Sherpas Shut Down Everest

Everest Climbers Are Packing Up

“Being a climbing Sherpa, particularly being among the lead climbing Sherpas, it’s a very prestigious job and these guys tend to be the rock stars of their communities.”
~ Nick Heil, Author of “Dark Summit”

On April 18, 2014, a devastating avalanche took place on Mount Everest, killing 16 Sherpas. The Nepalese guides always take bigger risks than their clients. They haul equipment, prepare the route, and set up camp. On April 18 the Sherpas were repairing ropes for foreign climbing teams when the unexpected avalanche swept them away. This was the first day of the climbing season on Everest, and the deadliest day on record.

Approximately 400 Sherpas are threatening to end the 2014 climbing season before it begins. In addition to wanting to honor their fallen colleagues, they are fighting for better compensation for the victims’ families and better pay for themselves. The Nepalese tourism bureau is attempting to negotiate. They feel that losing a full season of climbing would be devastating to Nepal.

Authentic Materials for Classroom Discussion

Do you enjoy using authentic materials in the classroom? Here is an article about the Sherpa walkout that you can share with your English learners. Read the article together, review some new vocabulary, and have a discussion. You can also watch a related video.

Vocabulary and Expressions from the Article

  • follow suit
  • compensation
  • grueling
  • prepare the way
  • in the name of
  • in the wake of
  • vital


Discussion Questions

  1. What jobs do the Sherpas do?
  2. This tragedy happened on the first day of the climbing season. Could this be “a sign” to stop climbing Everest?
  3. Climbers pay between $30,000-125,000 to climb Everest. How do you think these people feel about the Sherpas’ decision?
  4. Besides avalanches, what other problems have you heard about on Everest? Garbage | Traffic Jams)

Famous Things: Mount Everest

Mount Everest Lesson PlanOur lesson plan library has a ready-made lesson plan about Mount Everest. You can find it in our Famous Places section. This lesson plan includes a reading, vocabulary review, comprehension questions, and discussion questions.


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