Violence Hits Mt. Everest As Sherpas Fight With Ueli Steck, Others

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UPDATED 3:30 p.m. April 29

Well, this is an inauspicious start to the spring climbing season on Mt. Everest. Famed alpinists Ueli Steck and Simone Moro, along with Jonathan Griffith, got into a fight with Sherpas from another expedition in a conflict over climbing etiquette on Saturday, April 27, with the trio retreating from Camp 2 back to Base Camp after they said they were attacked by a “mob” and felt their lives were threatened. All three were reported to have been banged up in the confrontation; Steck (below right) spent the night in a hospital and returned by helicopter to Base Camp, where he and Moro are considering restarting their climb. (UPDATE: Moro and Steck are pulling the plug. Read more below.) According to Steck, three Sherpas were removed from the mountain.

ueli steckDetails are still sketchy and mostly one-sided — No2 released a lengthy statement about the incident via Moro’s website (posted in full below), but the group of Sherpas has not spoken to the media at length.

Anish Gupta of Cho-Oyu Trekking, the Kathmandu-based company whose Sherpas were involved, told Agence France Press, “We were told our clients and the guides fought on their way to Camp 3. We don’t have all the details yet, but our clients have come down off the peak.”

According to Moro, he, Steck, and Griffith were climbing unroped on the Lhotse Face from Camp 2 to their tent at lower Camp 3 at 7200 meters. Sherpas were installing fixed ropes on the face, so the trio ascended parallel but about 150 yards away from the lines. When they reached the elevation of their tent, they traversed and Griffith stepped over the ropes. As Steck was passing, the lead climbing Sherpa above them began shouting and banging his ice tools, Moro said, and then he rappelled down the line to confront the trio. Angry words were exchanged, and the Sherpa pulled his crew of 17 off the lines and descended to Camp 2.

In an effort to appease the Sherpas, Steck fixed an additional 260 meters of rope to Camp 3, but it didn’t make the situation better — when the three descended to Camp 2 later in the day, they were assaulted by a large group of Sherpas, Moro’s statement said.

MORE ON EVEREST FIGHT

“By the time the climbers descended back to Camp 2 some 100 Sherpas had grouped together and attacked the three climbers. They became instantly aggressive and not only punched and kicked the climbers, but threw many rocks as well. A small group of Westerners acted as a buffer between the out of control mob and the climbers, and they owe their lives to these brave and selfless people.”

The Sherpas claimed that one of their crew had been hit by falling ice caused by Moro (left), Steck, or Griffith. The Europeans were dismissive.

“As it stands no Sherpa has come forward to show any injury,” said the No2 statement. “Furthermore on an ice face getting hit by chunks of ice is a very natural occurrence. The climbers believe that the lead Sherpa was tired and cold and felt that his pride had been damaged as the three climbers were moving unroped and much faster to the side of him.”

An American climber who witnessed the exchange and spoke to Agence France Press on the condition of anonymity said, “The Sherpas told the team not to climb above them while they were fixing the ropes but they did it anyway. Then some ice fell and hit the Sherpas, which made them angry.”

As for the fight, “It was terrifying to watch – they nearly got killed,” they said.

The local police said they were investigating the conflict, though from afar.

“We’re committed to arresting those guilty of this incident and we will provide all necessary security to the foreigners,” said Sitaram Karki, chief district officer of the Solukhumbu region. “Unfortunately the area is out of our reach due to the distance.”

simone moroIn a statement released Monday on Steck’s website, the expedition said, “The three climbers feel that they don’t believe that their actions were the reasons behind such a mass attack. They believe that the reaction was from a far more deep rooted and long term problem, which is the way that Nepalis feel treated by westerners on the mountain and this was a uprising against that. The three climbers are completely independent and not part of any commercial expedition.”

