Trouble on Everest

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Earlier this month, a tragic avalanche on Mount Everest killed 16 Sherpas, who are hired to guide Western climbers. Grayson Schaffer, senior editor at Outside magazine, and Nick Heil, digital editorial director at Outside, explain how the complicated politics and economics at play basically led to the cancellation of the 2014 climbing season.


Nick Heil

Comments [12]

Rick from Bronx

I was disappointed to hear you do a story on this with writers from Outside as your invited guests, hoping that Sherpas from Queens might phone in. Why not interview climbing Sherpas as your invited guests? This kind of journalism exploits Sherpa climbers by treating them as if they have no names or voices. I expect this from others, not from you.

Apr. 29 2014 12:39 PM

I know this is difficult(and expensive) to do, but really, how much pride can one take in climbing Mt. Everest when so much is done for you? The Sherpas set up all the ladders and ropes ahead of you, come back and carry packs and provisions and air tanks, etc...Just seems to me like as much of a catered affair as it can be under the circumstances. Reminds me of tourists who sometimes cross certain borders just to get their passport stamped. Yes you were there but...
I honestly wonder if REAL mountain climbers consider everyone who has climbed Mt. Everest a mountain climber. I doubt it.

Apr. 29 2014 12:04 PM
Amy from Manhattan

The middlemen the last caller mentioned not only should pay the guides more should be held responsible for outfitting them properly. No one doing this work should have to wear sandals in the Himalayas!

Apr. 29 2014 12:02 PM
Jaime from Ellenville< NY

Admit that the greed of the companies is why insurance is not available. They need a union!!!

Apr. 29 2014 11:59 AM
Reed from Brooklyn

Why don't companies like North Face or Patagonia provide free gear to Sherpas? Great advertising...

Apr. 29 2014 11:59 AM
jf from dystopia


Apr. 29 2014 11:58 AM

Why isn't it Susanna's and other consumer's responsibility to see to it workers work in healthy conditions

Apr. 29 2014 11:56 AM
mick from Inwood

On the BBC (via WNYC) a professional climber commented that the role of the Sherpas has been expanding and the danger increasing as the climbers have changed from physically highly trained and highly skilled climbers who are really ready to climb Everest to inadequately prepared rich Westerners who want to add a notch on their social resume and bolster their cocktail creds but who are unwilling participate in the work of the climb as the old climbers expected to do.

Apr. 29 2014 11:56 AM
Amy from Manhattan

On people making claims that they've never lost anyone on a climb, in such a small sample that doesn't mean much. Too often (in many contexts) safety is confused w/luck.

Apr. 29 2014 11:55 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Climbing in Nepal is simple exploitation of a weak and poor people.

Apr. 29 2014 11:55 AM
Robert from NYC

Well put, Brian. Seems these guides get screwed. They should make much more to cover them and their families in case of accidents causing disabilities or even death.

Apr. 29 2014 11:50 AM
amandagov from Manhattan

Why dont the western expedition companies pay for life insurance in the same way that they would cover insurance for their western guides?

Apr. 29 2014 11:48 AM

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