Sherpa (2015) Movie Script

Douglas: This is an astonishingly
chance relationship.
Between western climbers
and the sherpas.
When climbing began,
the sherpas had no conception
of what mountaineering might be,
and yet, suddenly they were
on this journey
from being people who just
genetically were really good
at altitude to becoming,
you know, international
mountain guides 100 years later.
Man: 1953... coronation year.
The world was turned by the news
that Everest had at last
been conquered
by a British expedition
led by colonel John hunt.
Accompanied by the famous
sherpa tenzing,
Edmund Hillary climbed
the summit
of the world's highest mountain.
Douglas: When tenzing norgay
reached the summit of Everest,
that is such an amazing moment.
It's one of the most
beautiful moments
in climbing history.
That's the moment
when the word "sherpa"
has the meaning of brand in
the way that we understand it.
The world
was captivated by tenzing.
And he fixed in our minds
the popular image of a sherpa,
as this smiling, friendly,
almost heroic figure.
A lot of the western world.
Do not know what a sherpa is.
So, a sherpa, you know...
You climb mountains, you know?
And that's the first instinct,
but they have no idea
that we are
actually an ethnic group
of people.
We believe in reincarnation...
Life after death.
And you continue to be reborn
and reborn and reborn
until the day you reach nirvana.
So, your next life is determined
by your deeds of this life.
We sherpa people have a great
respect for the mountain.
Over here, we climb mountains,
but it's a holy place.
There's a huge difference in,
you know,
the attitude, the feeling.
Western people approach it
as a physical challenge...
Push your limit to see
how close you can get to death.
But there's
1,000-year-old stories
we have about
the mountain's history,
which these people
have no idea about.
And I think some people adapt
and learn and respect it.
Some people don't.
Douglas: If phurba is one of the
most successful climbing sherpas.
Of his generation,
then his counterpart
amongst expedition leaders
is his boss, Russell Brice.
Brice: I've been running
commercial expeditions here.
Since 1994.
I think I'm the person
that's been
on more Everest expeditions
than anyone else in the world.
- It's all oxygen.
- All oxygen.
And I brought those
two broken ones in kathmandu.
How can I explain phurba tashi?
This year, he might climb
Everest 22 times...
More than anyone else
in the world...
And such a special person.
He's incredibly strong
on the mountain.
Good idea. Water here.
Hi, guys.
Lots of new faces.
The service-industry aspect.
Of climbing Everest
has developed and developed.
So what mountaineers in 1975
maybe would have put up with,
the people who are coming now
want something a bit more.
You know, they want
a very comfortable base camp.
Everything's good.
So much work for these guys
to make all these platforms
and put tents up.
The activity here
has changed utterly.
It has become an industry,
and that industry is people,
largely, by sherpas.
And they may not still
fully understand
what it is that compels us
to climb mountains,
but they are fantastically good
at delivering the experience.
So far, so good, actually.
Everybody's looking
and sounding quite healthy.
A couple mild headaches,
but that's to be expected.
Okay, folks.
Let's roll on out of town.
Steven: In the old days,
people did everything
on the mountain together.
And today,
the mountain has changed in that
the operators
take care of everything.
Brice: In the old days,
if you got one person
on the summit,
that was success.
Now, we need to get everyone
on the summit.
So if you want to get everyone
on the summit,
you need much more
creature comfort.
Certainly the type of person
that comes on an expedition
has changed considerably.
We bring people here to help
them fulfill their dreams.
Hey! Yeah!
Phurba, how's it going?
Good to see you.
You boys have done hard work.
Hey, phurba. Peter. How are you?
It's been a goal as a climber.
I know to a lot of climbers,
it might be trivial,
but to me,
being on top of Everest
is just an achievement
of a dream.
Johnson: Part of the reason why
you want to come and climb...
You want to experience
those things,
see if you can do it, see
if you can physically do it.
It's a massive undertaking.
The training is phenomenal.
And, you know,
it's not something
you put together
in a couple weeks.
It's months of planning
and months of getting organized.
Everest has always
been attractive
for several reasons for me.
