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Published:April 30th, 2013 08:13 EST
Does the Mount Everest Row Between Climbers and Sherpas Originate in Tenzing Norgay`s Treatment?

Does the Mount Everest Row Between Climbers and Sherpas Originate in Tenzing Norgay`s Treatment?

By John G. Kays

With this past Saturday`s scrape, what is the truth behind the row on Mount Everest (Chromolungma) between climbers and Sherpas? Have the press releases seen in the news been massaged ever so cleverly, just to put a bandaid on a very unpleasant situation, that seemingly escalated out of control? 

The worst and possibly most candid account has a vigilante group of 100 Sperpas threatening and accosting three European climbers (an Italian, Simone Moro, a Swiss climber, Ueli Steck, and a Brit, Jonathan Griffith) at Camp Two. They had one hour to get out of Dodge, or the lot of them would be killed!

Attempts to downplay this incident have been mostly unsuccessful; when I think of this Big Showdown at Camp Two, Gary Cooper`s Hang Em High comes to mind. The climbers could have lost their lives, the anger of the Sherpas was that great. But what was the exact trigger that set them off? 

Was it the chunk of ice that apparently hit one of the Sherpas, what set them off? We know the climbers started moving before the Sherpas had finished fixing the ropes; why did the climbers show such disregard for this traditional lead prep work?

The top of Mount Everest reaches 29,029 feet; this particular expedition had made it up to 24,000 feet and had almost reached Camp Three. Perhaps the oxygen had gotten too thin for the climbers and even for the seasoned veterans of mountain climbing, the Sherpas. In any case, both parties were operating irrationally. Going forward without consent of the Sherpas is sheer arrogance!

This morning I did some study on Mount Everest and it`s amazing history, which possibly culminates in Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reaching its summit on May 29, 1953.  We will probably deem this the Golden Era of the steepest (and most challenging) sort of mountain climbing; moreover, we may note a sharp contrast to the deteriorated condition of the treacherous sport in this current time. 4,000 have scaled her heights since the glory days of Hillary and Norgay.

We might postulate, `the thrill is gone!` Nothing but a narcissistic novelty sport now; but really, it`s a big part of this depressed economy of Nepal. CNN is reporting that 340 foreign climbers, which comprises 30 expeditions, will confront the challenge of scaling Chromolungma (as the locals call it) this year alone. 

The point, that needs to be made, is an equal number of Sherpas will be employed to aid these ambitious dreamers! Mountain climbing now days plays a very different role than it once did, say back in May of 1953.

Well, what we want to know really, is whether the sizable row taking place on Saturday might be a game changer? Will foreigners be too afraid of Sherpas now, to be left alone with them 24,000 feet up an icy, chilly precipice? 

Can these various organizations, such as the Expedition Operators` Association, put confidence back into this shaky social and cultural situation? Furthermore, does the resentment and unrest of the Sherpas date back to how Tenzing Norgay was treated? Was Tenzing Norgay given as much credit for climbing Mount Everest as his New Zealand partner, Edmund Hillary?