9 Sherpas honoured on Everest Day

- Associated Press, Kathmandu

May 30, 2016-

Everest Day was celebrated on Sunday by honouring nine Sherpa guides who fixed ropes and dug the route to the summit so hundreds of climbers could scale the world’s highest mountain this month, following two years of disasters.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli praised the men at the ceremony in Kathmandu, where they were presented with bouquets and given checks for Rs50,000.

“The secret behind the more than 400 climbers ascending Mt Everest is the successful rope fixing and successful route fixing,” Oli said. Everest Day honours the first successful climb in 1953 by Tenzing Sherpa and Edmund Hillary. Since then, thousands of climbers have scaled the peak and some 280 people have died on Everest’s unpredictable slopes, including at least four this month.

The nine Sherpas who were honoured on Sunday were the first to reach the summit this season, on May 11. Since they fixed the ropes and dug the route, more than 400 people have climbed the mountain. The Sherpas first fixed ladders and tied ropes over the dreaded Khumbu Icefall, just above the base camp. They then fixed ropes for climbers to hold onto for much of the route.

The busy climbing season follows two years of disasters on the 8,848-metre high mountain. Last year’s season was scrapped after 19 climbers were killed and 61 injured by an avalanche at the base camp triggered by a massive earthquake. In 2014, an avalanche at the Khumbu Icefall killed 16 Sherpa guides.

PM Oli offered bouquets on Sunday at the statues of Hillary and Tenzing in Kathmandu. People attending the function observed a minute of silence in memory of those killed on Everest this season.

Two Indians, an Australian and a Dutchman died on the mountain this month, while another Indian is missing and believed to have died near the summit.

Published: 30-05-2016 08:01

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