Nepal to Consider Sherpa Demands in Face of Threatened Boycott

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- The government of Nepal says it will consider the demands from the Sherpas who serve as guides for climbers on Mount Everest.

In the aftermath of an avalanche that killed at least 13 Sherpas last week, members of the ethnic community are calling for a climbing boycott. The Sherpas are demanding more insurance money, more financial aid for the families of the victims, and regulations that would ensure the rights of climbers.

A total Sherpa boycott could disrupt the Everest climbing season. It is key to the livelihood of thousands of Nepali guides and porters. Everest climbers rely on Sherpas for everything from hauling their gear to cooking food to high-altitude guiding. Although the work is dangerous, it has become the most sought-after job for many Sherpas. A top high-altitude guide can earn, in a three-month climbing season, $6,000. That's nearly ten times the country's average annual salary.

The Sherpas were killed when a block of ice tore loose from the mountain and triggered a cascade that ripped through teams of guides hauling gear. In addition to the 13 whose bodies have been recovered, three others are missing and presumed dead.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Nepal's capital today as the bodies of six of the victims were driven in open trucks decorated with Buddhist flags.

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