Even the first westerner to climb Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, voiced his concerns over the fate of the Himalayas which is/will be detrimental to the whole world. Mt. Everest is the roof of the world. We should look at the roof of houses to really think about the protection it provides us. Stop all human activity on Everest! Maybe the Yetis will come out and play...
Photograph by Cory Richards
Published May 2, 2013
Simone Moro is one of the world's most experienced alpinists. He specializes in fast and light ascents and winter climbs of 8,000-meter peaks.
In his first extended interview, Moro gives NationalGeographic.com his take on what happened.
Can you tell me what happened on the Lhotse Face on Saturday?
Our aim was to reach Camp 3. We knew there was a team fixing rope on the Lhotse Face. I've climbed Everest four times and done ten expeditions here, and I know that on the day the ropes are fixed, nobody should hang on the fixed ropes. This doesn't mean that nobody is allowed to climb the mountain. Everest isn't just a mountain for clients and guides. Everest is for all who pay the permit.
When we arrived on the Lhotse Face, the Sherpas fixing rope there told us to turn back and go home. But we told them that we weren't going to disturb them or hang on the fixed ropes, as they probably assumed. Then we immediately climbed Alpine style, without a rope, 100 meters to the left of them. They threw a piece of ice at us to scare us. But we didn't react. We continued climbing to the left of them.
The fixing team threw ice at you?
Yes, yes, nobody has told that. But the fixing team, at the beginning, two Sherpas especially, used ice axes to cause pieces of ice to fall on Ueli Steck's head, who was the first of our group. We continued climbing. We were, of course, much, much faster than them. They were carrying rope and fixing.
After one hour, we saw our tent on the right. So we traveled horizontally toward our tent. And during this traverse, 50 meters from our tent, we crossed the line of the rope-fixing team, exactly at the same altitude where the leading Sherpa climber was. And when we arrived close to him, without touching the rope and without sending any piece of ice down onto the heads of the 15 Sherpas who were on the fixed line, the leader of the rope-fixing team started to scream, "What are you doing here? Why are you here? Blah, blah, blah, blah." And he was waving his ice ax. And you know as well as I do that an ice ax can kill a person. One hit on the head and you're done.
Who was he screaming at?
He was screaming at all of us. Because the first of us making the traverse was Jon Griffith. The second was Ueli Steck. And the third was me. He was screaming at all of us. When we got close to him, without saying, "Hello, ciao, how's it going? It's cold and windy," he immediately started to scream. Very nervously. Very angry. And, I repeat, waving an ice ax. So I also screamed myself, after 30 seconds, saying the exact words in Nepalese, "Mother******, what are you doing?" Because he was waving the ice ax close to us and we were not roped. If he touched me, I would fall down the whole face of Lhotse.
This is the only thing that I can say I'm sorry for. I said, "Mother******, what are you doing?" And he said, "We are fixing rope!" And we told him, "Okay, if you want, we can help you. Okay?" Because it was getting cold and windy. "If you want, we'll go and stop at our tent here, come back at 1:00, and if you want [us] to, we can also help you to do your job."
"No, no!" And he came very close to Ueli Steck. There was a physical contact between them because, when he was going toward him, waving the ice ax, at a certain moment, Ueli was retreating but also losing his balance. So Ueli touched, physically, the Sherpa, but just to keep himself from falling. And the Sherpa said, "Why you touch me? Why you touch me?" And Ueli said, "Listen, we are here all together for the same aim. If you want, we can help you to fix rope." And the Sherpa said, "No, I don't want that. Now we stop. We go down."
"Listen, we can work together."
"No, I go down."
So he told all the other Sherpas to descend. What we did immediately, not wanting to be the cause of the stopping of that work, was to fix the rope ourselves, Ueli and myself, all the remaining part of the fixing rope toward Camp 3. So we fixed 260 meters of rope. And after that, instead of sleeping in Camp 3 as we planned, we decided to return to Camp 2, just because we didn't want to have any misunderstanding with the rope-fixing team. It was late afternoon. And honestly, I immediately was on the radio to say that we had finished the work of the Sherpas. Then we went down to Camp 2.
What did you say on the radio?
I wanted to make it clear to everybody that the aim of the day, the fixing of rope for all the commercial expeditions, was done. I wanted to make it clear that we didn't cause any delay in the plan or the schedule for all of the commercial expeditions—even if it was not our job.
Now I am seeing in some blogs that I was saying that I would come down and kick the s*** out of them, and so on. That I used the radio to say these bad things. I strongly accuse them of being liars. I have many witnesses. It was never in my mind to provoke anyone. So don't believe these things.
You didn't want to get blamed for stopping the day's work.
Exactly. So we came down, and I won't say that I was expecting a thank you. But, more or less, I was hoping the Sherpas understood what we were doing. But what I wasn't expecting was a completely different reaction, really a tragic reaction. Because we went right to our tent and I radioed on the frequency of the expedition that was leading the fixing of the rope mainly and said, "We are here in Camp 2, and I want to come to your camp and talk with you."