I love the Buddhist side to it.
I love the whole...
I love the nepalese people.
So, for me, it's been a more
enjoyable mountain than most
because I think
that it's so cool,
that you get to share it
with these beautiful people.
Man: Have you ever seen a man
so particular?
Man #2:
Are you watching this right now?
Man #3: It's like a caveman.
Douglas: And so, for just
eight hectic weeks each year,
Everest base camp
becomes this thriving village.
And in recent years,
overcrowding on Everest
has been the source
of a lot of controversy.
Williams: It might just be
the last place on earth.
You'd expect to find
a traffic jam...
The top of the world...
Mount Everest.
Man #4: These archive images
show how lineups
cause long
and unnecessary delays.
Man #5: More than 4,000 climbers
have been to the top of Everest.
600 people do it in a good year.
It has become a very necessary
part of the nepalese economy.
Man #6: Expedition companies
charge up to $100,000
to clients wanting
to make the ascent.
Man #7: Climbing Everest has
become a bucket list ambition
and a multi-million-dollar
Douglas: This is a, you know,
big employer...
Lots and lots of people.
There are more sherpas
working on the mountain now
than there ever
have been in history.
But they only get
a small fraction of the pie.
Man #5: The sherpa guides
earn up to $5,000
for a two-month expedition,
10 times the average annual pay
in their isolated homeland.
The whole Everest circus.
Just seems to get
bigger and bigger,
and this season is no exception.
Russell Brice's team
is just one of 38 expeditions
on the mountain this year.
All these people have to be
looked after,
and all their equipment has
to be moved up the mountain.
You have Google maps
photographing the route
to the summit.
There's a Hollywood
feature film.
There's even a guy in a wingsuit
trying to jump off the top
and fly all the way down.
So, we're here to put on one.
Of the most
ambitious television projects
in the history
of the media world.
So he'll be flying down here,
and we're gonna be
broadcasting it all live.
There's a reason
that superman movies
or Batman movies
and spider-man...
All these superheroes
are so popular.
I can do what those guys can do.
Wardle: It's kind of daft,
but you know,
in the world of adventure,
people are always thinking
of new crazy things to do.
It's part of the deal now...
Is that they're all kinds
of strange notions
of what can be done on Everest
simply to attract attention.
One, two, three.
The way these commercial
expeditions climb Everest
is to establish a series
of higher and higher camps,
stocking them
over a period of weeks
with everything required
to give the clients
the best chance
of reaching the summit.
The government
doesn't permit equipment
to be flown up the mountain,
so everything that goes into
building these camps
has to be carried.
Douglas: And it's the sherpas
that do that work,
including going through what is
its most dangerous section.
If you want to climb Everest
from the south,
you have to go
through the khumbu icefall.
It's the route up Everest most
commercial operators prefer,
partly because of
political uncertainty
on the northern side
of the mountain in Tibet,
which they'd rather avoid.
Mckinley: The khumbu icefall
is like a waterfall of ice.
Coming out of the western cwm.
There is nowhere else
in the world
that a mountaineer would go
through an icefall like this.
But because it's the only access
on the south side to Everest,
then people do walk through
this jumble of ice.
The problem with the icefall
is that it's uncontrollable.
All the other aspects of
the mountain that are dangerous
have, you know,
in terms of safety,
have been improved
over the years.
But the icefall remains,
you know, perilous.
Douglas: There are threats
from every direction.
Not only that...
There are big blocks of ice
falling down
without warning from above.
You're asking men to go to work
in a very dangerous environment.
And it's becoming more so
as the seracs,
these giant blocks
of glacial ice,
are affected by the forces
of climate change.
They're dropping off
more readily,
and people are going
to get caught more often.
Man #8: Oh, shoot.
Douglas: So you know that
this is a perilous moment...
Going through the icefall.
Man #8: Oh, my god.
And it's not just once or twice.
The sherpas
have to go through it.
It's up to 30 trips per season,
as compared to about two
or three for most foreigners.
Brice: I'm totally scared
every time
I send the sherpas
up in the mountain.
It's like sending them off
to war.
