in a more equitable way towards the Sherpa. Or maybe the Nepali government should only allow Nepali national companies to guide on Everest. Then the Nepali and Sherpa guiding companies will hold the cards. And maybe the death rate will rise for the guided groups to a level that will make climbing Everest even riskier with more accolades coming to the brave climbers who risk their lives on the prepared route with fixed ropes, oxygen, stocked camps and guides escorting them up and down.

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out…

    • Mike Davies

      Your comments are perfect…! “Freedom of the hills”, …its unbelievable to think that the commercial operators thought that they could close down the standard route for maintenance like it was a highway or a bridge!

    • Frederick Reimers

      Interesting take, Stephen. Rings true to me. It’s always about the money.

    • Doug

      Good comments. I think that many of the leaders of the commercial operations, along with a few “cheer leader” blogs glorifying the roping of an entire colossal Mtn, are compromising their integrity through their comments that diminish mob violence by tainting the reputations of some of the most distinguished mountaineers / athletes in the world. Anyone with above average skills moving athletically across rock, snow and ice realizes that the Steck/Moro/Griffith line didn’t pose a threat to anyone and that a dangerous situation was caused by the rope fixing team’s aggressive reaction to………..what? The hot mic issue and the words exchanged during a rapidly deteriorating dangerous situation, that appears to have been caused by the aggressive behavior of the lead sherpa, are a diversion to minimize the severity of the life threatening, tribal / gang behavior that occurred later. Since the fixing team and every commercial operator was monitoring the common frequency, why wasn’t the fixing team informed by the guides at the bottom of the face that there were two small independent groups of capable, un-roped climbers moving parallel to them? Why was it such a surprise when all of a sudden, there they were? I can’t believe the rope fixing team and their leader lacked the situational awareness of what was going on around them and couldn’t judge the skillful movement of the rapidly approaching un-roped party of three. That indicates poor judgement and is unsafe behavior in and of itself. And regarding commitment to safety, what about the poor young soul who tumbled to his death last week because he was not clipped into the fixed rope at the top of the Lhotse face? Apparently, it is common for Sherpas moving back and forth between camps to not clip in. Interesting indeed!

    • Ganesh

      I am sure that you had to return and cancel your expedition from Tibet Side new route for sking because Lakpa said he has family and even Kami wanted to go with you. So think now are you able to go single leaving them behind for your own expedition. Now trust who is responsible for you Simone or Shrerpa???

      • Stephen Koch

        I do not understand what you mean with your comments about Lakpa and Kami, the two Sherpa I hired through Peak Promotions for my Everest Snowboard Expedition in 2003 via the Direct Hornbein Couloir. We did not use fixed ropes or oxygen and went during the monsoon season. Lakpa and Kami were excellent workers and companions during the expedition. As far as going alone, that was never the plan; hence my partner Jimmy Chin and the participation of Lakpa and Kami. So it is a mute point. I think all three, I would not hesitate to have Simone as a partner who I would trust completely. And Kami and Lakpa are very strong, fun and hard working men who I also trust. I hope this clears things up. If you have been in touch with Kami and Lakpa, I would be interested to know their take on this. And please tell them hello from me.

        • JB

          Hi Jimmy, I just wanted to let you know that Ganesh doesn’t seem like he is a climber, but at tha same time, he does speak about Sherpa climbers, which is cool. Therefore, all the commercial expedition is causing this comment. We all know that rock need dirt support. There was a miscommunication and people don’t know how to handle the situation.

          Jimmy, Thank you for all your support toward the Sherpas.

  • mjb fresh

    macho bsh*t…all of it…money, power, male dominated macho bsh*t…everyone is to blame, but particularly those who ‘colonized’ this mountain, from the west…every 2% BMI middle aged millionaire obsessed and bored Western macho man has Everest on his bucket list radar…just go back to the Chugach and heli ski with your hedge fund bros….

  • Wowzerz

    I think I’ve read every account including the poorly translated versions available on the web. Sounds like ego causing problems on both sides…

    For those of us watching from afar, Everest is really starting to be a shit show. The whole idea of hundreds of people summitting within a small window every year is a total joke.

    I once considered myself an aspiring mountaineering, having only dabbled in it so far. As time goes on, the whole appeal of the sport has died down for me. Drama like this doesn’t help my developing opinion that the sport is ruled by big DB’s.

  • JB

    It is very sad to hear what happened, but one thing from my own experience is that people should’ve learned from 1996 and 1997; when western and European guides got paid over $100,000 and they thought that they were the king of the mountain. They are acting as the macho men thinking that they own the mountain. Bottom line is no matter when there is a big tragedy, Sherpa people are the one that have to face with most work and rescue.

  • robert

    asked for a fight and got one!