It was my intention to have everything aired out, to solve the problem like normal people do. But after this radio call, after maybe five minutes, there was around a hundred people, mainly Sherpas, around our tent, and one group of Sherpas started a real attack. A real disaster. They came to us with the aim to kill us. Because they told us, "Now we kill you. Now we kill you." One of them threw a big stone into Ueli Steck's face, and he started to bleed. Then they were punching my face, and then kicks and punches and kicks and punches. And stones and so on.
At that moment, there was one person who helped to avoid the tragedy: Melissa Arnot, the famous alpinist from the United States. She knew, probably, that in the culture of the Sherpa, they would never beat a woman. So she was physically like a shield around us. She tried to embrace us, but facing toward the Sherpas, so we were behind her. And the Sherpas were screaming to her to move out and let them do their job. There was also another Sherpa, a good man named Pan Nuru, who tried to convince his colleagues to avoid any kind of violence.
And they also had a knife, a penknife, that someone tried to throw at me. But thank God I was wearing the belt from my rucksack and it got hit instead of my hip. So the violence was really and clearly to kill us.
And on our side, we spoke only a single word: "Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry!" Honestly, I didn't know why I needed to say I was sorry. For what? But you can imagine at that moment, when you have a hundred people in front of you, you just want to save your life.
Did you recognize any of the Sherpas who were attacking you?
Yeah, sure. Some of them I recognized. Some not. Because this year so many Sherpas are different. Young Sherpas also. Not the typical older, experienced Sherpas. Because this year there are many, many expeditions here. There are maybe 450 Sherpas in Base Camp. I think many commercial expeditions have hired as many as they could, and maybe they don't know them or their experience. I think this is especially a problem this year.
So the attack continued for 50 minutes. And I repeated for a thousand times, sorry, sorry, sorry. I apologized, sorry, even though I had done nothing to be sorry about-or just for a few words, okay? And they told us, "Okay, we give you one hour. In one hour, you have to fetch your tent and run away from here. And if you're here after one hour, we will kill you." So we took everything and climbed down the mountain to Base Camp, avoiding the usual route, because Sherpas were standing along the route with stones. So we took a new path going down, trying to hide behind the seracs and the crevasses.
So that night we arrived exhausted in Base Camp. You can imagine how we were feeling. There's no reason to use violence, in any country of the world, in any corner of the world, including Everest. Now there are idiots on the websites defending the Sherpas. And I am the first person who would normally defend the Sherpas.
But here we can't defend such violence against a person—all for one word. It was just an excuse. It was just a demonstration of power of a kind of mafia that is now in the hands of a few bad apples. Ninety-nine percent of all Sherpas are wonderful, peaceful, strong persons. But a few bad apples cause those tragic events.
Listen, I've been coming here 21 years. I built with my own money a school for 396 Sherpa children. I paid for the education of three different Sherpa kids. I brought my own helicopter here to do rescues for free for all Sherpas. The foreigners have to pay. So I am the last person who should be accused of not having a love for Sherpas.
Now that you've had some time to think about it, why do you think the leader of the rope-fixing team got so mad at you three?
We still continue to talk—Ueli, Jon, and me—to find a reason why he reacted so badly. And I think, you know, the world doesn't happen in one day. Usually there are multiple factors. Months, years, of tensions.
When Hillary and Tensing climbed Everest in 1953, the relationship between Sherpas and foreigners was completely different. Today everything is business. Jealousy. Anger. Competition. High tension. If you come here today, you will find that, behind many smiles, there are many economic issues. And especially this year, when many Sherpas have been hired, there is also the question of who will be the first to summit, who will bring the most clients successfully to the summit. There are many Sherpa outfits now that would like to have the business in their hands. It's a kind of cultural process that is taking place, okay?
So, coming to the point. Probably, on a cold, windy day, the leader of the rope-fixing team who saw three foreigners, who climbed in one hour what they climbed in half a day, without a rope, coming to them and offering to help them, probably it provoked jealousy or a kind of envy. Not everybody likes admitting that there is someone faster than you or better than you, okay?
Sometimes people like us, who are not clients, are considered not good for business. Because we don't need Sherpas. We don't need fixers. We are out of the groove of the commercial part of Everest. The person leading the rope-fixing team was young. Probably not that experienced. Probably not culturally open to accept that someone could climb without their help, as we were doing. So this is the only thing that I can tell you why he reacted so.
Later, you tried to work things out?
Yes, the next day at Base Camp I met the leader of the expedition that had hired some of the Sherpas on the rope-fixing team, especially the bad apples. I explained to him what happened, exactly as I told you. I decided to show them that, on my side, there was no anger toward the Sherpas. So the day after the attack, all the Sherpas from Camp 2 came down and they gave all the facts.
There was also this story, a false story, that when we traversed and went to our tent we caused some piece of ice to fall down and hit one Sherpa on the face. But that day, the Sherpa who was bleeding from the nose went officially to his leader and said, "Listen, nobody hit me. It was my mistake. I was jumaring on and I slipped on my crampons and hit my nose on the ice. There was no piece of ice falling from above."
