Associations Play Mediators After Deadly Mount Everest Avalanche
After an avalanche on Mount Everest killed 16 Sherpas earlier this month, representatives from several associations served on a Nepalese government-led task force to study a petition of demands by a group of the local mountain guides.
Roughly a week after the April 18 avalanche on Mount Everest killed 16 Sherpas, a group of the local mountain guides staged a walkout of the famous climbing site’s base camp to honor their fallen colleagues.
The walkout came after a task force made up of government officials and several representatives from affiliated associations was formed earlier in the week to study a set of demands put forth by the Sherpa community, according to The Himalayan Times.
Headed by a member of Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism, the task force included representatives from the Nepal Mountaineering Association, Trekking Agencies’ Associations of Nepal, Nepal National Mountain Guide Association, and the Himalayan Rescue Association.
The Sherpas asked for improved support and assistance for the families of the deceased and those who were injured during the avalanche, as well as potential future needs of climbers. The demands included:
- coverage of all treatment expenses for the injured from the recent avalanche
- an increase in the insurance value for guides
- a memorial park in Kathmandu in honor of the deceased
- guaranteed pay for Sherpas should the climbing season be canceled
Nepal’s government agreed to some of the demands—for example, setting up a relief fund for Sherpas killed or injured in climbing-related accidents and funding rescue efforts, according to the Associated Press. But the government’s increase in the insurance payout for those killed on the mountain fell short of the Sherpas’ demand: The government doubled the payment to $15,620, roughly $5,000 shy of what the guides asked for.
The boycott threatens an industry that generates millions of dollars a year for Nepal. Sherpa Pasang, general secretary of the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association, told the AP that a total walkout could have long-term effects on mountaineering in the country. As of last week, the association was still trying to negotiate with Sherpas and the government to avoid an all-out boycott.