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12 Sherpas(and counting) dead in Everest Avalanche

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Sad day for Everest Climbers

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/04/18/avalanche-sweeps-everest--6-killed-9-missing/7858169/

 

This makes me continue to wonder if we're becoming desensitized to the risks involved. 

 

We've talked about this before. 

Everest -Increasing climbers = Increasing danger

Another story of Chaos from Everest 


Edited by Trekchick - 3/25/15 at 7:51am
post #2 of 29

We are not desensitized to risk, only sensitized to profits regardless of risk.

post #3 of 29
Very sad.
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

And now the sherpa community is asking for some change. 

Everest 2014:  Tragedy Overwhelms Everest

 

Clip from article. 

Quote:
 

Emotions and relations are tense today at Everest Base Camp with Sherpas presenting the Ministry of Tourism a set of 13 demands ranging from improved insurance to improved pay as part of the millions the government earns from permits each year.

Teams are currently on hold waiting for the Ministry to respond to the demands, They gave a date of 7 days or April 28, 2014 or they will stop climbing. Already, climbing has been halted for a period of mourning. Plus bad weather stopped all further efforts to search for bodies in the icefall. Some Sherpas, but not all, returned to their homes which are normally less than a days walk from base camp.

post #5 of 29

From what I heard, there has been a strong trend to take more risk to make these climbs. The motivation behind this is that people who can generally afford to pay and spend the time want to get the payback for this trip.... meaning they feel ripped off if they are waiting around at base camp for the while trip. IIRC, around 10 years ago, it cost around 30k to 60K for the whole venture. 

 

btw... quite a price pay if something in the bucket list. 


Edited by jack97 - 4/22/14 at 4:55am
post #6 of 29

A terrible tragedy that I hope leads to better pay and better working conditions for the Sherpas. I don't approve of the Guided Tourist Everest Climbs but I know the region really needs the tourist dollars that it brings in.

 

While at the waiting room at Rabbit Row Repair Shop in Jackson Hole this past winter I found and reread a copy of Jon Krakaurer's (sp?) Into Thin Air. Although the book is 15 or 16 year's old and the events it describes happened 18 years ago, I doubt that things have changed very much on Everest except that it is probably more crowded with tourist wannabe mountaineers and today they likely do a better job cleaning up the garbage.

post #7 of 29

Even with 12 people dead in the end this will come down to money which is the real tragedy.

post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post
 

Even with 12 people dead in the end this will come down to money which is the real tragedy.

Funny you should say that.  A New Yorker article supports your post. 

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/04/everest-sherpas-death-and-anger.html

post #9 of 29
many teams confirming they won't climb this season! from what I've heard most if not all the teams with the majority of sherpas are not climbing, and looks like without them there is no way, read an article saying teams are already planning to bring back the load of equipment from camp 2 back to the base
post #10 of 29

I don't see any significant safety improvements coming to the sherpas largely because it is impossible to control the working conditions.

 

Hopefully the clients get to pay higher fees with the additional $ going to pay for better accident and life insurance and higher wages for the sherpas.

post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 

Outsideonline has a very chilling story with comments from survivors.  This is a must read

Everest's Darkest Year 

 

 

This photo of the debris field is insane.  Photo Cred: Andy Tyson 

 

Quote:
 Below them, Hahn guided in the last body-recovery flight of the day, raising his arms in a Y signal to bring the long line down to him. Watching from Base Camp, Dr. Wallace reflected on the horror of the flights. “The lifeless bodies hanging from below the chopper, still with their helmets and crampons broke my heart,” she wrote.

 

 

Quote:
 In a syndicated op-ed cowritten by one of Tenzing Norgay’s sons, Dhamey Tenzing Norgay, the avalanche was compared to last year’s Rana Plaza garment-factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 workers. “The loss underscores a growing divide,” the piece said, “between expedition members, who pay top dollar to reach the summit, and their highly skilled Sherpa guides, who are paid a relative pittance and too often are taken for granted.”

Edited by Trekchick - 7/16/14 at 10:50am
post #12 of 29

Super chilling read.  I feel like on a fundamental level we've lost the respect and healthy fear our ancestors had of mountain environments.  There was a reason these places were sacred and rarely ventured into.  We are so eager as humans to push the limits on everything that is possible and yes that is a good thing sometimes but also it isn't just as often. 

post #13 of 29

Thanks for posting @TrekChick.  There was a lot of coverage of this locally given the number of climbers in this neck of the woods, Alpine Ascents being Seattle based, etc. but nothing this comprehensive. Heavy stuff. I can't agree with this "play if you can pay" mentality on Everest. The human cost is too high and the damage to the fragile mountain environment is too great, in my opinion.