I don't know
who's gonna come home.
If there's an accident
in the icefall,
are we gonna lose one?
Are we gonna lose two?
Are we gonna lose six people?
Because the potential is there.
Douglas: And the question is...
What is the moral
justification for that?
You know, what reward is there
for you to play
what is essentially
a game of Russian roulette?
In 2012, I determined
the mountain to be dangerous.
Every night,
I'd listen to the sherpas
on the radio going
through the icefall.
And all the time,
they were running away
from small avalanches
and blocks of ice
falling down
and things like that.
So I made a decision
to cancel my expedition.
That's an incredibly hard thing
to do...
To cancel
a commercial expedition.
Douglas: There were people
around who said,
"well, Russell's, you know,
being a bit of a chump here"
because his clients
will be pissed off
because they went home
"and other people
got to the top."
I think Russell Brice
was really putting
into perspective the risks
that people were making
the sherpas take.
Now Russell has
four of those clients
returning this year.
So that adds a lot of pressure
for a successful expedition.
Tenzing norgay was a man.
Who was determined
to change his stars.
And when he reached the summit
of Everest, he did that.
The British
couldn't have done it
with someone like tenzing.
He'd been to the mountain
seven times by that point,
and they benefited
from all those years
of his experience,
but he wasn't acknowledged.
He wasn't given due regard
for what he had achieved.
Coming down from that,
almost immediately,
he finds himself
in a political firestorm.
Who got to the top first?
Hunt: To anybody who climbs
mountains, to any mountaineer,
and I feel
to thousands of others.
The matter couldn't matter less.
Reporter #2: When tenzing
norgay was asked how he felt,
his chilly answers
had to be interpreted.
Hunt: He's very happy.
Reporter #2: All this
and the George medal, too.
Douglas: So John hunt became
sir John hunt,
Hillary became sir ed Hillary,
and tenzing got
the George medal.
Now, there is a superior award
to that... the George cross.
So it's kind of like
a second-level award.
It was just not right.
So in the eyes of sherpas,
in the eyes of people in India,
in the eyes of most asians,
they felt somewhat slighted
that he would not get
the same kind of recognition
that his partners got.
Jamling: My father said,
"i wish I had never
climbed this mountain."
Douglas: He was immensely proud
of what he had achieved,
but I think he felt
thwarted in a way.
I think he felt that he hadn't
realized himself
in the way
that he would have liked.
I think partly it's because,
you know,
he lacked a formal education.
The 60-year-old reputation.
Of what it is
to be a sherpa is changing.
Joshi: Now, you go to base camp.
And more than 80% of sherpas
finish their high school.
And if you go 20 years ago,
none of them have been
to high school.
Because of their education,
they know a lot more
than western clients
think they do.
Steven: Now with
the Facebook generation,
sherpas see
how much credit westerners
are getting
for a climb on Everest,
and they know that they've done
most of the grunt work.
Without the sherpa,
the westerner
would never have gotten there.
And they are dissatisfied
with that.
And they want equal credit
for what they have done.
What we've seen in recent years
is a...
A tendency of aggression
from younger sherpas.
So, last year,
there was fighting on Everest,
and I think we were
all disappointed,
so sad about that.
Man #9: Dozens of people
risk their lives every year
trying to climb mount Everest.
This morning, some of them say
they nearly died in a brawl.
Woman: Man versus the mountain
to man versus man.
Man #11: Three climbers
say they faced a human foe.
Man #12:
Three top European climbers
had to flee for their lives.
Man #13: The highest-altitude
scrap in history.
Man #14:
They just tried to kill us.
Man #15:
The sherpas tried to kill you?
Man #16: This all unfolded
near the summit,
an altitude
of roughly 22,000 feet.
Douglas: You have a European
calling a sherpa a...
Which is, in Nepal,
culturally insensitive.
Man #17: Yep. I copy that.
I know what word you used.
I don't like that word, either.
Man #18: Sherpas, who usually
help westerners summit,
turned against them.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry
for all what they said.
All the words that came out
from my mouth was wrong.
I am sorry.
Please. Please, no violence.
- No.
