Following a deadly avalanche, Mount Everest's Sherpas take control
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Early on April 18, giant chunks of ice swept down a treacherous section of Mount Everest known as the Khumbu Icefall, claiming 16 lives in the single deadliest accident on the world’s highest peak. All of the dead were Sherpas, members of the Nepalese mountain community that guides, cooks, hauls gear and sets ropes for foreign climbers. For three months’ work, they earn about $6,000–nine times the average annual wage in Nepal but about one-tenth of what a foreign climber typically pays companies that manage expeditions and employ the Sherpas.
After the tragedy, the Sherpas refused to work unless the government agreed to a list of demands, including guaranteed pay even if the climbing season is canceled.