After three European climbers were involved in a fight with Sherpa guides on their way to the peak of Mt. Everest, Nepal officials have vowed to ensure the safety of climbers, Reuters reports.
Three experienced climbers from Britain, Italy and Switzerland were on route to camp three at 22,965 feet when a brawl broke out Saturday. Witnesses said that the Sherpas pelted the climbers’ tents with stones and punches were thrown. One climber descended to the base camp after the fight, saying that he would abandon the climb if proper security was not ensured.
According to officials from Cho-Oyu Trekking agency, which organized the expedition, the fight was based on a communication error: The three European climbers failed to comply with a request from their Sherpa guides to stay at a location while the guides fixed the route, which made the Sherpas unhappy. They then attacked the climbers, but no one was critically wounded.
According to Reuters, Nepali officials were quick to respond, as Mount Everest represents a key source of income for impoverished Nepal as foreign climbers pay royalties to scale the world’s highest peak.
Sherpas are locals from the Everest region, and they are often responsible for fixing ropes and accompanying most of the foreign climbers to the summit.