Sherpas Squabble Over Everest Record...

Last week's new Everest speed record is the subject of a complaint by 12 leading Nepali climbers including the previous record holder...


Posted: 2 June 2004
by Jon

Last week's Everest speed climb record set by Pemba Dorje Sherpa has been questioned by no less than 12 leading Nepali climbers including a number of Everest summiteers, who have demanded an investigation.

The time of just over eight hours eclipsed the old record held by Lakpa Gelu Sherpa who is among the complainants. The new complaint follows on from a similar squabble last year when Pemba Dorje questioned the veracity of Lapka Gelu's then record of 10 hours and 56 minutes, which was upheld after a government investigation.

The complainants say that Pemba's new record was set in weather conditions that were so bad other expedition groups could not climb, he, in return, says that many witnesses saw him on his way to the summit and that he has proof of his success - see summit photo on everestnews.com.

The squabble belies the Sherpa reputation for a mellow outlook on life stemming from the accepting nature of their Tibetan Buddhist religion and echoes western mountaineering culture. In many ways though, it's not surprising. Most Sherpas have little interest in mountaineering for its own sake and climb purely for the rich financial rewards that it brings in what is an extrememly poor country.

Sherpa 'superstars' like the late Babu Chiri, who was sponsored by Mountain Hardwear, and made no bones about his motivation for climbing - which was essentially to be able to provide for his family - have upped the ante. On top of that, increasing exposure to western culture seems to have rubbed off on a younger generation of ambitious Sherpas.

More details on the BBCi site.


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