- He came to apologize.
I'm sorry.
Yes, yes.
Please, no violence. Listen.
He's very sorry.
Inside, inside.
Man #18: It's not clear whether
the fight was something personal
or reflected
a greater discontent.
Please, no violence. Please!
It's about sherpas
no longer feeling
that they have to be subservient
or deferent to western climbers
and not playing out that role
of the faithful servant anymore.
Not being the kind of nice,
friendly, smiley person
in the background.
Just saying,
"actually, you know what?
We're as good as you."
Brice: I'm a little afraid.
Where it's going
to lead in the future.
It's too hard.
The tension is too hard.
The worry is too hard.
And I'm getting too old
for that.
- Good morning.
- Good morning, mount Everest.
Hot towel.
Roughin' it on mount Everest.
Hot towels
and tea in the morning.
Can I have a tea
with no sugar, please?
Douglas: The reason Everest
takes eight weeks to climb.
Is that the body needs to slowly
acclimatize to the altitude.
Brice: We do our acclimatization
on lobuche peak.
To stay out of the icefall,
to reduce the risk
for our clients.
Douglas: And so when, you know,
Russell Brice.
Starts getting his clients
to camp on top of, you know,
a nearby peak rather than
going through the icefall
to acclimatize, you know,
that makes sense.
The fewer trips anyone
has to make through the icefall,
the better.
Meanwhile, the sherpas
are still stocking the camps
on Everest, making dozens
of trips up and down,
carrying all the oxygen,
the tents, the food, so on.
So that the mountain
is ready to be climbed
when the clients return.
Brice: This year, my clients will
go through the icefall twice,
but I dare say
most of the sherpas
will go through
maybe 20 to 30 times.
And I'm not sure the clients
actually ever see that.
That was a nice day for a climb.
Brice: I think a lot of people,
even on our trips,
don't really understand
all this work
is going on every night.
Loads of equipment going up
to support them on the mountain.
But now we have to start
the real job of why we're here,
and that's going up
through the mountain.
Safety is very, very important.
If you go through the icefall
without crampons,
if you go through the icefall
without clipping on,
I'm gonna sack you.
You're gonna go home.
Douglas: It must seem crazy
going through the khumbu icefall.
In the dark,
but it's actually much safer
because it's more stable
in the cold of night.
Once the sun hits,
it becomes
increasingly dangerous.
Brice: You have to remember.
That you have
a big responsibility
not only for your own safety
but for your family.
Even if it's a full moon,
you must have your headlamp.
The transceivers
must be turned on here,
and you must use
the transceiver every day
that you go through the icefall.
We know if a serac
falls on top of you
you're not going to survive,
but if you have a transceiver,
it means to find you
will take much less time.
And so that puts the people
doing the rescue
at much less risk.
Check, check.
Check, check.
There at least five out here
that are out of the danger zone,
and there's another four or five
i can see
that are still in the depths
of the icefall.
Man #19: Update from icefall...
13 or 14 missing.
Not sure what team they're from.
Phil, are all your boys okay?
Phil, I can't hear you,
but are all your boys okay?
Just say yes or no.
Thumbs up. Okay. Thanks.
Man #21: Get all the rescue rope
you can find.
Russ, where's that...
Brice: A.C. And a.A.I.
Dawa sherpa, a.C. Sherpa,
and a.A.I. Sherpa.
I'm not aware of numbers,
but it's significant amounts.
It's in the teens.
Keep that with you.
Definitely bring the long line
from kathmandu.
Cheers. Bye.
Put these steel shovels,
get them all together.
We want that sked.
Man #20:
If people are somewhat stable
we're gonna want to be bringing
them down
from the scene
if we can't fly them out.
For the beginning of the season.
- "A."
- Yeah.
How are you? Namaste, Dave.
- That's it?
- Yeah.
Goes up, gets some oxygen,
and you go second load.
One of my guys is very serious.
So I think we're
to bring him down fast,
as soon as possible.
Because he's alive now.
Yeah, yeah. We'll try.
My doctor here waiting.
- Yeah.
- It's okay.
But we need sked.