I also decided to go to the camp of the Sherpas who provoked the aggression and meet with them. I went to the leader of the rope-fixing team, the worst of the Sherpas. He was sitting in his tent because he was getting a hard time from their leader, who said he was wrong and he was violent and so on. I went to him, I shook his hand, and I embraced him-the same person who 24 hours before wanted to kill me. And I told him, we are lucky, because you didn't kill me, and I didn't react. I have nothing against you. I hope it was a bad day for you. But I don't want to make any legal action. I could send a lot of people to prison. But I decided to show to everybody that I don't hate anybody, and I don't want to destroy the life of any young stupid Sherpa.
So I shake his hand, I embrace him, and I say now we must organize a meeting with all the different expeditions, all the sirdars, which means all the chiefs of the Sherpas, and everybody. So we meet the same day in the afternoon, and in front of everybody I'm holding the hands of the Sherpas, and I told everybody that I was sorry for the words that I said, that the reaction was unacceptable, because the reaction was to kill me, okay, but that I decided not to take any official legal action. I was ready to apologize, and I was ready to accept the apology of the Sherpas. And all the Sherpas were apologizing with me.
So we signed a kind of agreement where we said, okay, probably there was a misunderstanding, let's close things in this way. I knew it was important to change the relation between Sherpas and foreigners. Without Sherpas, nobody climbs Everest. Without foreigners, there are no jobs for Sherpas. This concept is too often forgotten.
Given the tensions that have built up over the years, do think a fight like this was inevitable?
Yes, it was boiling in the pot for at least a year. Clearly something was changing. I think it was the tip of the iceberg. And what I'm afraid is, it could happen again to someone else if relations don't change.
Are you going back?
No, Ueli, Jon, and I decided to leave Base Camp because we wanted to send a strong signal. We need time to regain our trust in Everest and the Sherpas. But I will remain in Nepal with my helicopter, and I am sure that I will have to do some rescues, probably of the same persons who were trying to kill me.
What questions do you have about what happened on Everest?
fcuk this moro. its just his side of the story. Here is the sherpa side of the story http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/climbing/mountaineering/everest-2013/Tashi-Sherpa-Interview.html
Please talk to each other and resolve your differences. Get together in the mountains over a cup of tea to talk things over. Please do it for all that enjoy the Himalayas.
You'll earn the respect of those that respect the mountains.
It's unfortunate that even National Geographic doesn't hesitate from presenting a completely one sided story. I hope and request that the NG also interview the Sherpas and let the world know the complete story. Simone aggressively held a Sherpa by his chest after the Sherpa complained about getting hit with ice that fell Simone's group which for reasons only known to them, decided to take the only piece of the mountain that lied directly above where the Sherpas were working on. Also, Simone should tell the world that he even offered money to the Sherpas right there if they would help him go up with his team.
After ice pieces keep falling on the Sherpas and sensing the danger, the Sherpas had quietly left the mountain and gone to camp III. It was then that Simone angrily challenged the Sherpas over walkie talkie, and threatened to beat them when he arrived in camp III.
[I happened to listen to a recorded conversation among the Sherpas. The conversation happened after the Sherpas decided to walk down to Camp II since Simone's team was sending ice pieces down the mountain, and well before the "fight" and incident became a world news. The tone of the voice of the Sherpas at that point were of concern and frustration. They were simply discussing mundane but crucial items such as leaving ropes on the mountain properly, and of course, climbing down carefully. There was absolutely no rage, or anger in their voice. I guess things changed once they all heard Simone's threats over the walkie talkie that he will beat them up once he came down to Camp III]
The moral to this story is : never out do a sherpa, never try to pass a sherpa...cuz they think they are the kings of Everest and what they say you had better do.
You seem very comfortable rationalizing Dog Pack violence against the outnumbered. "Most of the 100-200 were just standing around watching". Oh that makes it MUCH more understandable.
The commercial groups and their Sherpa workers have no authority to impose any ban on anybody. The climbers, having paid their permit fees like the tourist groups, have equal standing. Maybe they should impose a ban on the tourists and their Sherpa escourts?
The climbers could not just "Choose anywhere to aclimatize". They were heading BACK to a camp they had established before the Sherpas even began fixing ropes. The Sherpa workers were useing ropes already fixed by Russian climbers BTW.
