The worst ever mountaineering disaster on Mt Everest has raised question mark over this season’s climbing.
The mourning Sherpas – the guides for the mountaineers – from the foothill of the Mt Everest today vowed to halt all climbing activities, calling off the search for their missing coworkers.
Issuing a seven-day ultimatum to the government, Sherpas of the Khumbu region in a joint meeting – at the base camp – of guides and support staff, expedition leaders and climbers threatened to call off this season’s climbing.
They have asked the government to address their demands within a week.
They have raised serious concerns about the social security after 13 guides were killed and three went missing in an avalanche that hit the slope of Mt Everest at 5,900m near Camp I in Khumbu Icefall on Friday morning.
The meeting also decided to mark April 18 as ‘Black Day’ in the Mt Everest history. Most of the support staff have also decided to return to their homes in Khumbu region for a break.
The meeting also demanded increment of immediate relief announced for avalanche victims to Rs 10 million each to families of deceased, set up a memorial park in the name of the deceased in Kathmandu, cover all expenses for treatment of the injured, provide Rs 10 million to critically injured, who cannot rejoin their job, set up mountaineering relief fund with 30 per cent of royalty collected from issuing permits to different mountains, double the insurance amount to the mountaineering workers, provide additional chopper rescue to mountaineering support staff, if insurance fails to cover the cost, provide perks and salaries, except summit bonus, through concerned agencies to Sherpas, if they want to call off climbing this season, manage chopper to bring logistics and equipment from different camps if mountaineers decide to abandon climbing this season and let the expedition members to call off this season’s climbing, if they wish to.
However, the Ministry of Tourism And Civil Aviation is taking stock of the situation. “The ministry will hold discussions with the stakeholders,” joint secretary at the ministry Madhusudhan Burlakoti said, adding that the search has been halted today as most of the rescuers were attending meetings in Khumbu region, that lost 10 of their brave sons on Friday’s disaster.
Burlakoti also informed that the ministry has invited all the expedition operators for an emergency meeting tomorrow morning
Some 334 mountaineers from 41 countries in 31 teams with over 400 support staff were headed for Mt Everest expedition this season. The government has collected Rs 300 million as royalty from them.