An unprecedented, bar-room style brawl recently popped off near the Everest Summit, and early reports seemed to point the finger at the Nepalese Sherpas rather than the famous European climbers.
Later in the day, a furious mob of Nepalese stormed up towards the climbers’ tents and pelted them with stones until the men came outside, after which a loud argument ensued and punches were allegedly thrown.
“After a while the mob left, and the climbers packed up and walked past us down — as far as we knew they were leaving the mountain,” the eyewitness added. “It was terrifying to watch — they nearly got killed.”
Another report out Tuesday paints a different picture, one that doesn’t make the Sherpas look as militant.
Garret Madison, another famous climber who’s made the summit several times, is himself very familiar with the parties involved — and even listened to all the radio chatter as the situation developed.
The Sherpas were mad that the climbers had disobeyed their advice and climbed ahead while they were struggling to repair rope on a separate route.
This is where the story divides.
The initial report said that the climbers inadvertently kicked some ice down on the sherpas at a dangerous part of the climb. This made the Sherpas mad, and led to the confrontation.
According to Madison, the climbers knew that no one was supposed to climb while the route was under repair. The climbers found a separate route, and went ahead anyway, against the Sherpas’ wishes.
When their paths were about to cross, the sherpas gave the climbers a warning — crossing the rope would be dangerous, and this was a very dangerous portion of the climb.
Simone [Moro] began to shout, many of the words in Nepali language, and many of the words were inflammatory. At this point the fixing team made the correct decision to drop their loads of rope and hardware, attaching them to the installed line, and to descend without any further interaction or confrontation with the three climbers.
The climbing team decided to descend as well. On their way down, Moro radioed the camp.
At one point Simone stated over open radio frequency—fixing frequency, tuned in by all the fixing teams and anyone listening on the mountain—that if the Sherpa had a problem he could come down to Camp II soon and “f—ing fight.”
On the way down, Moro radioed again, this time demanding angrily that he have a meeting with the 16-man Sherpa team. A few western guides advised Moro to apologise to the sherpas.
In the meantime, the sherpas gathered at Moro’s tent. They were angry, and felt insulted.
Moro stepped out, words were exchanged, and the brawl broke out.
The next day, Madison mentions to Moro’s credit, that Moro refused to leave the camp without apologizing to the sherpas. He was apologized to in return, and all parties left each other in peace.
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