And, contrary to the popular opinions of non-climbers, there is a longstanding ethic that REQUIRES weaker parties to allow stronger parties to pass. Especially on what is essentially a ski slope. It is commonplace in the climbing world. It was the Sherpas who were disrespectful of ethics and tradition in order to engage in "local gang thuggery"
Don't kid yourself, if you APPLAUD the Dog Pack ....you are part of it.
also in the Steck interview Steck says that if it had happened on the China side the Sherpas would already be in prison
thank "God" for those truly fascist regimes, chuckle . . .
a lot is made of Sherpa "jealousy" but it also may be derived from some of Simone's comments an attempt conscious or otherwise of the European free-climbers to give a poke in the eye to the commercial interests, leading them to climb above the Sherpa fixers in spite of the "ban"
(in a separate interview, Steck says that a guide gave them the "OK" previously to ignore the ban as long as they were "careful" but acknowledged the particular guide might not have had the authority to do so)
other experienced mountaineers have stated that the Europeans could have chosen anywhere on the mountain to acclimatize, but instead for some reason chose the exact and only area on that day that could end up antagonizing or at least annoying the Sherpas who were merely doing their job . . . so far from the "jealousy" Simone intends to insert, it's the Sherpas who carry the tents, electrical equipment etc that the freeclimbers also enjoy at the top
Simone's assertion that these particular Sherpas were "too young" belies the fact that it's a young man's job and has always been done by mostly younger men
Simone has since admitted that he used foul language and whether he got on the radio demanding a fight remains unconfirmed (the Euros contend it is a lie made up by one of the commercial entities). We do know the Sherpa leader confronted Steck when he was the last to cross the rope, and Steck was worried that he would be knocked off the mountain. Simone crossed to confront the leader and berate him (again, someone who was just doing his job) with foul language, and the leader finds himself outnumbered two to one, is this when the sherpa starts swinging his ice axe?
The Euros then tried to "make amends" by finishing the fixing of the ropes when the enraged Sherpas left the mountain, which would have been a further insult, also irregardless of the Euros aptitude in fixing the ropes it is ultimately the Sherpa's responsibility for the safety of the ropes . . . however a Russian team that went up the next day noticed that the ropes were not fixed, and that there was equipment strewn about.Foreign witnesses also state that the idea of "100-200" involved in attacking the tents was false, that most were just standing around watching. Some have also questioned how a knife could hit Simone's backpack when it appears he wasn't wearing one at the time.
The Sherpas are Asian. I have resided in an Asian country for 15 years. Although they like to tell people how calm they are in all situations, they definitely have a point where they go blotto. Odd thing is, there doesn't seem to be a middle ground. It's calm, then appearance of calm, pseudo calm some more, and then, in a split second, red faced rage.
I don't care if he thinks I'm an idiot. The sherpas I believe have a right to be angry. If we take his story as fact, his team deliberately disobeyed their guides, and then offered to do their job for them. That would upset me in any jobsite. If I had a bunch of people that I was supposed to be in charge of ignore my orders and then do my job behind my back. That reeks of arrogance and the fact that this alpinist can't see that proves it to me. Then throw in the fact that the sherpas are there for their livelihood and the climbers are there just for fun, and all the mental and physical exertion.....your asking for a fight.
@ "Tourism Concern" More whiney apologist crap. How much respect should anybody have for 100 masked Sherpas causing three climbers to beg for their lives for ......stepping over a rope?
If you want respect maybe you should try being respectable.
This months’ revelation of tensions in the Himalayas has brought to light the frictions that exist between local porters and the foreign trekkers and climbers who employ them. The finger pointing over this incident will continue and it is unlikely that we will ever know exactly what occurred. However it would appear that this incident was a result of long running tensions that exist between trekkers and the local porters. When run properly, trekking and tourism projects provide an essential source of income to Nepal’s Sherpa and other porter communities across the globe. However, all too often they are treated, in the words of a porter in Nepal, as little more than pack animals. All too often porters are expected to carry heavy loads without appropriate clothing or footwear and with little protection. Already this season three Sherpa have died on the mountains in Nepal.
Tourism Concern (www.tourismconcern.org.uk) has been campaigning for many years protect Sherpas and porters from exploitation and since our campaign Trekking Wrongs: Porters’ Rights, we have maintained dialogue on porters’ working conditions with UK-based trekking operators and porter protection groups on the ground. We have published a set of guidelines for UK operators and highlighted the important role they play in ensuring appropriate working conditions for porters. Since then, these guidelines have been incorporated into many trekking operators’ wider responsible tourism policies.
Tour Operators that have adopted our code and display our ethical trekking logo but we also need to encourage trekkers and climbers to respect the rights of the Sherpa and porters that make their adventures possible.Climbing and other adventure activities are inherently dangerous and all participants, paying customers and guides, must cooperate and communicate with one another to ensure that the risks of these expeditions are kept to a minimum. It is up to the individual to be proactive and responsible when planning their expedition and ensure that their porters are treated decently and fairly. Likewise, we must make sure that our personal goals (and our egos) do not come at a cost to the well-being of the local guides who make it possible for many of us to enjoy the mountains.
Chomolungma Sherpa here and others are spending great effort attempting to "un-ring" a bell.
But the bell has been rung and the Sherpas and their apologists have revealed themselves as just another interest group willing to enforce their commercial turf through barbaric violence.
Foreigners beware ...the smiles are for money.
On the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Mt. Everest:
Mountains are high
Ego is even higher
Sherpas cry, sherpas die
Hung by desire, Whose desire?