Given the he said/she said nature of the conflict, the full truth may never be known, but surely the history of Everest will be smudged with a strange black chapter in the 60th anniversary year of its first ascent. If it happened to unknown climbers, it might fade into obscurity. But Steck and Moro are among the most widely known professional alpinists today and, at least, it will be one more ugly piece of evidence for those who say there are too many people on Everest. It’s an Everest “first” that no one wants.

Noted Himalayan climbing historian Elizabeth Hawley told Reuters, “I have not heard of any such incident before.”

There is one bit of whimsy, though: The British mainstream media, which clearly doesn’t know climbing, relied on a poor Google translation of a Nepal newspaper report that changed Steck’s name to “Wool Stick.”

For more on this story, see our latest coverage, including an accounting from the Sherpas’ perspective.

UPDATE: 3:30 p.m. EST, April 29, 2013

Simone Moro and Ueli Steck have ended their No2 expedition. In an interview with Planet Mountain, Moro said, “We’re abandoning the expedition…Despite having met those who attacked us, having embraced and having forgiven them, I wanted that the meeting with everyone at Base Camp ended with my words that underlined the esteem I have for the Sherpa and Nepal, but I also stated that this violence killed our climbing dream and that we are leaving. I will probably stay on, but only to fly the helicopter and carry out rescue operations, but Ueli and Jon will return home. I want to add that that fact that I wish to stay and help with rescues (free for the Sherpa people) shows my desire to help these people. Everyone here is shocked and aware of the violence that was committed, they realised that a simple handshake isn’t enough to change a relationship that has mutated too much since that one in 1953. Today Everest is too much of a business and there are too many heroes.”

The full statement by Steck and Moro’s No2 expedition follows:

At about 8am on 27th April 2013 Simone Moro (IT), Ueli Steck (CH), and Jonathan Griffith (UK) left Camp 2 to reach a tent at around 7200m (lower Camp 3) on the Lhotse Face of Mount Everest. A team of high altitude sherpas were ‘fixing’ the Lhotse face and the climbers were asked to not touch the fixed ropes they were establishing. As such the trio climbed about 50m away and to the side of the Sherpa team to avoid disturbing them in their work. It should be noted that all three climbers have extensive climbing experience all over the world and were very aware of the work being carried out by the Sherpas and the respect given to them for it.

When the three climbers reached the height of their already established tent, they traversed across the snow and were forced to step over the lines of the Sherpas to reach their tent about 20 meters to the side. The climbers chose to step across the lines at a belay stance where 4 other sherpas were attached to the ice face whilst their lead climber continued to fix the line above. Stepping over the lines does not interfere in any way with the work being carried out. The climbers were soloing and not using ropes so there was no rope tangling either. In addition by passing beneath the lead climber no ice or snow could be knocked down on him.

Jonathan Griffith was in the lead at this point and after crossing the rope and traversing another 15 meters on a snow ramp Ueli Steck followed. At the point where Ueli Steck stepped over the rope the lead climber noticed the climbers below and began shouting and banging the ice with his axe erratically. Still shouting down at the climbers, he fixed his rope and abseiled down to the belay stance. As Ueli was soloing and therefore not attached to a rope it was natural that he should hold his hands up to take the impact of the force arriving on him from the lead climber abseiling right on to him. This prompted the lead climber to accuse Ueli Steck of ‘touching him’. In between hitting the ice with all his force and screaming at Ueli Steck ‘why you touch me’ he said that they had kicked ice down on them and injured a Sherpa. Seeing as the trio were climbing a completely independent line and entirely on snow this is highly unlikely.

Ueli Steck tried to help calm the situation by offering to help fix the lines up to Camp 3 but this only made matters worse. Simone Moro then joined the team and the lead climber turned on him wielding his ice axe in his direction. Simone swore at the lead climber as is the natural reaction when faced with this aggression. No amount of talking would calm the lead Sherpa down and as a final act of defiance he ordered his whole team of 17 Sherpas off the Lhotse Face and back to Camp 2. There was no reason to descend off the mountain because of the three climbers. They had not touched or interfered with the Sherpa’s work. To help smooth things over Ueli Steck fixed a further 260m of rope to Camp 3.