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlox View Post
 

Thanks for posting @TrekChick.  There was a lot of coverage of this locally given the number of climbers in this neck of the woods, Alpine Ascents being Seattle based, etc. but nothing this comprehensive. Heavy stuff. I can't agree with this "play if you can pay" mentality on Everest. The human cost is too high and the damage to the fragile mountain environment is too great, in my opinion.

Lakpa Rita is based in Seattle.  Its interesting to see so much of his veteran view in this article.  

It took me some time to read in its entirety, but well worth it. 

Toward the end of the article I was intrigued by those who still feel they have been screwed by the situation because they spent money to summit Mt Everest and now the Sherpas are not working for this season. 

 

There is money involved, but there is also a very sobering event that deserves respect. 

This is very telling about the lack of respect these folks have for the mountain, the sherpas and the community. 

 

Quote from article 

Quote:
 And make no mistake: some climbers are angry. “We have been screwed by the Sherpas,” said Damien Francois, a 49-year-old Belgian who paid $28,000 to climb with an outfitter called Ever Quest Expeditions. “We are the hand that feeds the whole business, so without us, no operators. Without operators, no jobs for the Sherpas or their workers. But then we’re told, ‘Go home and come back next year.’ ” Francois, who says he’s writing a book about the 2014 “mess,” said he tried to speak out about all this at Base Camp but was told to shut up.

It is seen as a business and an attraction, much like Disney World. :nono:

post #15 of 29

Yeah, I'm not sure how this works, morally.  Sure, you have to be strong to climb that thing at all, whether or not you're being pushed uphill by Sherpas, so summiting comes with bragging rights, I guess.  But really?  Losing $28,000 and training time sucks, sure, but that's first world vexation, just piss-pot compared to what Sherpas and their families lost. And in what way have those guys been "screwed by the Sherpas"?  Sherpas didn't take their money.  If you can afford to blow $28,000 on an ego-puffcake activity, and things go wrong, tough luck.  Suck it up.  The stock market will rip that much, easy, on a sunny afternoon.

post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post
 

Yeah, I'm not sure how this works, morally.  Sure, you have to be strong to climb that thing at all, whether or not you're being pushed uphill by Sherpas, so summiting comes with bragging rights, I guess.  But really?  Losing $28,000 and training time sucks, sure, but that's first world vexation, just piss-pot compared to what Sherpas and their families lost. And in what way have those guys been "screwed by the Sherpas"?  Sherpas didn't take their money.  If you can afford to blow $28,000 on an ego-puffcake activity, and things go wrong, tough luck.  Suck it up.  The stock market will rip that much, easy, on a sunny afternoon.

 

Not sure if you took the time to read the article I posted a link to, it was long so you may not have completed it yet.  It took me some time with the usual interruptions from the day. 

 

But......this dude layer out 28,000 to the Expedition company(I'm sure he has a lot of other expenses added to it, with training, air fare, etc...) 

Meanwhile the life benefit paid to the families of the deceased Sherpas is their usual pay of $800 plus life insurance $11,000.00. 

 

Doesn't really equate well in my heart. 

 

I'm just glad that others have raised more $$ for the families of the Sherpas.

post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

 

Not sure if you took the time to read the article I posted a link to, it was long so you may not have completed it yet.  It took me some time with the usual interruptions from the day. 

 

But......this dude layer out 28,000 to the Expedition company(I'm sure he has a lot of other expenses added to it, with training, air fare, etc...) 

Meanwhile the life benefit paid to the families of the deceased Sherpas is their usual pay of $800 plus life insurance $11,000.00. 

 

Doesn't really equate well in my heart. 

 

I'm just glad that others have raised more $$ for the families of the Sherpas.

 

Yes, I read the whole thing (impressive journalism).  I agree -- and once the funeral's over, there isn't much left.  What are those kids going to do without fathers?  What about the wives?  Life is short in those countries, shorter if the main breadwinner's gone.  I don't have much sympathy for the Belgian. He isn't losing food money -- he's losing play money. 

post #18 of 29

Terrible drama, yes, but the cancellation wa only about money. Read Russ Brice's report, and many other unbiased reports by people who were there and who the whole situation in Nepal well.