60 years, 250 Sherpas dead
Precious human life lost
Smiling faces, in an ice bed
Lost. For a toast? For a boast?
Jackets, new, shiny
Dollar, mighty, whiny
Mountain goddess over earth cries;
"What monsters did I birth?"
Boots, tough, thick
Axes pick, at her soft breast
"I am sick, I am weak
Leave me gently to my rest"
"When I am sad and I cry, tumultuous glaciers melt
When I am happy and I soundly sleep, bounty for all
My abundant never ending joy the whole world has felt
Stress me out and my wrath will lead to humanitys downfall"
Eastern or western
We all end up in a burn
Get off that mountain
There is no immortals fountain
Stop the rape of Everest
Slow down the brutal grind
No need to prove who is best
Let her rest, and so too your mind
60 years have come to pass
There is little to celebrate
Abundant only the frozen carcass
Unknown smiling face tempted fate
Only a Moro(n) thinks Human body has no limit
Only mind has no limit, so do not be deceived
This does not with our wisdom tradition fit
Do not follow blindly what is perceived
Empty is this grand illusion
Only 60 seconds lasts ego's mission
On the cover of a glossy web zine
In the blink of an eye, you become "has been"
Prayers uttered for their safety, butterlamps lit
45 pounds of their junk carried into thin air
While unknown generic no name "sherpas" frostbit
"Do I look good "on air?" Young, dead, with lots of hair."
"Commercial". "Freestyle". This is all the "mikaru's" game
We never climbed Chomolungma before they came
Its been 60 years, she is very very tired
Let her rest, only from a distance to be admired
60 years, 250 smiling dead in a giant ice bed
Havent enough stomachs and egos been fed?
Human life is precious and difficult to attain
Dont throw it away just for short gain. Whose gain?
The center image is of Steck approaching area of incident on the Lhotse face (actually a slope). Sherpa workers are seen to the right. Lead Sherpa/ instigator is likely the one at top of photo.
Does it look to anyone like stepping accross the rope to get to your camp off to the right would cause any danger? (um...no)
This gentleman has some thoughtful commentary:
My previous comment referred to the Sherpas assisting the British in beating the Japanese in jungle warfare during World War II, however that was the incorrect ethnic group from Nepal. It was the Gurkhas who teamed with the British to whip the Japanese in the jungles of Burma.
I believe Moro's account. It's a shame that the Sherpas resorted to such savage behavior. The Sherpas were outstanding in helping the British defeat the Japanese in jungle fighting during World War II. But this altercation with Moro and his party, has sullied the reputation of the current, young generation of Sherpas.
When searching around for a justification for vicious mob violence against 3 people you hate, apparently "Arrogance" seems to be the popular choice.
If you can change the subject to arrogance, culture, history etc etc then you can avoid having to defend why a vicious mob attacked 3 people over an insult.
BTW, Is 100 to 3 the correct mob to victim ratio in that part of the World?
…Melissa told him to get on his knees and apologise- just do anything necessary. Simone exited the tent and got on his knees and apologised.(Jonathan Griffith)
So this braveheart chooses to get on his knees and grovel in front of the ‘cowardly mobs’. Now that’s heroic!! ‘Just do anything necessary’. Priceless.
“Probably, on a cold, windy day, the leader of the rope-fixing team who saw three foreigners, who climbed in one hour what they climbed in half a day, without a rope, coming to them and offering to help them, probably it provoked jealousy or a kind of envy. Not everybody likes admitting that there is someone faster than you or better than you, okay?” (Simone Moro)
Now contrast this with what Jonathan Griffith says in his latest update , written in conjunction with Steck and Simone, describing the aftermath of the brawl. “Fit as we might be you can't outrun a Sherpa at such altitudes” (Jonathan Griffith). Go figure.
“But I will remain in Nepal with my helicopter, and I am sure that I will have to do some rescues, probably of the same persons who were trying to kill me.”
This is exactly the kind of attitude the Sherpas resent in you. Do you even get it? You still think you get to be their saviour (ie Ed Hillary) simply by doing some quasi rescue work. Gone are the Sahib-Sherpa days. Just go and find your own match. One more white guy out to save the world. This is not original anymore. Simone Moro: take your toy back with you and leave Nepal immediately and never come back. this shows how much respect you have earned from them so far despite your 21 years of having come here.
And to all those who say that Sherpas will suffer eventually on account of bad publicity, I’d say these guys will also feel the effect as they also feed on the same big 8000ers for their exploits. Lesser mountains, regardless of their difficulty, count less in the big world of sponsorship. Lets see who blinks first.
@Mike Santell so your saying because Simone got upset and said something because the sherpa was being a total a** and indangering them to a great deal..this is reason for the sherpas to want to kill them..really?
I beileve what Simone says here...these sherpas got way out of control and should not be alowed to do work on everest again period
Oh and if you still want to beileve the sherpas then try reading Melissa Arnot view of the attack...they WERE trying to kill these guys and for what..pride...what a joke...dont pass a sherpa cuz they are the kings of Everest and u cant make a king look bad.
