Inside Story

Shutdown on the world's highest mountain

Local guides are refusing to take climbers up Mt. Everest after the deaths of at least 13 of their colleagues.

Last updated: 23 Apr 2014 18:45
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Hundreds of thrill seekers come to Mount Everest every year to take on the ultimate challenge in climbing, paying big money for the privilege. Expeditions can cost between $50,000 and $100,000 netting the Nepal government almost $4 million a year.

But guides only see a fraction of this cash, earning between $3,000 and $7,000 a season. While that is far highter than the average annual income in Nepal, which is just $700; the risks are immense - and were demonstrated last week by the worst accident in 60 years of Everest climbs.

At least 13 guides were killed when a huge block of ice came away above the main route up the mountain. The men were preparing the way for foreign climbers at the time. The guides have to spend long periods on some of the most dangerous stretches of mountain, fixing ladders and thousands of metres of rope. 

Now they have decided the risks have become too great and are demanding changes from the government.

Is there a need for change in attitude from the climbers, who are asking the guides to risk their lives to satisfy someone else's need for adventure? We discuss the ethics of Everest.

Presenter: Mike Hanna


Dipendra Paudel - spokesman from the mountaineering section of Nepal's Tourism Ministry

Phinjo Sherpa - a  leading figure from the Sherpa community and member of the Saving Mount Everest Project

Alan Hinkes - a mountaineer who has climbed Everest and the rest of the world's 14 highest peaks 

David Pritt - director of Adventure Peaks, which organises expeditions to Everest


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