We need all that.
We need the oxygen
up there first flight.
I think what we're trying to do
is you and I in the first load.
I'll try and secure the helipad.
- Yep.
- Get it crackin'.
You do flight stuff,
I'll just do medical stuff.
And you go down. Exactly.
- Guys.
- Yes, yes.
If you're gonna make me
in charge...
- Yeah, yeah.
- Please listen.
Okay. I understand
you're mountain guides.
I'm a mountain guide.
We've all got friends
missing and dead.
We know that, okay?
We can't get everything up
on the first load.
We want to send a doctor.
- Doctor. One Nepali guide.
- They're requesting a doctor.
Doctor and one Nepali guide,
Woman #2: Who are these people?
Priority is being stabled
and Melissa on it.
Yeah, I think we've explained.
That Russell's in charge
of the helipad down here,
which means Melissa
and I will be going first.
Man #21: First victim is already
packaged, ready to go.
Man #22: Patient condition.
Man #21: He's fully conscious,
Man #23: But we are confused
about how many casualties
there are now.
We don't have a casualty
count now.
We're working on live bodies
at the moment.
Brice: All sherpas not needed
now leave and come to base camp.
It's starting to get hot.
Mckinley: Jason's gonna go in,
try and land in upper site,
pull that sherpa off,
bring him down to helipad.
Being switched to long line
going to your location.
Woman #2: Jason has landed
at middle site. Over.
Man #21: There's a sherpa with a
head injury and internal bleeding.
They're gonna keep him there,
package him for a long line.
Yeah, Michael just requested
as much rope as possible.
Mckinley: There's a live patient
with a query several fracture.
Pulse looks good
call me from img, over.
Man #21: Blood on the right...
Your right...
Arm bruising, upper left
chest pain descending with Eric.
Brice: I need to confirm...
Do we have anymore injured
people to pick up or not?
Mckinley: This is the last patient.
This is the last patient.
And then we can switch
to non-traumatic
body recovery flying down.
And we're gonna put an ecg
on them to check for rhythm.
Woman #2: A verify... we are
absolutely in body recovery.
- Yes.
- Roger.
Mckinley: Let's get this going.
This is by far the worst tragedy
that's ever happened on Everest.
13 people
have died this morning.
And there may be more still
that we don't know about.
There hasn't been a year
in history
where 13 people have died
on Everest,
let alone in one day.
Man #24: Break, break.
Michael has done an examination
on all bodies.
No signs of life.
Brice: I dare say...
This is the day
that we just all dreaded.
Woman #3: How are you feeling?
Every village will be affected.
A lot of our guys
will have friends they know.
There's people
from all over the khumbu
who have been...
You know, young guys who,
at least one of them
i know just had a baby.
Man #25: Now to the worst disaster
ever seen on mount Everest.
Woman #4: The avalanche hit
at about 6:30 this morning
local time
at one of the busiest times
of day on the mountain.
Man #25: Greatest one-day toll
of the world's tallest mountain.
Woman #4: A wall of snow crashed
over the western shoulder.
Man #26: The death toll's
expected to rise to 16.
Man #27: Questions are now
being asked about the future
of this year's climbing season
and whether attempts
will be made next month.
Man #28: This tragedy adds
to the death toll on Everest,
which is already estimated
at 250.
Man #29: A four-day halt
to climbing has been declared
while the search for
the missing sherpas goes on.
Douglas: And you see the grief,
and you know,
that's going back decades.
You know, these grieving
sherpa families...
This constant narrative of loss
being expressed again.
Woman #5: This morning,
the search has been suspended
for three other people
who are still missing
from mount Everest.
Crews did manage to recover
a 13th body overnight.
Two days ago, 16 people died.
about half of our team.
This morning, I think
the sherpas are taking matters
into their own hands.
They're holding a big meeting
at base camp.
We've just been told
that the sherpas are quite angry
and we should get bags ready
just in case
we have to make a swift exit.
We don't know if the sherpas
are perhaps gonna target us
as a focus for their anger...
Westerners coming here
and causing such
a kind of circus at times.
