March 1, 2013 By

Safety, Violence Fears On the Mt Everest

everestSix major mountaineering companies that lead the Mount Everest expedition have decided to call off their 2014 climbs citing violence and safety concerns at the base camp after the Sherpa guides, hysterical over the death of their colleagues, threatened to boycott this year’s climbing season. The avalanche that struck on Friday killed sixteen guides carrying equipment for their clients and was the worst ever on the world’s highest peak.

The crisis worsened as the Sherpas, the ethnic groups in the mountainous region high in the Himalayas, demanded more compensation for the dead and injured and other benefits including an increase in insurance payments and a welfare fund. Reports say that three more were missing. The guides leading expeditions are often the sole breadwinners of their families.

The Nepal Government earns about $3 million from Everest climbers during the high season. While the foreign climbers spend between $40,000 and $90,000 each in their attempt to climb the mountain, the Sherpas make up to $6,000 per season usually getting a summit bonus if their clients reach the top of the 8,848-meter (29,029-foot) mountain.

With the peak season just around the corner, the best  between May 15 and 30 for reaching the peak, the government is trying to avoid a shutdown of the season which otherwise could lead to a huge loss of revenue for the impoverished country. A team of government officials arrived at base camp on Thursday to work out a deal with the Sherpas with The Nepal National Mountain Guide Association as mediators between them. The government has earned $3.6 million this year from Everest expedition charges alone and has issued permits to 734 people, including 400 guides, for 32 expeditions this season.

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