By the time the climbers descended back to Camp 2 some 100 Sherpas had grouped together and attacked the three climbers. They became instantly aggressive and not only punched and kicked the climbers, but threw many rocks as well. A small group of Westerners acted as a buffer between the out of control mob and the climbers, and they owe their lives to these brave and selfless people. Nevertheless all three climbers were attacked as well as many of the Westerners who were trying to calm the situation down. The climbers were told that by that night one of them would be dead and the other two they would see to later. After about 50 minutes the crowd had calmed down and the climbers, who had been pushed away and told to hide, had regrouped and were told that if they weren’t gone in one hour that they would all be killed.

The climbers packed the bare essentials and made a circuitous route back down to the base of Mount Everest in heavily crevassed terrain with no rope on, feeling that given the current situation this was the safest place to be.

The Sherpas said that the reason they attacked the climbers was because they had knocked ice down on a Sherpa below. As it stands no Sherpa has come forward to show any injury. Furthermore on an ice face getting hit by chunks of ice is a very natural occurrence. The climbers believe that the lead Sherpa was tired and cold and felt that his pride had been damaged as the three climbers were moving unroped and much faster to the side of him. Whatever the reason may be, there is no reason to instigate vigilante rule and to try and kill three visiting climbers.

The Nepalese authorities have taken the matter very seriously as have commercial teams on the mountain. At the moment the 3 ring leaders have been taken off the mountain and the Police, Ministry of Tourism and the head of the Sherpa Association are investigating.

The three climbers would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who saved their lives at Camp 2 and to those who are now taking over the investigation.”

Photo of Ueli Steck by Péron Ludovic/Wikimedia Commons


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{ 71 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Tony

    Tis is sad! I don’t want the Sherpas to be in any way subservient, but there is no way this would have happened in the golden years of the Himalayas. They are succumbing to commercialism.

  • Dan

    It is indeed sad, but I don’t see that it has anything to do with commercialism. I’d really like to find out the cause of their aggression, but we probably never will.

    • rak

      You are an apologist for mass violence against outnumbered people. The “Cause of their aggression” was that the locals seized an opportunity to show how pissed they were that better climbers didn’t need their services.

    • max

      Nothing to do with commercialism? Without commercially guided tours there wouldn’t be a need for a 17 man team fixing ropes up a face others are soloing.
      If it weren’t for commercialism there wouldn’t be a huge chasm between local nepalese guides doing all the hard, dangerous work and the over fed over paid corporate ‘expeditioners’ out for a spring romp.
      If it wasn’t for over blown commercial guiding companies there would be no need for competition between guides to get paid, there wouldn’t be people hustling to take rich bastards up and there wouldn’t be resentment towards climbers choosing to be pure and forego guides because they have actually put years of effort and training into climbing mountains and know what they’re doing.
      If it wasn’t for commercialism there wouldn’t be salty sherpas irritated at the end of long, hard, cold days work with no one to take it out on but non paying western climbers.
      Nothing to do with commercialism. pfft.

  • cynthia

    Schade. Viel Glück, alles. Ist Everest…

    What a shame. Good luck, everyone. It’s Everest…

    C’est une dommage. Bonne chance. C’est l’Everest….

  • Pari

    It is sad to hear that this happened on the 60 Anniversary of Everest’s first ascent. I am glad that the climbers are safe and hope both parties could resolve this issue peacefully. This is still a one-sided story and there is no version from the Sherpas who don’t have an access to press and media as these climbers do.
    I agree with Tony, the Himalayan mountains are succumbing to commercialism and we may see more of these kind of incidences in future. This is bad for mountaineering community.

    • rider 50

      Yes! It is amazing how the rich continue to be the ones who write history. The climbers story is being written and has been generated all over the net. Where is the other side of the story? These incidents do not just happen for no apparent reason. I am sure the Nepali people acted with good reason. The westerners should not have been climbing above the rope setter in such a dangerous area. One of the Nepali rope setters has already died fixing line for westerners this season. So come on world, lets not be to quick to judge. Use your head!

