The Everest guiding season remains in limbo as commercial operators and employees, the Nepali government, the Icefall Doctors of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) and the Sherpa community process the fallout of last Friday’s destructive avalanche. While some have left or are leaving the mountain out of respect for the deceased, concern for the still-dangerous conditions or apprehension of a tense atmosphere in camp, others vie for a continued guiding season–including the Nepali officials who expressed, in a statement released earlier today, a strong “request to all the expedition team to continue the expedition.”
Immediately following the accident, a large group of Sherpas from the Khumbu region descended from the mountain to grieve with their families for several days, Freddie Wilkinson reported. Others, sirdars, members of the SPCC and Sherpas from villages farther afield, stayed behind. A few, who made twelve demands of the Nepali government on Monday, reportedly threatened to retaliate against any Sherpa who decided to continue climbing and working on the mountain this season.
This morning, an official from the Ministry of Tourism arrived in Base Camp to speak with the crowds remaining on the mountain, and a press release was issued a few hours later:
Today, one high level delegation headed by Hon’ble minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Bhim Acharya had visited the Mount Everest Base Camp and seriously discussed with mountain guide, supporting climbers and other concerned people. The delegation comprised with representatives of different tourism related organizations.
During the discussion, the minister had urged to continue the expedition activities to all team leaders and members and requested to all concerned agencies to fix ladder & rope. At the time supporting climbers also agreed to support expedition activities.
However, if some expedition team wants to quit the expedition for this season and request to ministry to extend their permit, the ministry would make necessary process to extend the time of their permit for next five years for the expedition team of 2014 spring.
Here, the ministry strongly request to all the expedition team to continue the expedition because they have made all the required arrangement for completion of their expedition.
Madhu Sudan Barlakoti
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation
Meanwhile, a large number of guiding companies have cancelled their expeditions. Helicopters have been hired to transport equipment from the camps above and clients down to Kathmandu.
“[T]he route in my professional opinion is NOT safe,” Tim Rippel of Peak Freaks wrote on the company’s blog yesterday. “As I give this dispatch I hear an avalanche. Earlier today I listened to another coming from the same direction. ”
During the short time the Ministry official spent in Base Camp, another avalanche reportedly sloughed off the West Shoulder in the same place as last week’s fatal slide. In announcing their own departure from Everest Base Camp, Nepali-owned operator Himalayan Ascent noted on their blog, “We assume this event may have realized to them the true risks involved if they continued to push the guides to press on with expeditions.”