BY the way, have you ever been in Nepal? Have you been on expeditions? Are you working on the film project incl. one of the main agitators of the whole cancellation movement? I do (thechooyouproject.net)

As Andrew Lock, Australia's wrote to me in an email: "All the media that I see continues to paint a myth about the Sherpas. The facts need to be stated honestly" (Andrew Lock, Australia's nr 1 mountaineer - email, May 20th 2014)

post #19 of 29

From an insider, a man who's been running expeditions on Everest for 25 years and is a legend: About 6 weeks after the terrible accident, $ 800,000 had been donated from around the world to the 16 families. Money will never replace a father, no, but what about the slaves working in Persian Gulf? What about the Gurkas killed in wars?

Many of us, climbers, help and do a great deal for the Sherpas, whom we respect a lot. My friend Robert Kay, from Nebraska, supports 8 Nepali youths! Anyone out there who does as well?

Most of the naysayers have never even been in the Himalayas. Poor creatures...

post #20 of 29

I don't own a house, nor even a flat. My car is 21 years old and all I can save is for climbing once a year in the Himalayas and stay with friends in Nepal. I got sponsorship through excellent friends. Play money? Have you ever been on an expedition, let alone, seen the Himalayas?

post #21 of 29

Yes, greed was involved. "Paisa bhanepachhi mahadevkopani tinta aamkha – When it comes down to money, even Lord Shiva has three eyes" (Nepali saying)


 

post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damien Francois View Post
 

Terrible drama, yes, but the cancellation wa only about money. Read Russ Brice's report, and many other unbiased reports by people who were there and who the whole situation in Nepal well.

BY the way, have you ever been in Nepal? Have you been on expeditions? Are you working on the film project incl. one of the main agitators of the whole cancellation movement? I do (thechooyouproject.net)

As Andrew Lock, Australia's wrote to me in an email: "All the media that I see continues to paint a myth about the Sherpas. The facts need to be stated honestly" (Andrew Lock, Australia's nr 1 mountaineer - email, May 20th 2014)

Are you saying that the article that I linked was not accurate?  I thought that it was a powerful first hand account of what happened. 

post #23 of 29

The OUTSIDE MAGAZINE piece is the best so far - because it presents the situation from various perspectives. This was even confirmed to me by Russ Brice himself this morning. We are ALL terribly sad, but there's more to the cancellation than just the accident. Much more.

post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damien Francois View Post
 

The OUTSIDE MAGAZINE piece is the best so far - because it presents the situation from various perspectives. This was even confirmed to me by Russ Brice himself this morning. We are ALL terribly sad, but there's more to the cancellation than just the accident. Much more.

I got that sense from reading the Outside Magazine article.  

Thanks for taking the time to post here about this. 

post #25 of 29

I'm publishing a book on the HOLY MOUNTAINS OF NEPAL in Kathmandu in September. I got no time and certainly no attraction whatsoever for Disney! Time to understand TV, and other surrogates is not reality!

post #26 of 29
Sounds like someone should have had trip insurance.

Are you here to bitch about your lost money or to flog your book? Clearly it's not to honor the Sherpas. Or even the climbers, IMO.

It would help if you quoted the posts you are referring to in your own posts.
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damien Francois View Post
 

I'm publishing a book on the HOLY MOUNTAINS OF NEPAL in Kathmandu in September. I got no time and certainly no attraction whatsoever for Disney! Time to understand TV, and other surrogates is not reality!

I'm a little confused. 

It seems as though you want to be a part of the discussion and offered some (vague) thoughts on the cancellation, but you seem overly critical of posts made earlier in the thread without being specific about who you're replying to. 

 

As @sibhusky said, perhaps you can quote the person you're attempting to reply to.:dunno 

 

If you're here to plug your book, then by all means contact me about getting a product page built and donate a few copies for our members to review. 

post #28 of 29

Whereas it's great, I agree, that climbers have done a lot for Sherpas, the act of climbing (or skiing, for that matter) is an optional activity.  You have a passion for it, it's extremely important to you, and it seems like life & death, but it's not.  Making a living for these people isn't optional, and once they're killed, their survivors don't have much of a safety net.  Again, it's great what the climbers and climbing companies do, but they're also taking advantage of a low-wage working environment with few real protections for the workers.  

 

You're right that Persian Gulf slavery sucks, but we're not talking about that.  The subject, at this point, is 1st worlders complaining about losing money.  In your case, you've chosen to live on the cheap to go climbing.  That's great.  But you have a choice.

post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 

I caught Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel  - Death on Everest. 

It is airing on HBO Go for the next few weeks.  If you get a chance to watch it, you should. 

 

I'm shaking my head in disbelief at the concern to the families left behind.    One widow left behind with a small son was not given her settlement by the government because he's still buried and there is no proof that he died.  :nono:

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