Al Jazeera reported that this so called elite, great climber, a supposed hero in the climbing world called the sherpas "slaves". This reeks of colonialism, feudalism, and racism. I hope the Sherpa community who are stakeholders as Everest happens to in their backyard will start to ask some questions about whether it's worth it to lose an average of 5-6 Sherpa lives a year for this egotistical and frivolous sport.
Al Jazeera reported that one of these so called great, elite western climbers called the sherpas "slaves". This reeks of colonialism, racism and feudalism. We are in the 21st century. Sherpas will not tolerate this kind of attitude. I ho
Can you read? The Sherpas were NOT their guides and have no authority to give orders to anyone except maybe their customers. These guys are several classes above the Sherpas in climbing skill and are the guys who regularly rescue the Sherpas. Contrary to misinformed popular opinion, The Sherpas are not great technical climbers.
Agreed, Mr Casparek. It will be interesting to see how the weasel, tip-toe dance around murderous tribal behavior ends. Criticizing the personal ambition and "egos" of top level independent alpinists and somehow throwing them in the same pot with unappreciative and demanding wealthy tourists reflects poorly on the skillful climbers involved in the commercial guiding business.
Nice poem, but it misses the point. It's not about being the best (at least for the men that got beat up it wasn't), it's about pushing the limits of what is possible. It is a beautiful thing that they do, they should be admired for it.
And good poetry is about honesty and beauty, not cheap shots like the moron dig
I agree with you ....I think.
Return the mountains to the mountaineers.
Romantics and adventurers.
Eastern or Western.
Ban Guided Climbs.
When you blow up the photo you can clearly see the snow ramp they chose to traverse the blue ice over to their tent. Zero risk to the rope team. Imagine having that lead guy agressively rappelling into the unroped Steck!! Tempers? Hell yes!
Sadly, in the last day or so on the Lhotse Face, one Sherpa suffered a head injury due to rock fall, one died of HÁČE? at C3 and one apparently fell and tumbled down the face. I believe Moro was involved in all three evacuations.
This is another excellent article with some current social and political background. Thanks again.
Actually I think the Ghurka regiments were comprised of about 7 of the Himalayan hill tribes including the Sherpas. They have a very good reputation in that regard.
@Deep Shs"So this braveheart chooses to get on his knees and grovel in front of the ‘cowardly mobs’. Now that’s heroic!! ‘Just do anything necessary’." ....Wow. That has to be some of the most absurd I.T.G. jeering I've ever heard. Please tell us what more sensible course of action you would have chosen when outnumbered 100 to 3, oh stoic teacher of bravery. Should he have heroically blown on his battle horn? Yelled "SPARTAAA!"? Cried "FREEEDOMMM!"? In that situation, being anything other than pleadingly conciliatory would be the same as saying "I'm an idiot who doesn't understand obvious consequences, or a loser who holds vain pride above living, because I don't anticipate ever being able to achieve anything great after this moment that would outweigh how cool it would be to bleed to death here with some guy's boot firmly wedged in my mouth." There's nothing glorious about a stupid, pointless death, let alone three of them. He obviously felt he and his friends had lives worth living, even if it meant enduring indignity. Given your contempt for his handling of the attack, am I to take it you'd decide otherwise in your case?
There's never any shortage of people like you who will rise up on their hind legs and applaud mob violence against outnumbered people as long as "they had it coming" i.e. you hate them, (possibly because they're more accomplished than you).
@Rob Casparek @Peter Newson
Rob Casparek - you are an a**.
Wikipedia - can these alpinists do a round trip like these guys? The sherpas do not need ANYONE'S help - share your "extraordinary climbing expertise" - Yosemite is a termite hill from where you're pulling all this grandiose trolling from. Your hate and venom are eating away at any legitimacy to your remarks.
One of the most well known Sherpas is Tenzing Norgay. In 1953 he and Sir Edmund Hillary became the first people known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. Norgay's sonJamling Tenzing Norgay also climbed Everest in honor of his father with the famous Ed Viesturs and Araceli Segarra during the disastrous year of 1996.
Two Sherpas, Pemba Dorjie and Lhakpa Gelu, recently competed to see who could climb Everest from base camp the fastest. On 23 May 2003, Dorjie summited in 12 hours and 46 minutes. Three days later, Gelu beat his record by two hours, summiting in 10 hours 46 minutes. On 21 May 2004, Dorjie again improved the record by more than two hours with a total time of 8 hours and 10 minutes.
On 11 May 2011, Apa Sherpa successfully reached the summit of Everest for the twenty-first time, breaking his own record for the most successful ascents. He first climbed Mount Everest in 1989 at the age of 29. Perhaps the most famous Nepalese female mountaineer is Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the first Nepali female climber to reach the summit of Everest, but who died during the descent. Another woman Sherpa who is well known is the two-time Everest summiteer Pemba Doma Sherpa, who died after falling from Lhotse on 22 May 2007.
Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa is one half of a Nepali duo that was voted "People's Choice Adventurers of the Year 2012". In April 2011, Lakpa Tsheri and Sano Babu Sunuwar made the 'Ultimate Descent': a three-month journey in which they climbed Chhomolangma (Nepali: Sagarmatha, English: Everest), then paraglided down the mountain and proceeded to kayak through Nepal and India until they reached the Indian Ocean.
On May 19, 2012, 16-year-old Nima Chhamzi Sherpa became the youngest woman to climb Everest.
Chhurim Sherpa (Nepal) summitted Everest twice in May 2012. May 12 and May 19. Guiness book of records awarded her for being the first female Sherpa to summit Everest twice in one climbing season.
Beautiful in your eyes might not be beautiful for me. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. It's all relative.
For me, a magical, mystical Khumbu with our mountains and glaciers intact, no water problems and pristine environment is beautiful not someone hanging like a monkey on a mountain.
FYI, Mt. Everest and the Himalayas are not just a venue for "pushing the limits"; It's literally the "roof of the world." Look at the roof of your house for a moment and think about it.
If it's not about being the best, why not climb an anthill? Why come for the world's tallest mountain?
I did think about whether to include the moron pun. It was intended.
Here are reasons why I think he is a moron. He speculates that the sherpas in question/ the rope fixers are jealous of him. I too can speculate that maybe he was super stressed because his country, Italy, is going through a major recession with public debts hitting record post war highs in 2013. I can even go so far as to say maybe he carries the burden of the ailing west on his shoulders. After all, a nice film or photo capturing a triumphant European alpinist going "beyond human limits" would boost the low morable there, wouldn't it?
So maybe that's why he was so angry and so stressed that some sherpas dared get in his way to his photo opportunity. But since neither Mr. Moro nor I (last time I checked) are omniscienct, meaning possessing the power to read someone else's mind, we should let our speculations rest."You get hit once physically but in your mind you get hit over and over and over again." It's all in our heads. As for all Italians being passive aggressive mamas' boys...I could go on.
The other reason why he is a moron. I have already mentioned that this interview misrepresents Sherpas gravely as we now all are one big mob of jealous kinds apparently harboring a murderous rage for no good reason. When he says he will not return to the Everest, and that it will take some time for him to trust the Sherpas, it's like as if the entire community has somehow done him grievous wrong.
So Sherpas who have nothing to do with that incident directly or with mountaineering also are put in a position where they either have to defend or apologize. For what?
This was an isolated incident - for who knows what reason and only the skies know the facts as there seem to be countering viewpoints. The point is apologies were made by both sides accepting errors on their part. This should have been buried on Everest.
Don't they say in the west, "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas", so it should have been "What happens on Everest stays on Everest".
Instead, Mr. Moro chose to run to NG and give this very damgaing interview with a highly sensationalistic title; Sherpas tried to Kill me. This is below the belt and not in the spirit of sportsmanship. When you shake hands and make up after a fight it means it's finished and you have no axe to grind, no mud slinging on the world wibe web. This is why I think he is a moron and chose to include my pun. If he can play with the name of Sherpas why not we have a bit of fun too? Or does word play only belong to the west?
I would like to add two sherpas have just died on Everest. They are two more unknown sherpas. Maybe one of them carried all the heavy expedition loads and the heavy LPG gas cylinders you see in Mr. Moro's video on his website where he is prancing around with just a tiny backpack and he says he is looking forward to a "delicious meal". Who carried his junk? Who made that meal?
Who knows their names? Who knows their narratives?
There is an online fundraiser going on trying to collect $5000 to help his family. If a western elite or not so elite climber dies, his family will be okay financially as he or she will be insured to his/her teeth. Maybe US$ 1 million? Such is the disparity. It's a cruel joke.
Here is another Sherpa/sherpa point of view. http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/veteran-mt-everest-guide-norbu-sherpa-on-changes-in-climbing-and-the-tough-life-of-a-sherpa/
Return the mountains to the Sherpas with a capital S, the inhabitants of the region is what I am saying, not leave it to the "mikarus" (white eyes) to do what they will, or the sherpas with lower case s which unfortunately is a kind of badge name for a high altitude climbing team staff that has stuck around since the advent of climbing the Himalayas 60 years ago.
There is a difference between the Sherpas as a community and sherpa as a profession. All Sherpas do not have their roots in mountaineering; infact, a majority of Sherpas have NOTHING to do with mountaineering at all. It's only a handful of Sherpas of the upper Khumbu who are directly or indirectly linked with mountaineering. The west seems not to be educated about this at all. Not all Sherpas are sherpas but a sherpa might be a Sherpa. Hope readers of NG can understand this. Some context, please.