I don't know if there's
any still-lingering tension
from last year
and the fights that broke out.
We're hoping the same thing
doesn't happen again this year,
but we're concerned about
filming here right now.
16 people dying
at the same time...
It's a huge, huge shock.
When it started to sink in,
the anger got distinctly pointed
at the government.
They feel that the government
has always been benefiting
off the labor of the sherpas,
the lives of the sherpas,
and never put anything back.
Nepal's tourism industry.
Is worth $360 million a year.
So when the government offers
the families around $400,
which isn't even enough to cover
their funeral expenses,
grief turns to anger
very quickly.
The government...
You know, once it figured out
that it could sell Everest
as many times
as it liked every year
rather than once,
it's basically just sat there,
occasionally twiddled
around the edges
when there was
some bad headlines,
but basically
not really done anything since.
They've left it to western,
you know, operators
and just taken their cut
every year, and it's a big cut.
It's like 1/3 of the money
that stays in Nepal
from this business
goes to the government.
The sherpas...
They're still taking the risks.
You know,
they've always taken the risks.
They're still taking the risks.
They, quite reasonably,
think that's outrageous.
We worked really hard
this morning
to send a letter to the ministry
asking for better conditions
for these guys.
I would have thought
that might preempt
this type of meeting
this afternoon.
Of course
we're upset about people dying,
but this is irrational,
you know?
It's totally irrational.
I dare say they'd look
at the arab summer
and things like that and think
that they can do
the same sort of things.
It's hot-headed young guys
who really don't have
very much experience
on this mountain in any case.
They're angry, yes. They are.
Their grandparents
and their fathers
have worked hard
in the himalayas.
All the hard work
has been done by the sherpas,
which is not fair.
It is not fair.
Man #30:
Every morning, we wake up
and we realize
that this is not a dream.
I'm sorry.
I don't really know what to say.
We had a... a day...
We've all been
expecting an accident,
and we had a very bad day.
The day that we never,
ever wanted.
I am afraid every single day
the boys go through the icefall.
I fear every day, but, guys,
we also have to progress.
We have to progress
for the future.
Otherwise, you have no income
for your families.
Douglas: This is unprecedented
that the sherpas.
Could contemplate giving up
a season's earning
in order to make their point.
One of the biggest requests
from the workers
in this base camp
is to not continue
climbing this year.
We know that's a great big ask,
but it's somewhat small
compared to the 16 lives
we've lost in this mountain.
This is not workable for us.
We've still got our sherpas
to come to talk to,
to see if we want to carry on
climbing or not.
We can't have this happening
every time
there's an accident
every season.
It's getting out of control.
We're being forced off this
mountain by renegade sherpas.
Joshi: We only became a
Democratic country in the '90s,
so people feel like they have
more freedom of speech.
So whenever they speak something
that is a bit more bold,
it obviously
takes the western people
who are the base camp
by surprise.
They're saying what they think.
They're not rebels.
They're just mountain guides.
I'm asking for a helicopter.
To go to the ministry.
The government has not taken
much notice in the past,
so I think now's the time.
I think we're confident
that we're gonna
recover the situation,
but only if we act right now.
Man #31: Good morning.
Well, it began as a tragedy
and has now turned into
an avalanche of resentment
that threatens
the entire Everest industry.
Woman #6: Sherpa guides on mount
Everest are staging a boycott
that threatens to shut down
next month's climbing season.
Man #31: The issue is why
the sherpa climbing guides,
who assume a disproportionately
large part of the risk
get a disproportionately
small part of the take.
I'd like to know a little bit
about what's going on, you know?
We hear from, you know...
Simon hears
from the European papers
that the season's over.
I hear from American media
that there's a potential strike
and there's still negotiating
going on, but...
- We don't know anything, huh?
- Nothing.
We can sit it,
and yet we don't know a thing.
He's paid for a helicopter
to come and take him
so we can go talk to the people
that can make decisions.
He's working on it,
and until those discussions
are over,
there's nothing but speculation,
which is exactly
what we're doing.
Sorry, guys.
I mean, if I had
more information,
I would give it to you.