  • Matt

    I’d really like to know how this is being reported by journalists in Katmandu (sp?) that have interviewed the Nepali climbers and/or Sherpa involved. While sad, this is a fascinating story.

  • inthemountainsdefense

    I perceive the Western commercial guiding companies and possibly the associated heads of Nepali based trekking agencies entirely have their interests at heart in this one.

    They are entirely propagandizing this situation by using the generalized squeaky-clean image of the Sherpa guiding community to guilt the public and wrongfully victimize those who were assaulted in this uprising. Here is some probable evidence from a dispatch from one of the main guiding companies and it coincides with Chad Kellogg’s report. It also lays out who organized the route fixing and what companies had their Sherpas take part in this assignment. Therefore, if those 16-18 Sherpas who were fixing the lines were the most probable instigators of this event, then potentially the companies associated with those Sherpas ultimately hold the smoking gun.

    “Ang Jangbu reports “the fixing crew explored the original 1953 route on Lhotse Face, which is further to the climbers’ right and meanders through the ramps and seracs on the lower part of the face (this was the route used in 2012). However, they ran into a lot of small crevasses on the lower part and a large crevasse near lower Camp 3 that are problematic. So, the fixing crew decided that it would be better to revert to the direct route, which climbs straight to Camp 3, to the left of the seracs. They returned to Camp 2 and will head back up tomorrow to get the direct route fixed to Camp 3. Phunuru walked around the different camps at Camp 2 this evening and we have commitments from these teams for the fixing tomorrow: Himex: 4 Sherpas; Astrek: 2 Sherpas; AAI: 2 Sherpas; AC: 2 Sherpas; JG: 2 Sherpas; Miura: 2 Sherpas; IMG: 4 Sherpas for a total of 16 Sherpas. They are planning to leave Camp 2 at 6:30 AM, split into 2 teams, and try to fix two lines all the way to Camp 3. We will see how it goes and keep you posted. All our Sherpas carried to Camp 2 today and are taking a rest day tomorrow. Then, half of the team will move to Camp 2 the day after to stay, and the second half will carry more supplies to Camp 2.”

    —Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

  • Feh.

    Who gives a @#$%? Really. Utterly superfluous. Everest is a bloated, grotesque sideshow, with almost no relevance to our climbing lives. It’s like a suburban mall on a Saturday.

  • MC Yorks

    I am a hobby climber and understand a bit about mountaineering. Ueli and Simone are among the best climbers there are nowadays. And I happen to know Ueli and have been following his career for years now. He is the guy who climbed the north face of the eiger un-roped, un-assisted in less then 3 hours. He’s climbed other 8,000m peaks also un-assisted, un-roped in record times. He is that good. I know less about Simone, but my understanding is that he is a good guy and has been going to Nepal for years now. I doubt that they intentionally would have provoked the sherpas. I doubt it too that Simone would have gone to the radio to instigate a fight with sherpas. These 2 men are professional climbers. They are paid to do what they do. Unless this Garret guy shows the transcripts of that radio call Simone made I seriouslly doubt his side of the story. It seems he has hired the sherpas that acted so violently. He is trying to save his own commercial expedition. If i were one of his clients I would get the hell out of there. People can die. Hell, people do die there without the “help” of young uncontrolled sherpas….

  • snowman

    When people see someone doing something better than them they get jealous, I am sure the lead Sherpa instigator didn’t like the fact that moro, steck, and Griffiths were hauling ass and making them look bad, a lot of pride gets people into situations like this. If you are rigid in your beliefs then you will be broken. I think all westerners have been good about observing the Nepalese culture and following their guidelines but do they return the favor and ever think like steck ? Maybe they can’t wrap their head around how these guys have so much talent and can speed climb with no oxygen, ropes, or guides…….maybe they just didn’t like seeing a bunch of all-stars tearing up their mountain….Same thing happens at every local mountain on any given powder day, everyone is having fun except for the local.

  • Ganesh

    Thanks for the comment I really appreciate it. But it is sad to know that everybody are against Sherpa people to spit their anger. This conflict between Sherpa and Westerner climber had happened for the first time in the history of Everest. But nobody have to forget that how important are the Sherpa people for western climber in order to achieve their goal just for to live their lives by earning few amounts. I know few companies have formed the organization to set up the fixed rope up to the summit. And now it become commercialize. But this idea was also came for the Western leader to earn money from another way. Which was started by Russel Brice from Tibet side to raise money from different agents and take responsible to fix the rope all the way. And when he was banned in Tibet then he started to run the expedition from south. So, his agent and himself begin to collect money and buy ropes and pays extra amount to their sherpa to fix the rope all the way to Summit. Now what is going on Everest is that some Nepalese agency along with Western are collecting huge amount of money to fix the line to the summit. Which are not accepted by many Nepalese agencies. But there is no option and just have to accept their rules.