      • Adam Olson

        The report reads that Steck and his partners were passing at the belay, below the leader, ropeless.

        I guess getting your ass handed to you on the Lhotse Face by free climbing, rich westerners is good reason for an ass kicking on Everest these days.

        • Josh

          It seems many people forget, those Sherpas choose to be there. One trip up Everest can feed their families for 1/3-1/2 of the year. Commercialization of an isolated and simple people isn’t our fault. They are fed off the backs of these overly rich morons that purchase a ticket up Everest on their backs. As much as I hate those people, it is the Sherpas choice to go up there in a life-or-death situation and deal with a rich westerner.

  • mian asad

    Sherpas are also human beings and deserve to be treated as one.
    And this is high time that whites, travelling to this part of the world stop thinking
    Like viceroy of british INDIA.
    POUR SHERPAS will not attack westners for nothing.

  • Sonam G. Sherpa

    Dear Frend, it is sad news … but don’t use this SHERPA word… they had fight with assistant climber. they should be other cast from nepal too. Sherpa is a cast not servant in the Himalaya and Please don’t forget without sherpa you can’t do success your expedition also..
    thank you !!!

    • MF Cushing

      This entire article, that issue bothered me. Nowhere else would it be acceptable to state a phrase like “Cho-Oyu Trekking, the Kathmandu-based company whose [insert ethnicity here] were involved.”
      The fact that the mountaineering community still describes professional porters, assistant climbers, and guides by their ethnicity/caste as dismissive short-hand is deeply disrespectful and ignorant. I was nauseated by the way this article and responses addressed the story, and its one-sidedness, seemingly without any real effort to interview or inquire further as to the perspective of those accused in the incident before publishing. With so many people involved, to categorically ignore their side of the story is remarkably dismissive and wrong.
      I empathize with Steck and the others injured in the incident, but I am deeply disappointed in the author of this article, and the rest of the climbing community that keeps the focus of Everest on their egos, and not on the glory of the challenge and those who live it every day.

        • Ck

          I really hope the Nepalese do not censor or alter the story of the Sherpas for the sake of tourist revenue. Us westerners needs to remember we are guest in this part of the world. Even with all our money wealth we have no right to disrespect the wishes of a people in their home. This business feeds and clothes their children, they would not act so savagely without reason. However, if this one sided story is true, I’m sure the Sherpa community will do what is best for their families as well as the future of climbing in the region.

          • KatieKatie

            BRILLIANT words. The home of the Sherpa was being visited by these climbers. Just because you’re a guest doesn’t mean you can do anything you want. You might even learn and live the protocol of the mountain. Not sure what to think about “hey look at how helpful I am and I’m obviously the bigger man here” statement. You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem. Maybe this mountain is not for you anymore? Perhaps some of you who proclaim your love for this mountain will band together and figure out the best way to make sure that everyone wins. ESPECIALLY those who have an existence on the mountain that goes beyond sport.

  • Michael

    I wonder if the truth will be know, and any apologies will be made?
    It was the Daily Mail here in the UK which reported “Wool Stick” – they are renound for poor journalism such as that :(

    • mian asad

      Right!
      Mont Everest has become like a walk in the street, for the experienced climber

      And others also enjoy the feast with less experience but some will.

      Lots is possible, courtesy, these poor hard working, highly skilled Serpas.

      Who could never put their names in the list of those greats who have got the honours of reaching the top of the top of the world void they don’t have the money.No money, no name.

  • Carol

    Lest we forget…It Is Their Mountain! Climbers are guests in their country, climbing on their mountain, and letting them do the heavy and menial chores while the Euros get all the glory. What the Euros did was rude, and endangered the workers. When a guest, it is proper to follow the rules of the host. But then, the sons and daughters of privilege are taught and believe that they are superior to others, and that their presence is an honor for the “lesser peoples” of the world. Considering the mess the EU is in today, it might be time to rethink that assumption of superiority.