I'm going.
There's an inherent risk
in mountaineering.
There's an inherent risk
in Everest.
There's an inherent risk
in the khumbu.
I know that.
I'm willing to assume that risk.
I think some of the clients.
Are getting a little restless,
but I think
we're in the right place
at the right time,
and we're still going forward
on our plan.
So if the word is "yes,
your crew will go with you,"
we're still going forward.
Man #32: The future of
the Everest climbing season
is hanging in the balance
this morning.
Woman #7: Nepalese government
officials are flying into try
and ease tensions at base camp.
Douglas: There was
a lot of expectation.
the ministerial visit.
The sherpas hoped
they would show some leadership
and cancel the season.
The clients hoped the government
would agree
to the sherpa demands
so the season could continue.
Man #33: Sit down, please!
So in failing to act decisively.
Or take any kind
of official position,
the government have really
left the sherpas
between a rock and a hard place.
But just coming to base camp,
they don't make money.
They make money on the mountain,
carrying loads up there.
The higher they go,
the more they carry,
the more they're paid.
Just coming to base camp,
they make nothing.
But for the last 61 years,
we've waited.
Something had to happen and then
we had to raise our voice
and to such a huge loss.
They're ready
to face the consequences.
They'd rather leave than die.
Douglas: I think many expedition
leaders found themselves.
In an incredibly difficult
Balancing the interests
of clients and the sherpas
in a situation like this
was never going to be easy.
Linville: What happened was
really a tragic day,
a black day.
I feel still positive
if we're gonna be allowed
to go up the mountain, you know,
and continue the journey
and hopefully it's successful
and you know, life goes on,
and just try to remember
the guys for what they were
and carry a positive message.
I knew the risks.
From a personal point of view,
i was prepared to take that,
but to ask the sherpa boys
to go through it
time and time again,
it's a difficult one.
It's hard just to...
Not to think about what happened
to all those families,
those boys.
They're doing it for us.
But I put so much work into this
and effort.
Then you start to justify it.
Doyle: For us, it's dj vu,
isn't it, Jeff?
Yeah. We've been
through this, you know?
This was 2012.
Actually, what Russell feared
would happen in 2012
is exactly what happened.
To have to come back here
a second time
only to get canceled again
and never given the shot is...
Yeah, that'll be... that'll be
devastating to me, I think.
Woman #5: As we reported earlier
this week,
sherpas are leading a boycott
after that deadly avalanche.
Man #34: Starting to make
climbing for those
who might want to continue
very, very challenging.
Woman #5: Most of the climbers
will forfeit the money
they paid for the journey.
That can top $75,000.
I flew back again here
this morning
to find that I'm probably
the last team to decide
whether we're going to
be continuing on the mountain
or not.
Yes, we had one avalanche.
it killed a lot of people.
But that's no reason
to stop the expedition.
Today, a delegation...
They came to the base camp
to try and calm things down.
But I'm afraid
it just escalated things.
It didn't help.
We know that there's only
a group of four or five guys
that are causing this problem,
but then they excite
300-odd guys,
and when you have mob rule,
what can we do?
what these militant sherpas
are saying is...
If our sherpas
go through the icefall,
they'll beat them up.
Then we all know about the
fighting on Everest last year.
We would hope that there will be
some form of punishment
to these guys.
Or we need to get rid of them,
out of this system
so it doesn't happen again.
You know who employs them, Russ?
These four or five?
I know who employs
some of them, yeah.
And there's no way
you can talk to their owners
and... I mean, if this
was one of your sherpas,
you could have them removed
from the mountain.
Well, I would. Yes.
But, yes.
But I don't know how to do that.
These people
are totally irrational.
They don't care.
Next week or next month,
they'll be at home
with nothing to eat.
We have one last chance
as our sherpas are still
prepared to go up the mountain.
As far as I know,
our sherpas want to climb.
But they fear for their life.
Phurba will be here
early tomorrow.
We have to discuss everything
with him.
So, sorry, guys.
That's it.
- Oh, namaste.
- Namaste.
How's it going?
Okay. How you doing?
