KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Dozens of Sherpa guides packed up their tents and left Mount Everest’s base camp today, after the avalanche deaths of 16 of their colleagues exposed an undercurrent of resentment by Sherpas over their pay, treatment and benefits.
With the entire climbing season increasingly thrown into doubt, the government quickly announced that top tourism officials would fly to base camp Thursday to negotiate with the Sherpas and encourage them to return to work.
But while Nepal’s government has been heavily criticized for not doing enough for the Sherpas in the wake of last week’s disaster, the deadliest ever on the mountain, one top official blamed the walkout on “hooligans.”
“It was crowd behavior — some hooligans were creating problems, but things are getting back to normal,” said Sushil Ghimire, secretary of Nepal’s Tourism Ministry. He and other top officials were to fly by helicopter Thursday to base camp.