I hope that the term sherpa will stop to be used for a high altitude climbing team member at some point.Can you imagine the damage done by this article to Sherpas as a community as a whole? Already on web forums such as google groups Kathmandu there are posts asking if Sherpa guides (trekking guides) are safe to go trekking with. Every person with the last name Sherpa, a global diaspora numbering over 100,000 involved in varied professions and fields as diverse as any other community will have to answer for the west's ignorance and Mr. Moro's recklessness. He hurts the very same people he claims to help on a much much larger scale. While he rescues one sherpa with his helicopter, hundreds of thousands of Sherpas are puzzled by it all. As a community I hope we will find our voice, our ideals and I hope Sherpas/sherpas discontinue servicing westerners' fantasies of freestyle climbing or whatever new fantasy they come with next. Maybe spider man climb next? This is not our game. Give Sherpas back our mountains without the dead bodies, carcasses, trash, s*** and profanities (if you can help it). Thank you.
A bit of perspective on the Lhotse Face.
I hate their arrogance, regardless of their accomplishment. His accomplishment should not be an excuse for his behaviour
"People's Choice Adventurers of the Year 2012" ...Wow, 'sounds like the real heavies have weighed in. But you forgot to mention that the Sherpas now proudly hold the record for "The first 100 against 3 dog pack attack in mountaineering history".
Tenzing was part of a British expedition. There is no Sherpa tradition of exploration or adventure absent the influence of Westerners.
So, aside from running up and down the same easy routes, pioneered by others and establishing stunt "records" I'm still waiting for someone to cite one serious technical route, anywhere, pioneered solely by Sherpas.
BTW. Some years ago I hosted some Sherpa climbers in Yosemite. Nice enough guys but very timid on steep technical rock and wanted nothing to do with big walls. More interested in the food and confused as to why anyone would climb without getting paid.
I am saying leave Everest alone altogether for climbing so you might want to rethink your point about money and pride as better climbers. My hope is that in my lifetime, however long or short that might be, Everest is put off limits to humans, brown eyes or white eyes or whatever color eyes. Sherpas never climbed Everest as she is considered a goddess/deity who protects over the whole world. You say "you people" lumping us all together. I am not a climber, a guide or a coolie. In fact I graduated from a prestigious university in the United States taking up areas of study that have nothing to with techically climbing mountains. But yes, I am from the ancestral lands inhabited by the Sherpa community and therefore a Sherpa. The damage caused by climbing is something that should be paid attention to by Sherpas as a community and by the world. My main concerns are the loss our ecological and spiritual heritage, and loss of a disprortionate number of Sherpa lives for what I think is an egotistical and frivolous "sport." Peace!
@Chomolungma Sherpa as wonderfull as you people think you are your now turning out to be nothing more than money hungry thugs who despise white eyes who can climb better and faster than yourselfs..wanting to kill them over your dumb pride...looks good on you all. you can now put away the phoney smiles.
OK So you're offended that Moro published his first hand account of Sherpa violence because apparently you thought he had an obligation to cover up for you. It speaks volumes that no Sherpa has offered a FIRST HAND account.
Contrary to your repeated suggestions, Sherpas don't die on Everest because they're bravely and selflessly carrying the loads of the evil westerners. They die because, despite having great stamina, they are inexperienced technical climbers whose skills are limited to leading western tourist climbers up fixed ropes on easy routes ...for profit. It is well known that the Sherpas will put anybody up there who can put on boots and clip an ascender to a fixed rope.
Here's a rhetorical question for you put poetically, dear Rob
How red is your neck red neck Rob?
Or can you not see outside your own big bob?
P.S- Would love to waste time and fling words across continents on the world wide web but I kind of have some yaks to tend do. Anyways, a simple life of yak herding sounds way better than your day job anyday, which is what exactly - "Internet Troll Extraordinaire?" "Ritalin fed Couch Potato?"
OK, Thanks for the clarification. As it turns out I don't agree with you at all. You are disguising simple self interest in self-righteous poetic language. If you and the other Sherpas, sherpas, porters, high altitute porters etc etc don't want the evil outsider's money corrupting your claimed "spiritual purity" then simply kick them out and return to an economy based on Yak herding. But of course you won't because you are what's called, poetically, a hypocrite.
BTW Are "Dog Pack" style attacks of 100 masked cowards against 3 foreign climbers for supposed insults the culturally correct ratio in your part of the World? (It's a rhetorical question).
@Deep Shs your hate is directed at the WRONG people here...do some more reading on this.the sherpa were wrong in every single way..thet had no right to tell anyone to go back down or not to pass..these sherpa should never allowed to be on everest again but nothing is being done about this which is the real problem here...kicking ,punching , throwing knifes, one trying to crush the head with a rock on one climber. Simone did NOTHING WRONG..get that in your thick head.
(I guess he forgot to bring the rest of the mob)
Most people who claim to hate "Arrogance" do so only because they have little to be arrogant about.
Explore With Nat Geo
Anders Angerbjörn learns little foxes have big attitudes.
Special Ad Section
Shop book & DVD gifts for all ages. Plus, save on maps featuring award-winning cartography. Limited time only.