    • DamonQuade

      Yes, the guides who happen to be Sherpa do so much for all of the commercially guided clients. But please do not confuse them with the three who were involved in this incident. Steck, Griffith, and Moro were climbing independently and not using the fixed lines. In fact, they are there to establish a new route. I feel that there is no place on the mountain for so many fixed lines. I thought that people were going to Everest to actually climb. How can it be considered a climb if there is a hand rail that goes all of the way to the top? When I am climbing and encounter a slower moving party, it is acceptable to pass them as long as I do not impede their progress. Should they have communicated better? Sure, but that doesn’t warrant such abuses.

  • M. John Fayhee

    I feel the same way when Texans and Californians come to New Mexico and act like entitled assholes. (Actually, it’s not really an act.) Maybe we need to start organizing stone-throwing assault teams, though it’s always hard to organize anything here.

    • rak

      Standard-issue PC kabuki “outrage” against “nasty outsiders”. Yawn. New Mexico is no different than anywhere else in that area.

  • david

    “Furthermore on an ice face getting hit by chunks of ice is a very natural occurrence. The climbers believe that the lead Sherpa was tired and cold and felt that his pride had been damaged as the three climbers were moving unroped and much faster to the side of him.”

    So Moro’s defense is that it’s “natural” to rain chunks of ice down the massive Lhotse Face at sherpas who have asked you not to climb above them for this very reason, and then maintains that the sherpa was only angry was because Moro is so fast and awesome. And then he’s surprised the sherpas decided to kick his ass back down the mountain? Lol.

    • DamonQuade

      Why do they need to fix the entire mountain with rope? At what point can you still call it climbing? Should an entire face be shut down because some people want to reduce the mountain to their abilities or should people increase their abilities to the level which the route requires? I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what really happened, but it seems like all of this synthetic infrastructure might be taking a little something away from what people are there to do; go climbing with ice tools and crampons not miles of ropes.

      • AdamT

        Completely agree – the way you climb is more important than the summit. Everest is a test of endurance for sure, but using fixed ropes is not climbing. Having others carry your gear is not climbing. Using oxygen knowing it can be summited without is not climbing.

        • Disgusted

          What arrogance. “Using oxygen knowing it can be summited without is not climbing.” “Running a marathon in four hours knowing it can be done in under three is not running.”

          • Florin

            I’m guessing, sorry if I am wrong, but you have no understanding of climbing when you make the comparison with running. Maybe you should look up for what ethics means and how is defined among climbers. And by the way, I ran marathons and ultras and I climb too, so I know what I am talking about. Anyway, a sad incident indeed, I my opinion generated by the desire of some ordinary hikers, because the fixed ropes was for them, to “conquer” the highest point of the planet, while true climbers have no room on the mountain.

  • RAM

    There are two sides to every story, but having lived/worked in rural Nepal I have seen the violent mob phenomenon occur regularly, and get out of hand very quickly. This can occur over things as simple as theft of water, school curricula, who receives charity and who doesn’t, where locals buy certain commodities, the opening of businesses on protest days, etc.

    In this instance, I would tend to side with the Europeans, as this is “not their first rodeo,” particularly after seeing the potential for rapid onset of violence in Nepal. However, there are always two sides to every story.

    • Pasang Sherpa

      Ram, it is true that mob mentality occurs frequently in Nepal and frankly in any country. However, if I had think of one group where the mob mentality is not prevalent, it would be among Sherpas. Sherpas are hands down among the most hard working, trust worthy people you can find anywhere in the world. The story presented here is very one-sided. Where’s the other side of the story? I would refrain from jumping to conclusions until the full picture comes out. There’s a reason why Sherpas are respected the world over, not just as great climbers, but as people of immense character, work ethics, honesty and loyalty.

  • rak

    So… the actual climbers embarrased the tourist trade unionists who then, seizing upon an unlikely pretext, attacked them en masse whereupon the standard-issue white guilt apologists (yawn) spring to the defense of the violent mob. I think that’s about right.

