The Disaster: When a large block of ice the size of a small house breaks off above a group of climbers you know the results are going to be grim. When it happens in the Khumbu Icefall on the south side of Mt Everest it's guaranteed to gain international exposure. The April 18th avalanche that killed 16 climbing Sherpas (some of the strongest mountaineers in the world) that were ferrying gear to base camp 1 was not unexpected. Climbers for years have told tales of dread at passing through this bowling alley of death, it is the single most dangerous part of the mountain, a rite of passage for all aspiring summiteers. The tragedy went so far as to shut down the Nepal side of the mountain for the season. It will be seen if protocols are changed for the upcoming season due to Sherpa demands for better pay, and more assurances of safety.
State of Recovery: 13 of the 16 dead Sherpas were recovered from the Icefall and returned to their families, and over 1 million was raised for their families. The upcoming season will see increased coverage as guide companies return with anxious clients paying big money to summit the world's tallest mountain. There will be more attempts from the northern (Chinese) side despite the erratic bureaucracy involved. What remains to be seen is how relationships between the Sherpa community and their western clients progress in the increasingly commercial endeavor Everest has become.
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