The 15 expedition groups already at the base camp decided to collectively call off treks and return home on Sunday because of bad weather. Tourism Ministry sources said 15 more groups above the base camp will also be returning back.
The unilateral decision by the groups comes in the backdrop of sherpa guides striking work and protesting over the death of 13 of their counterparts in an avalanche about 100 m above the base camp on April 18.
The returning expedition groups called 2014 a black year in the 61-year history of mountaineering at the Everest. Three days ago, the government declared that the permit given for 2014 to groups to climb would remain valid for two years should they abandon the expedition.
This is an unprecedented situation, said Madhu Sudan Burlakoti, spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation. The announcement that they would not be heading towards the summit was made at Solukhumbu even as the government and Sherpas are still negotiating about higher compensation to the families of those who lost their lives in the avalanche.
Lama Kaji Sherpa, a tourism entrepreneur in Namche, said no expedition will head towards the summit as we all are shocked by the tragedy.
- Yubaraj Ghimire