Situation UpdateFriday, May 3rd, 2013
On April 27, 2013, a heated argument took place between three Sherpas who were fixing the top for Mt. Everest and three European climbers Jonathan Griffith(UK), Ueli Steck(Switzerland) and Simone Moro(Italy) in the Camp II over asking them not to move in alpine style up the Lhotse face before rope was being fixed. Before providing responsibility to Sherpas for fixing the rope, a meeting was held in the Everest Basecamp inviting all expedition leaders and Sherpa Sirdars to discuss the rope fixing strategy for this season on Everest. It was agreed there that nobody would be climbing on the route before rope being fixed except the fixing team. It is reported that Simone Moro did not attend this meeting, and might not have been aware that this protocol is an unwritten rule on Everest.
As per the report received from an independent source, the 3 European climbers set out the morning of the 27th heading for the Lhotse face. As the fixing team was moving through a steeper section of the Lhotse face, the 3 European climbers met with the fixing team. The fixing team alerted the 3 climbers to not touch or cross the rope. With verbal abuse passing between them, it took the nature of scuffle but nobody has been reported injured. The brawl was stopped by a group of western climbers and Sherpa working together. As the group separated, Simone requested to apologize for his actions. After things calmed down, Simone’s team descended to base camp.
Ministry of Civil Aviation, Tourism and Civil Aviation immediately communicated with its liaison officers based in Everest Basecamp after getting information about this unfortunate incidence. To pacify the situation amicably by creating the conducive atmosphere, a meeting was held on April 29 at the office of SPCC under the chairmanship of team leader of Nepal Army Major Sunil Singh Rathor. Attended by liaison officers, SPCC and HRA officials and members of different expedition team, the meeting made following decisions:
- On 27 April 2013, above Everest Basecamp, at Camp 2 and Camp 3 an argument arose between foreign climbers and Nepali climbers and the situation was discussed today at this meeting. Both parties have realized their error and apologized to each other in front of those present. Furthermore, both parties agreed to help each other in the future to make successful each other goals. It has also been decided that this issue will not be raised again.
- All those present agreed and committed that such activities must never be repeated by anyone in mountaineering and in the tourism sector. If any party is dissatisfied with the action of another party, they commit not to go into conflict or use violence against the other party. Instead they commit to report the action to the government representatives or the relevant government recognized association present at the basecamp, to come to an amicable solution between parties.
On April 30, 2013, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Tourism and Civil Aviation issued a press release stating the amicable agreement reached between two groups and requested the climbers, the expedition operators and support staff to operate their activities with full restrained and in disciplined way. the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Tourism and Civil Aviation has requested the climbers to continue their expedition assuring them full security.