Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

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Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby Overlandman » Fri 18 Apr, 2014 5:55 pm

From ABC News :cry:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-18/a ... he/5399272

At least 11 people, mostly local climbers have been killed, after an avalanche struck near the base camp on Mount Everest.

The incident is the deadliest in history to occur on Mount Everest.

"I have seen 11 bodies brought to the base camp, we have been told to expect three more," Lakpa Sherpa from the non-profit Himalayan Rescue Association told AFP by telephone from Everest basecamp.

President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, Ang Tshering Sherpa, said the avalanche struck at about 6:45am local time at an altitude of about 5,800 metres.

An official at the Tourism Ministry's mountaineering department said the Avalanche hit the most popular route to the mountain's peak.

Tourism Ministry spokesman Mohan Krishna Sapkota said all the climbers were of Nepali origin.

He said they were preparing the route to the summit ahead of the summer climbing season which kicks off later this month.

"The sherpa guides were carrying up equipment and other necessities for climbers when the disaster happened," Mr Sapkota said.

"Rescuers have found two people alive, and they are trying to find six others who are still missing."

Another tourism official said three rescue helicopters were deployed to search the area and airlift the injured to safety.

Himalayan Climbing Guides Nepal, a Kathmandu-based firm, said two of their guides were among the dead.

Every summer hundreds of climbers from around the world take advantage of optimal conditions to scale peaks in the Himalayas, including Mount Everest.

Last year a total of eight people were killed during the climbing season.

More than 4,000 climbers have scaled Everest's summit since it was first conquered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953.

Almost 250 people have died on the mountain since then.
Last edited by Overlandman on Fri 18 Apr, 2014 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Six Sherpas killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby radson » Fri 18 Apr, 2014 7:41 pm

Its early days, but my sherpa friend posted 12 bodies have been recovered.

Its a quibble but the pop corn field is part of the Khumbu Icefall.

Urghh, this makes me feel so sick.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby Gadgetgeek » Fri 18 Apr, 2014 8:05 pm

Its sad, but at least people now know what the sherpa people do to support the climbers. This will bring it even further into the public eye as far as what they go through to keep a paycheck coming in.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby radson » Fri 18 Apr, 2014 9:03 pm

you think 'people' didn't know before?
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby GPSGuided » Sat 19 Apr, 2014 8:38 am

Dreadful accident. RIP.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby Gadgetgeek » Sat 19 Apr, 2014 10:54 am

I think most people don't really understand what goes on at Everest and the role the Sherpas play. The fact that without them, summiting everest would be near impossible without and even greater expense. I think a lot of people assume that the Sherpas sort of help out on everest because it is convenient. or that they are sort of like a trail guide you might hire for a day trip. Because this happened outside of the climbing season and most of the deaths were local, it could have been overlooked in the news cycle. I'm sad that it happened, but I'm glad it got coverage.

But then I think a lot of people don't know a lot of things that don't effect them daily, and sometimes, not even then.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby walkon » Sat 19 Apr, 2014 10:18 pm

Gadgetgeek wrote:I think most people don't really understand what goes on at Everest and the role the Sherpas play....

But then I think a lot of people don't know a lot of things that don't effect them daily, and sometimes, not even then.



Sad but true. Most people only see what's happening in front of them, sometimes not even then, no thought as to what actually has to be done to make 'it' happen. Feel for all those families involved
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby wayno » Mon 21 Apr, 2014 5:55 am

It wasnt ana avalanche. It was a serac fall. A serac collapsed. A massive tower of ice above the icefall. Alanarnette.com provides accurate info. Most teams have now cancelled their everest climbs after the sherpas had a meeting to decide.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby wayno » Tue 22 Apr, 2014 3:18 pm

informative article about climbing everest through the icefall..

For many years, the most lucrative commercial guiding operation on Mt. Everest has been a company called Himalayan Experience, or Himex, which is owned by a New Zealand mountaineer named Russell Brice. In the spring of 2012, more than a month into the climbing season, he became increasingly worried about a bulge of glacial ice three hundred yards wide that was frozen tenuously to Everest’s West Shoulder, hanging like a massive sword of Damocles directly over the main route up the Nepal side of the mountain. Brice’s clients (“members,” in the parlance of Himalayan mountaineering), Western guides, and Sherpas repeatedly had to climb beneath the threatening ice bulge as they moved up and down the mountain to acclimatize and establish a series of higher camps necessary for their summit assault



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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby Overlandman » Tue 22 Apr, 2014 10:27 pm

An update from ABC

Tensions are mounting at Everest Base Camp as frustrated mountaineers who have paid thousands of dollars to climb the world's highest peak face disappointment due to a strike threat by guides.

