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Sherpas, the Mountain Shepherd: What's the issue of Highest Altitude Fight ? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Pasang Yangee Sherpa, Ph. D.   
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 20:31

Exclusive; 3 photos: New York- Less than a month ago, on April 7, 2013, Mingmar Sherpa, 47, a member of a team known as the Icefall Doctors passed away becoming the first loss of this year’s summit season. But, what became a much more serious issue to the world was the highest altitude fight ever.


Sherpa guides with Mt. Everest summiters: (Back row) Sonum Sherpa; Sam Elias; Emily Harrington; Kristoffer Erickson; Hilaree O’Neill; Conrad Anker; Panuru Sherpa; Lakhba Doti Sherpa. (Front row) Danuru Sherpa; Mingma Sherpa; Tendi Sherpa; Jangbu Sherpa. Writer Mark Jenkins and Dawa Yangum Sherpa. Photo by Andy Bardon,

On April 28, 2013, the Himalayan Times, a Nepali national daily, published a report titled Climbers thrashed in Mt. Everest. In the report it was mentioned that, “three foreign climbers were thrashed in between the Camp 2 and Camp 3 while they were climbing Mt. Everest. Simboli Moro, an Italian national, and Wool Stick, a Swiss national, who went for expedition from Choyu Treks got minor injuries in the attack following a minor dispute with the Nepali Sherpa guides.”

Mt. Everest's South face (Nepal side). Image courtesy:

Since then, numerous international media and blogs have covered the fighting. Global Post, Himalayan Times, The Denver Channel, Review Nepal, Express, Otago Daily Times, The News Tribune, New Europe, International Business Times, AOL Travel, Explorers Web, Outdoors Magic, Newser, Wanderlust, Metro, Grough, The Inquisitr,, SB Nation, ITV, Mother Nature Network, Boulder Weekly, Planet Mountain, The Epoch Times, MSN Now, The Atlantic Wire, The Daily Caller, Red Orbit, The Latin Times, Yahoo! Canada, The Local, Daily Star, The Blaze, eKantipur, Huffington Post, Gadling, The Christian Post, Travelers Today,, International Science Times, Metro,, Daily Mail, The Guardian, Mirror, Euro News, BBC, NPR, CNN, ABC News, The Sun, The Times, The Australian, The Times of India, Pakistan Daily Times  among others, more or less had the same information about the incident, where the three climbers, Simone Moro, Ueli Steck and Jonathan Griffith were attacked by around 100 or so “mob of Sherpas” at 23,000 ft. Speaking to Dean Nelson of Telegraph, Jonathan Griffith said that he and his fellow climbers were warned “if they weren’t gone in one hour that they would all be killed.”

Mt. Everest's Nouth face (Tibet-China side). Image courtesy:

Reading these articles, I was really disturbed because first and foremost, they only covered the climbers’ side of the story. They portrayed Sherpas as angry mob setting out to get rid of the three climbers and to make things worse, the authorities were quoted as saying that necessary actions toward Sherpas will be taken, implying even before any investigation occurs that Sherpas were guilty.

Garrett Madison wrote it quite succinctly, “As this story has emerged in the media it has become clear that the Sherpas have not been given a voice. The press releases, the blogging, and reports from the European climbers have dominated the headlines. Meanwhile, the Sherpa are quietly continuing to fix the rope and continue their work at nearly 8,000 meters on Everest. These Sherpa help realize the dream of many western climbers and will continue to be honored and respected by the foreign climbers who climb with them on Everest.”

Alan Arnette also covered Garrett Madison’s description of the incident.

In my point of view, Garrett Madison was right. Sherpas who not only climb the Mt. Everest but carry out the duty of humanitarian work when someone is in need. Sherpas are mountain shepherd who not only help someone reach to the top of the world but also live up to the expectation of a guide or one's mission to achieve such goals.

-Pasang Yangjee Sherpa, Ph. D. in New York


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