Insurance cover for sherpas on Everest raised by 50 percent

 23 Apr 2014 - 0:00

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s government agreed yesterday to compensation demands for Mount Everest sherpas, after the single deadliest avalanche on the world’s highest mountain killed at least 13 guides.
Expedition leaders said tension was running high at Everest base camp after last Friday’s incident, which has rekindled debate on the disproportionate risks that sherpas take helping foreign mountaineers reach the 8,850-metre summit.
Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told Reuters that although some sherpas had proposed suspending work for the rest of this climbing season, they had now agreed to resume expeditions on Saturday.
However, an American climber at base camp said the sherpas had voted to head down and were packing up. “The ice doctors who set the routes say the current route is too dangerous and there are no alternative routes,” said Ed Marzec in an email passed on by a colleague, Daniel Beer, who is overseeing communications for him.
Several expeditions have already been called off, including a Discovery Channel climb to launch a stunt man from the summit in a wing suit.
The government said the minimum insurance cover for sherpas on Everest would be raised by 50 percent to about $15,000 and it would establish a relief fund for the welfare of bereaved families and also pay for the education of their children. “We will also take steps to prevent such incidents in the future,” Tourism Minister Bhim Acharya said. 
In addition to the 13 sherpas killed on the Khumbu Icefall, one of the most dangerous parts of the climb to Everest, three are missing and at least three more are being treated for serious injuries in the capital Kathmandu.
The men were trying to fix ropes and crack snow and ice to carve out a route for foreign climbers through the icefall, located not far above Everest Base Camp, when they were caught in the avalanche.
The government initially announced an immediate payment of $400 to the victims’ families to cover funeral costs.
Reuters

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s government agreed yesterday to compensation demands for Mount Everest sherpas, after the single deadliest avalanche on the world’s highest mountain killed at least 13 guides.
Expedition leaders said tension was running high at Everest base camp after last Friday’s incident, which has rekindled debate on the disproportionate risks that sherpas take helping foreign mountaineers reach the 8,850-metre summit.
Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told Reuters that although some sherpas had proposed suspending work for the rest of this climbing season, they had now agreed to resume expeditions on Saturday.
However, an American climber at base camp said the sherpas had voted to head down and were packing up. “The ice doctors who set the routes say the current route is too dangerous and there are no alternative routes,” said Ed Marzec in an email passed on by a colleague, Daniel Beer, who is overseeing communications for him.
Several expeditions have already been called off, including a Discovery Channel climb to launch a stunt man from the summit in a wing suit.
The government said the minimum insurance cover for sherpas on Everest would be raised by 50 percent to about $15,000 and it would establish a relief fund for the welfare of bereaved families and also pay for the education of their children. “We will also take steps to prevent such incidents in the future,” Tourism Minister Bhim Acharya said. 
In addition to the 13 sherpas killed on the Khumbu Icefall, one of the most dangerous parts of the climb to Everest, three are missing and at least three more are being treated for serious injuries in the capital Kathmandu.
The men were trying to fix ropes and crack snow and ice to carve out a route for foreign climbers through the icefall, located not far above Everest Base Camp, when they were caught in the avalanche.
The government initially announced an immediate payment of $400 to the victims’ families to cover funeral costs.
Reuters