Thirteen Sherpa guides were killed and another three are presumed dead after a devastating avalanche last Friday in the most deadly accident on the 8,848-metre mountain.

The guides have since asked for a pause in expeditions as a mark of respect for their fallen colleagues.

They have also threatened to cancel all climbing on Mount Everest from this month onwards unless the government revises their insurance limits and sets up a welfare fund.

Ed Marzec, a retired lawyer who had planned to become the oldest American to conquer Everest at the age of 67, said he had decided to abandon his mission after losing a member of his grief-stricken team.

Speaking from base camp, he said the atmosphere between some climbers and their guides was souring - even as a memorial was set to take place for those lost in the accident, which occurred just ahead of the start of the summer climbing season.

"Things are getting pretty ugly and we have a lot of young climbers keen to summit going from tent to tent, trying to convince people to put pressure on the Sherpas so they don't cancel," Mr Marzec said.

His views were echoed in an online account by veteran mountaineer Tim Rippel, who leads expeditions with his company Peak Freaks.

Mount Everest: Key facts

More than 4,000 climbers have scaled Everest but some 250 mountaineers have died on the mountain
New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepali climber Tenzing Norgay made the first successful ascent in 1953
The youngest person to reach the summit is Jordan Romero from the United States, who successfully climbed the mountain in 2010 aged 13
There are two main climbing routes – the South Col and the North Col/Ridge route
According to Elizabeth Hawley, considered the world's leading authority on Himalayan climbing, the 2014 avalanche is the worst-ever incident on the mountain
The previous worst incident in 1996, when 11 people were killed in a storm, was immortalised in the best-selling book Into Thin Air
Sherpas take huge risks to help foreign climbers up the mountain - they fix ropes, carry tents and food supplies and make repairs

"Sherpa guides are heating up, emotions are running wild," Rippel wrote on his blog.

"Things are getting very complicated and there is a lot of tension here and it's growing."

Relations between local guides and Western mountaineers hit a low last year when a brawl broke out between three European climbers and a group of Sherpas.

The guides have given the government until Monday to respond to their demands, which include a request to pay $10,000 to families of the guides killed in the avalanche as well as those who were injured and are unable to resume work.

Sherpas have also asked the government to pay the medical expenses of the injured, many of whom are recovering in hospital.

The disaster has underscored the risks borne by Sherpas who ascend the icy slopes, often before dawn and usually weighed down by tents, ropes and food for wealthy clients.

Sherpas earn between $3,000 and $6,000 a season, but their insurance cover is almost always inadequate when accidents happen.

More than 300 people, most of them local guides, have died on Everest since the first ascent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby roysta » Fri 25 Apr, 2014 8:19 pm

This has been a very sad chain of events.
If anyone is interested watch Weekend Sunrise on Channel 7 tomorrow at about 09:10.
Tim Macartney-Snape will provide his insights into this tragedy.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby Overlandman » Sat 26 Apr, 2014 12:41 am

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-25/f ... bs/5412880

Fresh ice avalanches have struck a perilous Everest route where 16 sherpas were killed last week, making it almost certain that no-one will summit the world's highest mountain from Nepal this climbing season.

"Teams are leaving, it's over for all," leading climber Alan Arnette said on his website.

"Time to mourn and regroup."

Many expeditions abandoned base camp this week after an avalanche on April 18 killed 16 guides who were cracking ice and fixing ropes on the upper reaches of the Khumbu Icefall.

The single deadliest disaster on the 8,850-metre Himalayan mountain, the incident has shocked the mountaineering community and highlighted the disproportionate risks that Nepali guides run for a few thousand dollars to help foreign climbers reach the summit.

Californian mountain guide Adrian Ballinger said that even before the latest avalanches, there had been an exodus of teams from base camp due to the aggressive behaviour of a group of younger sherpas there.

He said these sherpas were determined to ensure that no-one scaled Everest from the south side during this year's climbing season, which ends around May 25.