    • Rinaldo

      @ Rak: You’re sounding like an elitist-know-it-all. You clearly were not there (neither was I dude), but the reports that are coming out are clearly one-sided and no mention has been made of what actually happened from the Sherpa’s perspective. Maybe I should come to your home and tell you how to do things. Remember, regardless of who the European climbers are, local cultures and traditions need to be respected when you’re in another part of the world…unless you’re of the opinion that the indigenous culture is far below your own and does not deserve to be respected?

      • Jon

        Lets examine those traditions, like stealing profusely from the packs they carry, like abandoning work details to short rope a millionaire woman up the mountain, like organizing slow downs every time they make a demand, like failing to complete fixing missions, like refusing to progress higher up the mountain, like avoiding dangerous assignments, and on and on and on.

        The sherpa is a myth, a pawn of big western business now. they have abandoned whatever was good in their culture of their own free will, decades ago. Read accounts of expeditions in the last 40 years; it’s all there, and not pretty.

        • Rinaldo

          @ Jon: Regardless of what may or may not be considered traditional to us as Westerners. What may seem completely illogical to you may make perfect sense to someone else. I believe the issue needs to be at looked strictly within the confines of the actual incident. What did the European climbers do to offend the locals? What were they asked to do? What were they asked not to do? Could their actions have been deemed offensive? Whether or not they (Steck and co.) actually endangered the lives of the Sherpa’s working below them is open to debate, but the locals need to be respected and not treated like second class citizens in their own country. Yes, they may be famous climbers and considered among the best climbers currently but they are surely fallible and prone to human frailties including arrogance (I’m not saying that they were arrogant in this instance).

          • rak

            @Rinaldo “I believe the issue needs to be at looked strictly within the confines of the actual incident.” OK, the actual incident is that 100 people attacked 3 with rocks, fists and knives based on a dubious pretext. The reason your defense of this seems tortured is that you are attempting to defend the indefensible while saying that you are not.

          • Rinaldo

            @ Rak: “The reason your defense of this seems tortured is that you are attempting to defend the indefensible while saying that you are not”. Far from it, the very fact that your response, “the actual incident is that 100 people attacked 3 with rocks, fists and knives based on a dubious pretext” as far you are concerned is the entire incident and that you fail to recognise that there must have been a ‘trigger’ that initiated the response indicates to me that you’ve chosen to be rather myopic as opposed to viewing the incident in it’s entirety.

  • Climber

    Sounds like whatever the climber yelled back at the lead sherpa is what set them off, sounds like something is missing. Not saying it’s an excuse for violence, but would like to know what was said in anger.

  • Cristian Marius Balaceanu

    It is really hard to hear events like this – but on Everest situation has changed from previous Years. It Scares me this situations, too many climbers on the mountain, Sherpas work fast to install ropes on Lhotse Face, the climbers want to climb Everest very fast and appears this kind of problems. I can not tell personally about situation. I told you my opinion . Don’t forget what’s happened in 2012 when 12 climbers died. Authorities need to take decizions to stop this kind of events. Hundreds of clients – not all are mountaneers, on single rute – Everest is very crowded, really hard this situation. I think on Everest is necessary like sherpas to finish their work ( instaling ropes) after the clients may climb how they wish.

  • Doma Sherpa

    Other side of the Story
    Only Statements from Ueli Steck – and the other side. What do you mean to the picutre from Everest Camp: Ueli Steck with the Coca Cola in his Hands? Who carries the food to basecamp? All the porters! He’s telling all the time I don’t need porters. He’s telling Mount Everest ist a skipole mountain and the normal route is a Sunday walk. Please think about what this means to the porters and climbers before you say it.

