"FISTICUFFS ON EVEREST" - The Daily Fail at it again

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Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 5, 2013 - 10:44pm PT
You're correct they have the same rights to be there and also the same obligations. Part of the obligation of using the fixed ropes, ladders, and paths through the Khumbu icefall which they did multiple times, is to stay off the slopes where the Sherpas are fixing ropes. This they did not do. Instead they climbed ropeless beside them and then across them. And why? Because they were elite enough climbers to do that. They used their elite climbing status to inconvenience the Sherpas. That's why it matters.
Amber.C

climber
May 5, 2013 - 10:47pm PT
Jan, is that obligation (to not climb on the face or bother the sherpas because they have already used the fixed ropes through the icefall) explicit somewhere? I may have missed it in this thread if it has already come up, but I don't think it is at all.

I'm not going to get involved in this again. I'm just pointing out that I don't think their elite status is meaningful. Would Stewart feel differently about the incident if 3 neophytes had somehow gotten up the Lhotse Face and done the same thing? I don't think so--if anything he would be more against them, and probably rightly so.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
May 5, 2013 - 10:55pm PT
I just don't see how climbers should have to wait for a guide's workers to rig the mountain for people who can't do it for themselves. I get that Sherpas are from the region, but there was no pre-existing high altitude climbing culture that non-native visitors have intruded upon. To the contrary, slow parties have been passed on mountains since the get go.

I also don't how anyone on that route on Everest sees an entitlement to climb without anyone above them? The whole thing has been a sh#t show for years now.







Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 5, 2013 - 11:01pm PT
Amber-

It has been discussed but is worth repeating. The chief complaint against independent climbers is that they use the facilities of the guide companies (ropes and ladders) and the hard work of the Sherpas without paying for them and then claim to have climbed Everest independently. None of those free loaders however, have ever tried to climb over the Sherpas while they were fixing rope.

The case of the three elite climbers is a little different as they evidently did pay the guiding companies their share to use the Khumbu icefall route. Implicit in this agreement is the understanding that no one interferes with the Sherpas when they are fixing ropes higher up. Only because they are elite climbers were they competent enough to be up there causing problems. Any less elite climbers trying that and the Sherpas would have had to stop fixing lines to do a rescue or body retrieval.

Unfortunately if the three had been able to do what they did without incident, there would have been others who tried the same citing their example. Some would know doubt eventually have caused an accident requiring rescue or causing injury or death to the rope fixers. What the Sherpa response to the elite three did, was ensure that nobody is going to climb next to, or over Sherpa rope fixing any time soon. I believe that making an example of the three elites and stopping this practice in its tracks was their original intention which unfortunately was marred by violence.

It has subsequently been stated that everyone climbing the mountain will have to sign a contract in the future promising not to climb where the Sherpas are fixing rope. If they do, they can be pulled off the mountain and might even find themselves in a Nepalese jail for a night or two. Although it marred their almost perfect image, I believe the Sherpas accomplished what they set out to do which was re-establish themselves as the masters of the mountain.

I know individualistic western climbers will object to that, but in Asia, the needs of the group always supercede those of the individual. In this case we are talking about the needs of the guide services, the Sherpas, their hundreds of clients, and the Nepalese government against the needs of elite climbers to do their thing. The outcome is completely predictable.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
May 5, 2013 - 11:05pm PT
It's about this place being a worksite until finished and the workers couldn't care less about what is permitted to whomever has a permit.

Nothing on this thread has changed my mind that this is a labour relations issue gone wrong.

Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 5, 2013 - 11:07pm PT
Amen to that!

Or in Sherpa, Sinsong!
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
May 5, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
Fair enough Jan.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
May 5, 2013 - 11:18pm PT
It's about this place being a worksite until finished and the workers could care less about what is permitted by who has a permit.


It certainly sounds like it. The only question i have is that is it a work site that impacts other peripheral citizens / clients that could be reasonably accommodated through better professional practices?

Jim, look at how the ski to die highway construction was managed during the olympics compared to that previous effort in the eighties. Hats off to Kiewit and MOTH for figuring out how to actually do their job without hardly any halt in traffic.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
May 5, 2013 - 11:24pm PT
Yes, Bruce !
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
May 5, 2013 - 11:44pm PT
Lhotse Face and Camp 2
Lhotse Face and Camp 2
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 6, 2013 - 12:30am PT
And finally, we get a Sherpa version, this one from the Sherpa owner of Himalayan Ascent who was there.



