Michael Chambers (@chambers__mike) is an adventurer who's climbed some of the highest mountains in the world. Among his expeditions, two attempts at Mount Everest. Chambers has what he describes as a complicated relationship with that mountain. He was there in 2014, when the deadliest avalanche in history occurred.
In that avalanche, 16 Sherpas were killed. These are the men who live in the area and help others navigate the dangerous terrain and carry many supplies. It's these men Chambers is trying to draw attention to, recently writing a piece that appeared on the New York Times site, called 'Sherpa: They Die, We Go Home.'
Westerners spend $60,000 to climb Everest. Chambers said that a Sherpa in Nepal typically makes between $4,000 and $6,000 a year. While western climbers are making $50,000 a year. Chambers mentioned that their job is 30 times more deadly than the most dangerous job in the United States, logging.
Chambers was there in 2013, when a brawl broke out between two European climbers and Sherpas. After ignoring the Sherpas' advice, the climbers traveled over the Sherpas' path, unintentionally kicking ice into the face of one Sherpa and putting them all at danger. Chambers said the confrontation that followed really served to highlight the disregard that many Western climbers have for the Sherpas. Some of the words that were exchanged, specifically from one of the renowned Western climbers, were pretty rough. I mean he was essentially calling (the Sherpas) slaves," Chambers said. "There is definitely some sort of Neocolonialism happening," he said.
Many in the climbing community are pushing to change the way Everest climbs are conducted, and how Western climbers treat Sherpas.
But, Chambers stresses that the safety regulations have to be self-regulated, by the climbing community. "It has to come from the climbing companies," he said, and not the Nepali government. He noted that the climbing community is tired of Everest, and "tired of hearing of the stories."