    • rak

      The porters carry supplies because they are paid to do it. They do not volunteer. And climbing is done all over the World, including Antarctica, without the help of porters.
      Guys like Steck taught the Sherpas how to climb. They have no history of technical climbing. Their great asset is impressive endurance at altitude due to living at that altitude. Can anyone name a significant first ascent, ANYWHERE, accomplished by Sherpas except when led by other climbers?
      Sorry, but competently working the standard, relativley low angle, tourist routes (all established by western climbers btw) is not the same as doing big, high angle technical wallls.

      • max

        I’m sure you taught yourself all you know about technical climbing. In fact, you must have come up with all the techniques one employs to summit huge peaks. Because anyone who was ever taught anything wouldn’t blather on with such arrogant slime.
        When someone brings you food at a restaurant do you thank them? I mean, they’re paid to do it, they didn’t volunteer.
        When you pay a few coins to stay in someones home do you trash the place and defecate in the hallway? You paid, so shouldn’t you have the right to insult and degrade them in anyway possible?
        What can you possibly be on about? You seem to have a personal vendetta against Sherpas and porters. Did one of them laugh at you for not crushing at altitude like he can?

        • rak

          Yikes! I guess when you can’t pound on the facts you can always pound on the table.

          And sorry I have’nt logged in the last couple days, I’ve been busy teaching Sherpas how to climb.

  • David

    The climbers were asked not to climb above and in the European Climbing arrogance did so anyway. In the porcess ice may or may not have been dislodged. But in a stressfull setting when asked to not do something that effects everyone on the mountain and you do it anyway what did they think would happen. The choose to disregard the request and should be removed from the mountain period. Ueli Steck doesn’t need a porter on the mountain is not exactly true. He doesn’t carry any supplies or any consumables just what is on his back when climbing. I have been to Everest Base camp and there is only a couple of ways to get supplies there and it isn’t on Ueli’s back. That is the perfect example of climbing arrogance.

  • Rabin Sherpa

    We Sherpa are just like any other maoist converted to capitalism.
    Greed is taking over… and like any Nepali we Sherpas also do not mind peeing on our own food table.

    Thank you.. honest observations.. now that I’ve lived in US for long and understand…

    • Pasang Sherpa

      My honest observation is that you are a jealous non-Sherpa here to smear the pristine reputation of the Sherpas. You don’t even know that Rabin is not a Sherpa name. Rabin is a Hindu name while Sherpas are Buddhists.

      • rak

        Looking at the various comments on the various blogs it would appear that the Sherpas do not have an exactly “pristine” reputation ……and MUCH less so now.

        Mob violence under ANY pretext is bad advertising.

      • rak

        BTW My opinion, clearly stated in the various blogs, is the the Sherpas, while clearly not without considerable alpine skills, are highly overrated as technical climbers by the general public. But I’ve always thought that they were hard-working, loyal and friendly. I’m well past my years of serious climbing but had hoped to go trekking with the luxury of porters in the next couple years. Sadly I, and many others, should probably reconsider that now.

        • Danny

          To Rak: Honestly, any country is better off without swollen headed white egotist tourist like you. In all your comments, you are just blabbering about how better western climbers are. It seems like your ego must have been really damaged when you felt like a weak pink thing in front of those strong porters and sherpas who were carrying your baggages while you were in Nepal. It is completely normal to get so irritated towards them. You have read only the westerner’s part of the story.

          I don’t justify violence and physical attacks but your comments is derogatory. As for the records of first attempts or new route by Sherpas, they don’t have the money like you do to finance an expedition for themselves, nor do the Nepalese government pay for it. They climb to earn a living.

          • rak

            @Danny THANK YOU for your insightful analysis AND your rendition of “When words fail, spit instead” !

            And yes, you are an excuse-maker for violent people.

  • rak

    It occurs to me that the reason most posters are fixiated on “arrogance” (apparently the absolute worst of sins) is that they have no experience necessary to express an opinion on the actual climbing.
    Here’s the simple thing: In the climbing world slower parties are passed (politely and carefully) ALL THE TIME by better climbers. Sometimes these parties, possibly for reasons of vanity, claim that the better climbers somehow “endangered” them. It’s clear enough to me that if any SIGNIFICANT amount of ice was loosed on the Sherpas (and there were no reported injuries) it was likely from the lead Sherpa above them who, like an idiot, decided to frantically rappel back down the line and hysterically confront the better climbers who were trying to get back to their camp.