    So, my opinion is that issue should be raised for those agencies instead of Sherpa climber because they are treated by agencies and western climber as a porter on Everest like the owner treated the donkey while they are carrying the loads and just get food for day and night. This exactly happened to the Sherpa Climber. I have even heard that some veteran climber during IMAX 1996 Everest treated Sherpa Climber as a porter and hired them just to carry loads up to south col. He stated “You are my porter and I paid your agency to work here so you have to work as my order”. So, in this point where is the harmony of human being towards Sherpa climber?? And nobody has to forget that for each and every expedition is not become a successful expedition without a support of Sherpa climber. So nobody have to forget how important Sherpa are in the mountain. I know this is happened by few Sherpa due to their agent but not by all. Each and every expedition agent even they are western are having Sherpa. For god sake to not undermine Sherpa Climber.
    Why hiring Sherpa Climber by western agent?
    If you compare Sherpa Climber with westerner then you cannot compete with Sherpa Climber because they are mountain goat. Well, maybe technically , Westerner are good but physically nobody dare with Sherpa Climber. I am telling because if there is not Sherpa climbers hired on Mt. Everest then most of the climbers both commercial and noncommercial would have been died on Everest. The westerner leader are just up in the mountain to make critical decision during summit time and walk along with the members. But Sherpa Climber had to carry all loads up to south col and summit around 15 to 30 kg just to earn money for their lives. They have to carry tent, oxygen, food ect. And even during summit time they have to put off their gloves to replace oxygen of the climbing member and even carry their extra oxygen along with their own oxygen bottle. So, I would like to tell that every record and summit of Westerner climber there is always role of Sherpa climber behind their success. And sad that nobody proudly mentioned their name on their books, journals and movies. Very Very sad to know that all media undermine the Sherpa climber. And also lots of Sherpa climber had to die not camp 2 and summit but nobody raise the voice for them instead of making bing issue of Simone moro’s issue.

    • karma

      iam Sherpa guide iam 200 percent agre with gansh jee i did many expedition Everest and other mountan but like ueli he said he alpine we climb only after Sherpa i mens when Sherpa fix rute,
      if they want climb alpine they have to fix them self.
      years 2008 my clints sccot finish his O2 neer south summit he was almsot died and i helped him with my O2 evean i didnot us O2 but after all when he beck kathmandu he never paid my summit summit bonus, mostly i can say wesaten people selfish,

  • Chris

    I’d encourage everyone to actually read Chad Kellog’s and Garrett Madison’s pieces, rather than solely rely on the selected quotes from the Adventure Journal. I know both of these climbers well and have little reason to doubt either of their perspectives.

    Chad’s account:
    Garrett’s account:

  • EmbargoCommercialEverest

    Would you endanger your dreams and commitments, forfeit your years of training, fight your best Sherpa friends (with whom you summitted the years before) and confront a 75-strong mob… all these just for fun or lack of control ? (from world’s top athletes, climbers and pilots…?)
    Uli is arguably one the best climbers we have today this side of Messner. I know he trained for years, and i read since about his mental and phy. preparation of this trip. Now he’s deeply traumatized, hardly expected from a man with nerves of steel…

    Trivia bit: Just the Everest-related paperwork for Uli has costed ca. 50K$, of which presumably Nepal and the Sherpa may have already benefited, directly or not.

    I wasn’t there, hence i had to read lots and put pieces together – from both sides.
    “Do not cross our lines…”: Untenable and impossible on a crowded mountain during a tight meteo window! Akin to the pro photographer pointing a camera in a certain direction, holding it there for eternity (while tourists step in/out his trap), and demanding that nobody else crosses ‘his’ line from lens to infinity… on a busy beach or famous venue.

    My nature is against taking sides, yet this sad case seems easier than solving differential equations: The best athletes don’t prepare for Olympics just to give up the race –in top shape!– before starting it, and in stead indulge in getting a beating (or worse) from a 25x stronger mob… Then run home to face defeat (from what?), loose sleep and wonder WHY…?!?

    Were the Sherpa manipulated?
    Or their feelings, egos and recent experiences have all concurred to attack their previous friends and arguably prior benefactors (who this time had another plan than to hire their services)? And does it take 50-100 Sherpa to deliver a “i was insulted” message to 3 people?

    Till this case is solved appropriately, and bully behaviors removed from the mountain, I and my friends will cease any activities, trips and charities for this part of the world. We respect the Sherpa, their hard life, work and dedication. Yet i can’t condone such attitude, particularly not funded by my money. And perhaps we should also learn to respect the Mountain more than just an income source.

    What can i learn from here? Mitch

  • Brenda

    I think it’s time to stop climbing Everest for a decade or so and let the Sherpas be kings of the mountain. without any “white eyes” to hire them.

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