Mt. Everest Brawl Includes Climbers, Sherpas

A Mt. Everest brawl included climbers and Sherpas near the mountain’s summit in what could be the world’s highest altitude fight.

A team of thee European solo climbers described how they were attacked by a group of Sherpas near the famous mountain’s peak. The violence apparently began at 24,000 feet — 5,029 feet below the summit.

The brawl reportedly began after three Alpine mountaineers and high altitude guides engaged in an argument. One Sherpa also allegedly threatened the group with an ice axe.

All three claimed they were attacked with stones and rocks by a large group of sherpas after they retreated to a lower camp. The climbers were Italian Simone Moro, Swiss Ueli Steck, and Briton Jonathan Griffith. The three climbers claimed that their lives were saved by the intervention of other western campers who were camped out at Camp 2.

Nepal government spokesmen and Sherpa leaders confirmed the fight took place, adding it was the first incident of its kind they could recall. One Sherpa blamed the “poor English” of the Italian climber along with on of the Sherpas for the “misunderstanding” that caused the Mt. Everest brawl.

An American bystander who witnessed the high-altitude brawl recalled, “The Sherpas told the team not to climb above them while they were fixing the ropes but they did it anyway. Then some ice fell and hit the Sherpas, which made them angry.”

The witness added of the attack at Campt Two, “It was terrifying to watch — they nearly got killed.” A meeting between some of the climbers and the Nepalese guides took place on Monday. Nepalese tourism official Surendra Sapkota, stated, “Both parties apologized to each other and ended the meeting amicably.”

The Mt. Everest brawl apparently took place on 8 am Saturday morning while the Sherpas were fixing a route for guided expeditions to Camp 3. It is not yet clear whether the climbers will continue their expedition.

[Image via McKay Savage]