It would be the first year of no summits since commercial climbs took off in the mid-1990s, though there will be attempts on the north side from Tibet.

"I could see fresh avalanches falling at the same spot that was hit last week," Ang Tshering Sherpa of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) said in Kathmandu after returning from base camp.

No-one was hurt in the latest avalanches as there was no-one on the unstable Khumbu Icefall.

Ed Marzec, a 67-year-old Californian who had hoped to become the oldest American to scale Everest, said there was a "crack" of ice as he was waiting on Thursday for a plane to take him off base camp.

"The sherpas say the ice conditions have changed so much and so rapidly, they have created extremely dangerous conditions which prevent finding a safe route to the summit," he said in comments emailed by his friend, Daniel Beer.
Too few sherpas for 'critical mass' needed for climb

Mr Ballinger told Reuters by phone from Kathmandu that when he left base camp early on Thursday afternoon (local time) there were only 40 to 50 climbers still there hoping to make an ascent.

They had a similar number of sherpas, though even they had gone to villages lower down because they felt threatened by other guides.
About a week ago there had been more than 600 people there.

Two big teams that were still holding out on Thursday later declared their expeditions were over, Mr Arnette said.

Tilakram Pandey, an official at Nepal's mountaineering department, said the so-called Icefall Doctors, who are responsible for making routes through the glacier up to Camp 1, would repair the trail for those who wanted to climb.

But Ballinger said that with so few sherpas left, it would be virtually impossible to set out.

"You need this critical mass of people to keep digging and putting the route back in," he said.

"Non-professional recreational climbers ... just don't have the power to push through those conditions without significant sherpa support."
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby wayno » Sat 26 Apr, 2014 5:58 am

nepals mountaineering dept are useless. they are bureaucrats who just make sure the money is collected,
they have no presence in the mountains at all. one person did turn up at everest base camp and closed the route from the south side, then shortly after the ministry say its open again, despite the fact the sherpas dont want the mountain to be climbed out of respect for the dead and because of the ongoing danger.
the govt collect millions in fees for climbing every year and the sherpas see the barest minimum of it when a climber is seriously injured or killed. this is one factor that is fueling the sherpas to close the mountain, they are looking for better distribution of the wealth. they have gained a lot of skills and often are on par with western mountain guides with their skilll level but they make a fraction of the money and shoulder a massive burden to have to travel through the deadly icefall numerous more times than any westerner carrying far heavier loads for far less money... it may well be the deadliest job in the world

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-ad ... Rates.html

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-ad ... erest.html
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby Overlandman » Sat 26 Apr, 2014 10:49 pm

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-26/m ... on/5413240

A Toowoomba teenager aiming to become the youngest Australian to climb Mount Everest has postponed her expedition due to dangerous conditions.

Alyssa Azar, 17, had been preparing for her climb at the Base Camp in Nepal when an avalanche struck a week ago, killing at least 16 Sherpa guides.

The guides had been cracking ice and fixing ropes on the upper reaches of the Khumbu Icefall when the disaster happened.

Many climbers abandoned their treks after the accident but others, including Ms Azar had said they would go ahead with the climb.

Unfortunately there were too many things outside my control and that's just mountaineering.
Alyssa Azar

Those plans were thwarted after fresh ice avalanches struck the same route, forcing the cancellation of the 2014 climbing season.

The 17-year-old says the climb had to be postponed due to many complications outside of her control.

She reported on her Facebook page that the Base Camp was being packed up and she was leaving the area.

"There's a lot of other dangers and issues besides the mountain itself," she wrote.

"Unfortunately there were too many things outside my control and that's just mountaineering.

"It has tested my will and commitment to the mountain which is still intact and I will no doubt be back soon."

It is the single deadliest disaster on the 8,850-metre Himalayan mountain.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 27 Apr, 2014 11:55 am

