The daughter of Mount Everest avalanche victim Ang Kazi Sherpa light oil lamps at a Sherpa Monastery in Kathmandu on April 20, 2014. Nepal has called off the search for three local guides still missing, citing weather conditions, after a massive avalanche on Mount Everest that killed thirteen of their colleagues. (Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP)
The avalanche occurred last Friday morning at around 6:45 am at an altitude of about 5,800 metres in an area known as the “popcorn field” which lies on the route to the treacherous Khumbu icefall.
The local Sherpa community has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Nepalese government, threatening to boycott the upcoming spring climbing season, after a meeting at Mount Everest’s base camp in the wake of the deadly avalanche. Among the demands sent to Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, the group called on the state to provide 10 million Nepalese rupee (US$103,600) each to families of the deceased and critically injured, along with initiatives to increase the overall support infrastructure for local guides working in the Himalayas.
Nepal’s Sherpas are lauded for their ability to withstand high altitudes and are widely regarded as some of the world’s hardiest mountaineers. Members of the ethnic group are the backbone of the Himalayan adventure-tourism industry, where they work as guides, porters and climbers.
Around 4,000 people have scaled Mount Everest since 1953 when Tenzing Sherpa and Edmund Hillary made it to the summit of the peak. More than 250 people have died while attempting to climb the Everest. The latest accident – the worst of all times on Mt Everest – comes during the peak climbing months of April and May as hundreds of climbers converged at base camp in the hope of scaling the 8,848-metre-high summit.