Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mt. Everest to close for the season (audio)

Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly; T.J. Raphael, The World (pri.org)
Dangerous Mt. Everest (Kristoffer Erickson/news.nationalgeographic.com)

Yeti hunters, Everest, 1954 (dailymail.co.uk)
Sherpas -- members of a Himalayan ethnic group renowned for their skill at high-altitude climbing -- are crucial to operations on Mount Everest.

They earn a mere $3,000-5,000 risking their lives helping others scale the mountain during each two-to-three-month climbing season. They do on a regular basis what others pay to accomplish just once in a lifetime, putting their lives at great risk for affluent clients due to poverty they are never able to emerge from.
Last Friday, an avalanche roared down a climbing route on Everest, killing 13 Sherpa guides and leaving three others missing. When it occurred the Sherpas, who have centuries of history in Nepal's alpine region, were working at 21,000 feet, fixing ropes and preparing the path ahead of peak mountaineering season.
Tibet's Rongbuk Buddhist monastery with Mt. Everest in background (wiki commons)
Who climbs Mt. Everest without a Sherpa?
As the Sherpa community mourns the loss of family members and friends, the group is considering an unprecedented move: a strike.

On Sunday, disappointed by the Nepali government’s offer of 40,000 rupees ($408) as compensation for the families of each of the dead, some Sherpas gathered at Everest’s base camp to propose a “work stoppage” that could disrupt or cancel the 334 expeditions planned for the 2014 climbing season.

Ellen Barry, South Asia Bureau Chief for The New York Times, says while Sherpas have lived with these conditions for many years, last week's accident changed things.

"I think just the magnitude of the loss of life from Friday's accident has prompted very unusual decisions," she says. More

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