  • rak

    BTW Attempting to smooth things over, Steck apparently went back alone and fixed 250m of line for the Sherpas however this apparently only embarrased (all 17of them) further and made matters worse.

  • Des

    There is too much money involved in commercial expeditions. I’ve seen aggressive hostile actions from commercial European guides in Chamonix and on the Matterhorn. I would like to see money interests banned from all the mountains of the world.

    • rak

      I agree. This guide intimidation business didn’t begin with the Sherpas, it began in Europe. I wouldn’t mind at all if those who would venture into the mountains had to rely on themselves. The Chamonix guides used to try that stuff on me, ridiculing my wearing jeans on alpine routes (california) …except that it turned out that I was a lot faster than them.

      When thinking of adventure, the image of following orders and queing up on fixed ropes, doesn’t spring to mind.

  • garbob

    Shut down the guided trips. Stop issuing permits for a few years. Tell the wankers that some other mountain is more worthy. When enough of them drop into bottomless crevasses, maybe the world will go to reset,

  • rak

    OK, I read it. It’s a puff piece by another member of the guide association. There are far to many people willing to make excuses for mob violence as long as its commited by a prefered group or against a disfavored group (those nasty arrogant westerners).

  • Ryszard

    Hm, I am sorry but based on the presented evidence this unfortunate event looks more like a dispute evolving to a brawl between let say a group of “local climbers” with a group of “visiting climbers”. Unfortunatelly, for anyone who climbed for some time such an accidents are not unheard of. So, perhaps instead of trying to stick labels as “Sherpas” or “Euros” to participants of an event most of us are familiar anyway, we should look for a real, underlaying cause. It is amusing how quickly we take sides, blaming one party or the other. It is possible that some climbers acted agresively overprotecting what they believed was “their” territory. It is also quite possible that the reaction of local climbers to what looks like a minor issue with passing party was more due to some previous experiences with other climbers than the ones involved. Perhaps what trigger entire accident was more like a “last drop which overfilled a bucket” and a real cause is hidden much deeper. One should look for a cause to solve the problem.

  • Rinaldo

    @ Rak: lol! Touche’. Completely wrong on both accounts, but that’s not the point. Yes it is a most remarkable tool. I see my earlier comments have been removed, be that as it may, I stand by those comments. Wish you well.

    • steve casimiro Post author

      Your comment was removed because it was verging on personal attack. Please stick to the issues, everyone.

  • Christopher

    From what i read in the media, the current viewpoint of the commercial team leaders seems to be: there was bad behaviour on both sides, which should be avoided in the future, and now go on climbing and dont mention it again.
    I guess the teamleaders wont apologize to Steck/Moro/Griffith for what has happened, nor will they dismiss the (few) responsible Sherpas who behaved extremely violent and disproportionate.
    Now, everybody can draw his own conclusion what commercial climbing on everest means nowadays, and if this companionship and leadership is consistent with his own standards.
    Events like the disaster in 1996 have already shown that Everest is not the place for people who just love mountaineering, and the 2013 event strengthened this reputation.
    There are lots of beautiful and difficult peaks in the world, many of them more difficult than everest, but less spoiled with bad character. I would prefer the elite alpinists to avoid everest, declare it as an area for people who need to boost their egos but are not capable of climbing independently, and choose other more demanding goals.

  • prithivi narayan shah

    This whole climbing business only creates a corporate warrior mentality and a dependency for the Sherpas. The climbers want a notch on their belt and the Sherpas probably get used by the companies that hire them out. Ultimately, this mountain climbing needs to stop. The Sherpas needs real careers where they aren’t mules, bodies or nannies. The commercialism, violence and other nonsense be-spoil the pristine Nepalese ecosystem.

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