KATHMANDU (TIP): Nine Sherpa ‘icefall doctors’, who risked their lives to fix ropes on the Mount Everest after last year’s devastating earthquakes, will be honoured by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli on May 29 which is being celebrated as the 9th International Everest Day .
The Sherpas will be given a cash award of Rs 50,000 each along with certificates of appreciation by the Prime Minister, said Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA).
“Had they not fixed the ropes before this climbing season, scaling the Everest after last year’s devastating earthquake would not have been possible,” he said. “They staked their lives to fix the ropes working hard day and night,” he added.
‘Icefall doctors’ build bridges using aluminum ladders to cross deep crevasses and set ropes for mountaineers to clip their harnesses into over dangerous sections.
The nine Sherpas were the first persons to climb the world’s highest peak on May 11, after a gap of two years.
“It was a very difficult task as the ropes had to be fixed from the base camp to the 8,848-metre summit risking their lives,” he said.
There were altogether 150 people involved in fixing the routes from the base camp at an altitude of 5,970 metres to the peak situated at 8,848 metres. However, only nine of them had reached above 8,000-metre altitude.
“The diameter of the rope is nine mm and it is very weighty to carry above 8,000 metre, which was a very arduous task,” he said.
Expeditions were halted since 2014, when 16 Sherpa guides were killed in an avalanche near the base camp of the Everest.
In 2015, 18 climbers died while attempting to scale the Everest as they were swept away by a powerful avalanche triggered by the great earthquake. The route between Everest’s base camp, across the notorious Khumbu icefall, to the peak was also damaged.
The Khumbu region situated just above the base camp is a steep section of a glacier shaped like a frozen waterfall and is one of the most dangerous portions of a route, which is followed by a majority of mountaineers, to ascend the Everest peak.