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Fees Collected for Preparation of the Route through the Khumbu Icefall

Fees Collected for Preparation of the Route through the Khumbu Icefall. Much of the work of making the route through the Khumbu Icefall was performed by the Sherpas employed by Mrs. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa and a Spanish expedition. For their work in the icefall and for the ladders and other equipment they supplied to do it, these Sherpas demanded from other expeditions to Everest and Lhotse some payment in cash or in kind, preferably $300 per foreign climber using the route. This was not the first time that those who had established the route had asked for contributions from others, and as long as permits are granted to a number of teams to climb this route at the same time, it is likely not to be the last. According to German Hans Eitel, four or five Sherpas were posted at the beginning of the route to stop those from using it if they had not paid. “This situation is not good for climbing,” he commented angrily later; he said that he gave $1,700 and 1000 meters of climbing rope. He was not the only person to object. The Russians, who were on a very tight budget, refused to pay and made their own Icefall route, which was dangerously close to avalanche-prone slopes. According to a Sherpa involved in making the general route, the Russians went their own way several times and then switched to the normal, safer route, wrapping their faces so that no one could tell whether they were people who had paid or not.

Elizabeth Hawley