Reading the stats in earlier posts, since the 1950s, 250 "mountaineers" and 300 guides died on the mountain. Shocking! Not surprised the sherpas are unsettled and don't those recreational and professional "mountaineers" understand the situation?
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby wayno » Sun 27 Apr, 2014 1:15 pm

if you've read certain articles you'll see the situation is worse now because more sherpas are needed for the high no of climbers and they may have to go through the ice fall up to twenty times a season and the elaborate camps that are established and now more oxygen than ever is consumed by climbers. so the heavy botles need to be carried up. The latest training for climbers is to only have them go through a couple of times and do the rest of their acclimatisation on another mountain to avoid the danger of having to go back and forward through the ice fall. the sherpas carry all the heavy supplies.. the western guides and mountaineers carry relatively little. the vast majority of the risk is with the sherpas and unfortunately that was the reason it was only sherpas who were killed. basically if you'r a climber to a certain extent the sherpas are playing russian roulette for you to get to the top..... plus you have the nepal govt taking millions in fees and passing on the bare minimum to the sherpas.
the govt had baned helicopters taking supplies above the ice fall but that is likely to change now...
ironically that could put some sherpas out of jobs and raise the cost of climbing the mountain, there would be less climbers on the mountains and less sherpas needed to get them to the top and shorten the distance sherpas have to carry supplies.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 27 Apr, 2014 1:54 pm

TEDx Everest event. Hear from the sherpas. http://youtu.be/PN_KNLjl4Es
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby Gadgetgeek » Sun 27 Apr, 2014 2:00 pm

I feel like at this point someone like the UN or an NGO should provide funding to pay for the sherpas to clean up the slopes. It would take a long time, but ultimately I think they deserve to have control of the mountain, and allowing a decade to safely clean it up seems worth it to me. I think that there could still be lots of money to be made by tourism to the mountain, but summits should be severely limited, and approved by the sherpas. I would love to visit the mountain, even go up as far as some of the base camps, but I have no interest in summiting it. If people want to do dangerous things, thats fine, but we need to figure out a way to do it without leaving a trail of trash behind.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 27 Apr, 2014 2:01 pm

wayno wrote:...plus you have the nepal govt taking millions in fees and passing on the bare minimum to the sherpas.
the govt had baned helicopters taking supplies above the ice fall but that is likely to change now...
ironically that could put some sherpas out of jobs and raise the cost of climbing the mountain, there would be less climbers on the mountains and less sherpas needed to get them to the top and shorten the distance sherpas have to carry supplies.

How does the govt come into it? Whilst I understand the govt will take an expedition fee, similar to our NPs, I thought individual sherpa is engaged and paid privately. Or are they all employed by the govt? Reducing the number of climbers sounds like a good thing for the natural environment.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 27 Apr, 2014 2:05 pm

Gadgetgeek wrote:... we need to figure out a way to do it without leaving a trail of trash behind.

Hear, hear! A universal rule that should be applied to all outdoors activities. Too bad if the mountaineer tourists have to pay more to clean up the rubbish they consumed.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby wayno » Sun 27 Apr, 2014 2:16 pm

the sherpas are objecting to the govt raking all the money in and not doing anything to look after the sherpas when they are injured or killed. insurance for the sherpas isnt very big. it doesnt pay for much.. without the sherpas the vast majority of climbers couldnt even attempt the high peaks and so there would be far less income for the govt from climbing fees.

this year the nepal govt had a requirement for each climber to bring 8 kilos of rubbish off the mountain,, but its not easy, a lot of it is frozen into the ice and hard and slow to remove, no end of tattered tents frozen in the snow, how do you extract fabric from ice in a frozen place?? to a certain extent easier to let the glacier take it in and get it when it gets expelled years later and people just concentrate on removing their own rubbish, but for now safety is the biggest issue..
nepal doesnt want to limit no's going to the summits, they make big money from the 8000m peaks, they have done nothing to limit no's so far as the money rolls in... its very valuable income, plus every climber is spending money from the time they land in kathmandu all the way up to the camps and back again all those supplies each climber needs to buy and they need to pay porters and sherpas to get up the mountain.. nepal is an extremely poor country, climbers make a massive difference to the economy despite the dangers, people are willing to shell out the big bucks to have a go a himalayan peaks... they will be lining up next season to have a go undetered by the recent fatalities.... you'll never stamp out everyones dream of having a go at himalayan peaks.... the nepal govt may not have done much at all to make things safer if the sherpas hadnt have insisted on their terms being met.... theres a lot of anger now, some sherpas threatening to use violence to stop people climbing.... young vocal sherpas who know how to use the media are speaking up and are getting active to change things to try and make life better for the high altitude sherpas... theres a big discrepency in income between western guides, climbing operators, govt and the sherpas.... and the deaths bring home the discrepency of risk... everest may now be getting more dangerous with the warming climate and the seracs shedding ice more regularly. the sherpas re getting more organised and political and more impatient about the balance to be redressed. they are literally fighting for their health and safety and future financial security.... at present if you die or are severely injured as a sherpa and have dependants, the future of their dependants is very bleak....
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 27 Apr, 2014 2:25 pm

