(Tina Sjogren) Trying to make sense of the savage violence in camp 2, conflicting mountain reports and - what seems like - damage control from the Everest commerce flank: ExplorersWeb reached out two days back with a few questions to Simone Moro. Here goes.
ExplorersWeb: Will you continue your ascent?
Simone Moro: No I will not continue my expedition.
ExplorersWeb: We hear Ueli left BC - is that right and why?
Simone Moro: Ueli and Jon left BC by heli yesterday. They will go home, shocked and sad. There doesn't exist a justification to be nearly killed in C2. I will stay to fly my heli rescues, maybe saving the same people who attacked us...
ExplorersWeb: Everyone seems to think you guys should have waited for the sherpas to fix the route (I'm not sure why) why didn't you?
Simone Moro: We had set up our C3 tent days before the rope fixing team even began their job. To stay out of their way we climbed 50-70 meters to their left in alpine style. This is how climbing with or without fixed ropes can be combined to accomodate and respect both climbing styles.
We too had a climbing permit. If I want to climb without fixed rope I have to be in a position to do it. Everest is for alpinists and commercial clients both, not just one of those categories. But I repeat we NEVER interfered with or disturbed the rope fixing team.
ExplorersWeb: Steve House tweeted about other incidents with commercial Sherpas being hostile to free climbers, what do you think is going on?
Simone Moro: I think we should simply keep reminding that even though 90% of Everest climbers are guides or clients, we have to tolerate that there are alpinists who want to climb the mountain in a different style.
It's not about competition but acceptance. We never interfered with the rope fixing - we just exchanged words with the Sherpas when we crossed their line to our tent. Does that validate us almost being killed in C2? There is no reason to use violence, never, never, never!
ExplorersWeb: We're thinking that Everest perhaps should be split into different sections: the normal routes dedicated to commercial expeditions while new routes could be dedicated to free climbers without oxygen and rope fixing sherpas but at drastically cut climbing fee. Your take?
Simone Moro: I honestly love Mount Everest and the Sherpas even though the mountain is packed with people and a few (westerners as well as Sherpas) believe they are the king of the hill.
I don't think we need any more rules, just a sense of responsibility. The fee goes to the government and those money are precious for Nepal. If you want to be alone it's enough to come in winter or the monsoon season. I only hope that there will be no more violence. A bad word cannot trigger a knife attack or a rock to the face.
Nobody asked me to officially apologize for my bad words, I did not only that, but also publicly embraced the person who tried to kill me 24 hours before. Because of it none of the Sherpas will go to prison and have their life destroyed. I don't know how many people in this base camp are able of such forgiveness.
My act is just the beginning. I alone can't solve the many years of tension, jealousy and problems caused by business interests here on Everest. What happened to us can happen again if things don't change here, especially in relations between humans.
ExplorersWeb: Anything you want to add, pls feel free.
Simone Moro: I just want to add that Garrett Madison's report is completely false. He wrote: "...At one point Simone stated over open radio frequency (fixing frequency-tuned in by all the fixing teams and anyone listening on the mountain) that if the Sherpa had a problem he could come down to Camp 2 soon and 'f---ing fight'."
This is completely, completely, completely false! I never did such a stupid and provocative radio call, and I have witnesses to confirm it. The report is falsifying facts to justify the tension and the violence in Camp 2. I can understand that he has to defend his business, but lying is not the way to do it.
ExplorersWeb founder Tina Sjogren was leader of an expedition of independent climbers to Mount Everest in 1999 where her small team of Sherpas (5 men) fixed the entire route above the icefall. She has since criticized imperious commerce as well as climbing elitism in Himalaya.
Seasoned Himalaya alpinists Ueli Steck and Simone Moro, with expedition cameraman Jon Griffith, climbed Everest off the fixed ropes and without oxygen, hoping to carve a new variation route on the peak. The men were viciously attacked by a large mob of Sherpas working for commercial expeditions and had to abort their free-style attempt.
Guardian interview with Jon Griffith
Jon Griffith at UKclimbing
Pro-Alpinists Have Mixed Reactions, Questions about Everest Brawl
Eye witness reports from Everest camp 2: the attacks were brutal
Everest attack, the Russian take: "We saw what happened on the wall"
Garrett Madison's Everest attack timeline and report
Everest Truce: Ministry Press Release
Altercation on Everest resolved
Everest brawl: Ueli going home
Press release on Ueli Steck's website
Incident on Simone Moro's website
Simone & Ueli's cameraman Jonathan Griffith reports to EpicTV
Planet Mountain interview with Simone Moro
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