Everest avalanche: Tributes paid to victims one year on

April 19 2015 02:29

APR 18 – Relatives, guides and mountaineers have marked the first anniversary of an avalanche that killed 16 sherpas on Mount Everest.

The guides died in an area just above base camp at 5,800m (19,000ft).

The avalanche was the worst accident in modern history on the world’s highest peak.

As a mark of respect, climbing was suspended for the day on Saturday. Services were also held at Base Camp and in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

Monks held prayers with relatives of those who died.

One of the victims was Ang Kaji Sherpa, a single father of five. His daughter, Chhechi Sherpa, said: “There is a vacuum in our family, no-one to guide or scold us. We are on our own.”

At Base Camp, members of the British Army’s Gurkha brigade, which is made up of Nepalese soldiers, took part in a commemoration ceremony on Saturday.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the brigade, and the British Army is aiming to help a serving Gurkha soldier to reach Everest’s summit.

The accident took place in the Khumbu icefall, a portion of ragged glacial ice that can flow at more than a metre (3ft) a day.

It is one of the first major obstacles that Everest climbers encounter.

After the tragedy, Mt Everest’s 2014 climbing season ground to a halt, and there were calls for greater compensation for sherpas.

Nepal’s mountaineering association says sherpas’ pay and welfare have since improved and weather forecasts are now more detailed.

The route up Everest has also been altered.

But sherpas are demanding that helicopters be allowed to carry equipment part of the way up the mountain to limit the number of dangerous trips they must undertake.

It is a move Nepalese climbing operators have so far resisted.

A BBC reporter at Base Camp says there are 300 climbers there waiting to launch a bid for the summit.

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