Mumbai, April 28: Western climbers have claimed that Sherpas with Maoist links threatened to attack them if they attempted to climb Everest last week, a move that hastened the complete closure of the mountain to visitors.
Robert Kay, an American climber, said at least four western teams at Base Camp were directly threatened by a group of militant Sherpas who were determined to shut down the mountain after the deaths of at least 16 of their colleagues in an avalanche on April 18.
He was speaking from Kathmandu, where most of the climbers have gathered after the Nepalese tourism ministry closed the mountain last week. The foreigners had paid $50,000 each; money that will not be refunded.
“Their demands were reasonable until they started making threats,” said Kay .
About 400 Sherpas were at Base Camp last week, along with 334 foreign climbers who had hoped to scale the peak in spite of the avalanche.