The following was lifted from Rock and Ice
"In one of the driest seasons on record, the Lhotse and Nuptse faces of Everest are unleashing a torrent of rockfall, between two and 10 rocks per minute. The conditions are so dangerous this year that some of the most experienced Sherpas are refusing to go onto the mountain. And now, head Everest guide Russell Brice of Himalayan Experience has surprisingly responded to this year's danger by pulling the plug on his commercial expedition to the top of the world."
Two thumbs up for Russell Brice on this difficult decision. When your experienced Sherpas are that worried, and these are the people who have to do the bulk of the work on the mountain to ensure the "climbers" safety, it's time to reevaluate the situation. The above quotation does not even mention the Khumba icefall, normally one of the most dangerous sections, where conditions are such that Russell expects an accident of catastrophic proportions to possible hit the icefall. I realize that the industry provides much needed income for these people, but its hard to earn money when you are dead. No doubt others from other expeditions will probably attain the summit this year, but hopefully Himalayan Experience pulling out will at least change the attitude of the remaining (pay to play) groups. I sincerely hope lots of people show Himex support for this decision and that it is seen as a positive development for this industry.
This quote will help explain where I am coming from. From the Rock and Ice link;
"Schaffer also reports that rockfall struck the face of a Sherpa named Lhakpa Nuru, 26, working for Summit Climb. Melissa Arnot, a paramedic at Camp II, suspected a traumatic brain injury: Nuru's jaw was broken, his eye badly injured and he was disoriented. She recommended a helicopter rescue; however, Summit Climb's expedition leader, Arnold Coster, and the company's in-country agent, Everest Parivar Expeditions, said they had no money for the rescue and were refusing to front the $5,000 bill to get this injured Sherpa to a proper medical facility. "I told him to look me in the eye and tell me this guy's life isn't worth $5,000," said paramedic Melissa Arnot. Finally, after 45 minutes of negotiations, a helicopter was ordered and arrived, picking up Nuru and bringing him to Kathmandu."
I mean, you have got to be kidding me. The Sherpas are the ones putting there lives on the line every
year up there, but the commercial interest hiring them doesn't have their back. Thank god Melissa Arnot was there. I can't print how I feel about the people she had to argue with. "It's not in the budget" is not a valid response. Unconscionable.
End of rant.