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Sherpas Leave Mount Everest In Unprecedented Walkout To Honor 16 Colleagues Who Died In Avalanche

Updated: Some expedition companies canceled their climbs as the Sherpas left Mount Everest's base camp in a walkout following the deadliest avalanche in the mountain's history. Thirteen bodies were recovered and three Sherpas still missing are presumed dead.

Posted on April 21, 2014, at 5:20 p.m. ET

Updated — April 23, 1:05 p.m. ET:

Hundreds of Sherpa guides began leaving the Mount Everest base camp on Wednesday, April 23, as part of a walkout to honor their collegeaues who died in the mountain's deadliest avalanche on Friday, April 18, the Associated Press reported.

AP Photo/Gurinder Osan, File

Expedition companies began to cancel their climbs as it would have been impossible to continue without the Sherpas. Reports estimated that nearly half of the Sherpas had left the camp and hundreds would follow in the next couple of days.

After the deadliest avalanche ever recorded on Mount Everest killed at least 13 Sherpas on Friday, many from Nepal's ethnic Sherpa community are considering a climbing boycott. Three other Sherpas are still missing and are presumed dead.

AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha

A relative of one of the Nepalese climbers killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest cries during the funeral ceremony in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Monday.

Several Sherpas have quit since Friday, and others may follow, leaving 400 foreign climbers from 39 expedition teams in limbo on the mountain, the Associated Press reported. An equal number of Sherpas and a large support staff are still at the base camp.

Prakash Mathema/AFP

Rescuers help a survivor of an avalanche on Mount Everest on April 18.

"After losing so many of our brothers and friends it is just not possible for many of them to continue," Pasang Sherpa told the Associated Press. "So many of us are scared, our family members are scared and asking us to return."

AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha

A Buddhist monk lights the funeral pyre of Nepalese mountaineer Ang Kaji Sherpa, who was killed in the avalanche, during his funeral ceremony on Monday.

Without the Sherpa guides, it would be almost impossible for expedition teams to scale the mountain. The Tourism Ministry, in charge of mountaineering affairs, said it had not been told of any cancellations so far.

Tim Chong / Reuters

Nepal's government has announced an emergency aid of 40,000 rupees (about $660) for the victims' families even as the Sherpas have expressed anger with what they consider an inadequate response from the government.

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

The mother of Kaji Sherpa, one of victims in Friday's avalanche, cries as she waits for the body of her son to arrive at Sherpa Monastery in Kathmandu on April 19.

Of hundreds of climbers and Sherpas who have died trying to climb Everest, about a quarter have been killed in avalanches.


The father and son of Mount Everest avalanche victim Ang Kazi Sherpa comfort each other as they wait for his body to arrive at Sherpa Monastery in Kathmandu on April 19.