A comment on the brawl incident 05-05-13 10AM

by Lhakpa Sherpa

http://himalayanascent.com/live-blog.html


We generally live by the climbers’ code of “what goes on the mountain, stays on the mountain” but since spending the last few days catching up on the sensationalised media coverage of the Camp 2 dispute, we feel that Himalayan Ascent should express a few words concerning the event from our perspective at Camp 2 and from discussions with the involved Sherpa climbers that day.
 
We already know that on April 27th, a team of Sherpas fixing the lines to Camp 3 had a heated exchange with 3 foreign climbers on the Lhotse face. The 3 climbers were not expected on the route that day by commercial expeditions and particularly were not expected by the fixing team. The team had already experienced one frustrating and failed day of route fixing and they were keen to get the job done. We watched the groups of climbers come together on the face, and after some time, the other 3 climbers separated and continued higher. We then heard the fixing team report into the radio their utter dissatisfaction regarding the exchange; the 3 climbers had not heeded to their requests to avoid their lines and they stated that the 3 climbers had verbally and physically abused them. Simone has since admitted that he did not speak respectfully to the Sherpas that day and that he did use extremely offensive words in Nepali. Understanding the seriousness of the matter, a lead western guide then attempted to radio Simone several times to request him to apologise to the fixing team, eventually Simone answered and we heard him reply along the lines of “I’ll talk to the f---ing Sherpas when I get down”. The Sherpas were shocked. Simone is a well-known respected climber in Nepal, and they were disappointed and angry at his arrogance and lack of respect of the job they were performing. The fixing team anchored their gear and dropped down to Camp 2.
 

At Camp 2 the fixing team discussed the event with western expedition leaders and with other Sherpas who had listened into the radio. When the 3 climbers arrived into Camp 2, the fixing team were ready to meet them. Everyone else at Camp 2 were also anticipating the “meeting”. The fixing team wanted an apology from the group for their hurtful words. Some western guides acted as a mediator between where the Sherpas were and the group’s camp. Simone was apparently reluctant to offer an immediate apology and eventually the fixing team became impatient, so they walked into the group’s camp to talk to Simone directly. To the many western bystanders watching, this may have seemed like the fixing team were going into the camp to fight. The fixing team threw rocks at the tent to get the group to come out. Some western guides ran to “protect” the group. One western guide tackled a Sherpa carrying a rock perhaps thinking he was going to throw it to hurt someone. Unfortunately, this first assault on the fixing team triggered them to respond aggressively. It was the regular start of what someone else has called a bar brawl at Camp 2.
 
Importantly, from our camp just 1 away from the group’s camp, we saw some 30 Sherpas and other bystanders just WATCHING witnessing the event. Reports claiming that 100-200 Sherpas attacked the 3 climbers are entirely FALSE. Only the fixing team were involved. The bystanders may have been perceived as being a part of the aggressive “mob”. We also did not witness other claims that rocks were used to hit others, and that Simone was stabbed by a penknife hitting his backpack waist strap (he wasn’t wearing a backpack). During the times that Simone did come out to make his apology on his knees, we did see the unfortunate slap and kick. Sure the fixing team were feeling quite incensed, but they weren’t fired up to kill anyone. Eventually the apology was accepted and the group disappeared to BC. The actual scuffle lasted 30 minutes. Later at BC both parties signed a shared statement of admitted error on their part and expressed an apology to each other.
 
This dispute was not really about a turf battle between 3 foreign alpine climbers and a fixing Sherpa team. It certainly wasn’t about Sherpas feeling jealous of western guides or threatened by western alpine climbers. As eluded by others, the fixing team were venting the frustration of all highly skilled and experienced Sherpa climbers who want to feel more respect from their fellow western colleagues. For years they have quietly suffered and endured arrogance displayed by some western guides and professional climbers. There are more summits of Everest by a Sherpa than by any other group. They know the mountains here like no other western climber, and commercial expeditions admit they cannot operate in Nepal without Sherpa support. After more than 60 years of climbing alongside their western colleagues, helping them to achieve first ascent glories on 8000m mountains, it’s a small request from humble mountain men. As a Nepali owned outfitter, we often hear our western outfitter friends acknowledge that the skilled Sherpa climbers deserve more. But what are they actually willing to give more of? More money? More benefits? More fame? Perhaps they should start with more respect.



Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
May 6, 2013 - 01:10am PT
How is this any different than the deal in Occangate, Peru this past year with the kids camping in the truck that got into a brawl with the locals?

One world, yes...

... but lots of customs and cultures.
crankster

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
May 6, 2013 - 01:16am PT
The fixing team threw rocks at the tent to get the group to come out

Lhakpa's version sounds suspicious; a made-up story to cover themselves.. Personally, I don't believe it. I think the Sherpa's overreacted and need to be held accountable. Maybe they had a right to be ticked off but they initiated physical contact and outnumbered the climbers at least 10 to 1.

That said, we'll need a video of the event to know for sure. Sides have mostly been drawn, those who believe the climber's version, those who believe the Sherpa's.
nah000

climber
canuckistan
May 6, 2013 - 01:23am PT
assuming Jan is referring to the lhotse face with this comment:

"Only because they are elite climbers were they competent enough to be up there causing problems. Any less elite climbers trying that and the Sherpas would have had to stop fixing lines to do a rescue or body retrieval."

based on the photos and the general consensus that this is a 45-60 degree face this comment is at best out of touch with what "elite" is and at worst a misrepresentation of what "competent" climbing is.

the only reason sherpas are needed to fix lines on a 45-60 degree face [even at altitude] is because the average guided client is not a competent climber. with modern tools and ice screws this face is at best a novice climber's endeavour. for a lot of competent climbers, let alone elite, this is soloing terrain.

while i appreciate 99% of Jan's perspective this comment seems uncharacteristically hyperbolic.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 6, 2013 - 01:50am PT
Ice screws generally mean you're using a rope does it not? These climbers were all soloing without protection which is not recommended even on the Lhotse face which was icy and windy that day. The other thing to be remembered is the effect of altitude. I don't know how high you've been, but things are much more difficult at 22,000 feet, including thinking clearly.

Meanwhile, here is a very interesting article by Ed Webster whose credentials are certainly above reproach. He takes a position more in tune with mine it seems.

Forget the Everest brawl: the real story is how Sherpas are taking control.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/05/sherpa-resentment-fuelled-everest-brawl

Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 6, 2013 - 02:55am PT
abseiling onto unroped climbers: check

Ok, lets examine this.

What no one disputes, is that the three climbers climbed alongside, then above the Sherpa, then crossed over.

They were above the Sherpa.

They had words with the Sherpa, at the same level.

They were still above the Sherpa team.

The Sherpa then descended.

I would like to understand how the Sherpa abseiled UPHILL onto the three climbers, who were above them near their camp?

you lyin' guys gotta get your stories squared among yourselves.....
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 6, 2013 - 03:00am PT
I just don't see how climbers should have to wait for a guide's workers to rig the mountain for people who can't do it for themselves.

You mean like the 3 climbers, who could not fix their own route through the icefall, and used the Sherpa's route?
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 6, 2013 - 03:03am PT
The only question i have is that is it a work site that impacts other peripheral citizens / clients that could be reasonably accommodated through better professional practices?

So how could this be approached?

Let me throw out this radical idea: bring together everyone who might be impacted, and allow everyone to give input as to the best and safest way to do this that will accommodate everyone, and come up with something with which everyone can agee......

OH! THAT'S WHAT THEY DID!

How would you do it?

raymond phule

climber
May 6, 2013 - 03:04am PT
"They were above the Sherpa."

I believe that all accounts I have read so far and definitely the accounts from the 3 western climbers that where there said that the lead sherpa was fixing above a belay and that the westerners crossed the line at the belay.


raymond phule

climber
May 6, 2013 - 03:08am PT

You mean like the 3 climbers, who could not fix their own route through the icefall, and used the Sherpa's route?

You are ridiculous. The could of course have done this but they did what everyone else did. Paid and used the main route trough the ice fall because that is probably the most convenient way for everyone on the mountain.

They even walked down another way when going down from camp 2.
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