These issues are never easy. So, are the sherpas employed as individual free agents or by large companies or the govt? Sounds like there should be a insurance levy on all those recreational climbers for Sherpas' services.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby wayno » Sun 27 Apr, 2014 2:31 pm

GPSGuided wrote:These issues are never easy. So, are the sherpas employed as individual free agents or by large companies or the govt? Sounds like there should be a insurance levy on all those recreational climbers for Sherpas' services.


the sherpas are employed by companies, there is some insurance but its seldom enough, varies from company to company as to how much insurance they take out....
the govt just seems to pocket the fee, $15,000 for a peak, plus i think theres other fees in there as well , they just cut the fee for 8000m peaks but somehow they charge more in other areas and make more...
its easy money for the govt, thres talk of corruption,,, the govt do the bare minimum to manage the climbing once they've got their fee, the sherpas take most of the risk and the govt just seems to sit back and enjoy the money from their better paid jobs in offices....
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 27 Apr, 2014 2:57 pm

Don't see the govt necessarily have to pay the insurance out of the climbing fees collected. The onus could be on the companies (levy on the climbers), possibly through a Western broker.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby wayno » Sun 27 Apr, 2014 3:23 pm

GPSGuided wrote:Don't see the govt necessarily have to pay the insurance out of the climbing fees collected. The onus could be on the companies (levy on the climbers), possibly through a Western broker.


yes but the govt can't justify charging the money they do on those peaks, if it costs the country money for the climbers the govt arent putting the money back to the areas where the climbers are exacting wear and tear on the environment and people....
the govt are just taking advantage of the popularity of the peaks to clip the ticket because they can... and everyone is well aware of that, the feeling is the govt should be more honest and put some of that money back into the communities who sacrifice so much in one of the most dangerous professions in the world...
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby radson » Tue 29 Apr, 2014 1:37 am

Gadgetgeek wrote:I feel like at this point someone like the UN or an NGO should provide funding to pay for the sherpas to clean up the slopes. It would take a long time, but ultimately I think they deserve to have control of the mountain, and allowing a decade to safely clean it up seems worth it to me. I think that there could still be lots of money to be made by tourism to the mountain, but summits should be severely limited, and approved by the sherpas. I would love to visit the mountain, even go up as far as some of the base camps, but I have no interest in summiting it. If people want to do dangerous things, thats fine, but we need to figure out a way to do it without leaving a trail of trash behind.


Why do you think Everest on Nepal is that unclean? With the garbage deposits and money paid for empty o2 bottles. Everest is nothing like those pics of the 90's. Compare it to other Himalayan mountains and Everest is pristine.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 29 Apr, 2014 7:49 am

wayno wrote:yes but the govt can't justify charging the money they do on those peaks...

It's their country. They have every right to charge anything they want for foreigner access to their mountains. Not as if Nepal Govt have to answer to Australian or NZ voters. Visiting and climbing their mountain is a privilege, not an automatic entitlement.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby wayno » Tue 29 Apr, 2014 7:53 am

GPSGuided wrote:
wayno wrote:yes but the govt can't justify charging the money they do on those peaks...

It's their country. They have every right to charge anything they want for foreigner access to their mountains. Not as if Nepal Govt have to answer to Australian or NZ voters. Visiting and climbing their mountain is a privilege, not an automatic entitlement.


so it would be justified for the australian govt to charge US$15000 to climb the higher peaks in Aus?

maybe justified is the wrong word,, is it ethical to charge money like that when the country is already making a lot of money from the people climbing those peaks
from the land of the long white clouds...
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby icefest » Tue 29 Apr, 2014 8:09 am

so it would be justified for the australian govt to charge US$15000 to climb the higher peaks in Aus?
Counterquestion:
Is it ethical for the australian govt to charge US$15000 US$300 to walk the Overland trail?
Last edited by icefest on Tue 29 Apr, 2014 8:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful.
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Re: Sherpas Killed in Avalanche on Mt Everest

Postby wayno » Tue 29 Apr, 2014 8:12 am

it would be interesting to see how many would pay those charges....
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