Douglas: Sherpas are not people
who express their emotions.
Very willingly.
So it's sometimes hard
to read them.
Lots of attention on you now.
It's okay. Just relax.
Let's have
a cup of tea first, huh?
So, how's everyone at home?
- A bit upset.
- Yeah.
I know. Just...
Understandably, you know.
And wives. How do wives feel?
Don't want you coming or...
How they want... how they say?
They are happy that we're back,
but they're still afraid...
Afraid, too,
that we're going back again.
Yeah. I'm sure.
We're all afraid.
We're all afraid, phurba.
What to do.
Want to go north side?
- Still very risky.
- Huh?
There's risk every time.
Doesn't matter where we go.
So, um...
I understand how you feel.
You want to climb,
but you also have respect
for the people and everything.
Although, I checked with
all the Buddhists and hindu.
You know, if we respect,
then we can carry on
doing our work,
but what we feel here is danger
for you from other sherpa.
Did you hear anything
about that?
- No, I didn't.
- Didn't hear that?
So, for me,
i feel afraid for you.
We feel danger for you guys
if you carry on climbing,
but maybe later,
some violence to you...
How you feel about that.
'Cause this is not
normal sherpa.
How do you guys feel?
Maybe you're angry with me.
And if you're angry,
then you have to tell me,
but, you know,
I think pressure
coming from outside...
And I'm afraid for you.
So, I think
we have to stop expedition.
- You agree?
- Mm-hmm.
You agree to stop expedition?
- Yeah.
- Everyone?
- Yes.
- Yeah?
So I have to tell
the members like that?
I don't want, but also,
if just us,
how can I afford all the rope?
Because I have to buy
from expedition operators.
So, for me,
i can't afford just us.
You know,
before it was always friendly,
smiling sherpa, always helping.
These guys have spoiled
your reputation.
What to do now.
I have to go and tell members
we're finished.
You know,
my prayers are with you.
Glad you're okay.
So glad to see you here.
So, as I told you last night,
it's unlikely
that we would continue
and the sherpas
feel under too much threat.
They've already been told
if they go through icefall,
they'll break their legs.
This is the word
that comes to them
that these other guys
up here will break their legs
if they go through the icefall.
Yes, they want to climb.
Out of respect,
they don't want to climb,
and out of fear,
they don't want to climb.
Not fear of the mountain.
Fear of the people.
So there you go, guys.
What can I say?
And I don't know what to do.
And phurba
doesn't know what to do.
And we're pissed off.
We're angry that these people
are ruining our business,
you know?
Their business. What can we do?
I don't know how
to apologize to you.
I... don't know how to do that.
Especially the people
that have come twice.
So, now how to get out of here.
we were just given the news
that the sherpas' legs
would be broken
if they were to help us
get up this mountain.
How can you possibly argue
with that one?
Being held captive by
terrorists, is how I look at it.
I mean,
when people demand change
and threaten it by violence,
that's a terrorist, you know.
And we in the states,
we know what that is...
After 9/11.
We've got a group here
that's terrorizing base camp.
How do you anticipate that,
you know?
How do you...
How do you mentally
prepare yourself
to get up here
and then be turned away
because a group of terrorists
are demanding
that westerners leave base camp?
You know, it's... it's hard.
Do I have it in me
for a third time
to try to come back
and do Everest?
I've got to go talk
with my family, I think,
before I make
any final decisions.
But I certainly would like
to get to the top
of the highest mountain
in the world
and be able to provide
that legacy to my family
as something they...
Now you got me.
Man #34: Oh, we'll be back.
We'll be back
hopefully next year.
One way or another,
I'll tack the top
of that mountain at some point,
so... just a slight setback.
I'm gonna feel better
when I go home knowing
that we didn't climb up
that mountain
after the big tragedy.
It's just better
to show my respect
for the sherpa community
by leaving.
Joshi: I think the expedition
They knew in their heart
what their sherpa wants,
but they couldn't tell
that clearly to their clients.
It's just the excuses
they are using
to throw the blame
on somebody else, yeah.
If this didn't change anything,
then nothing ever will.
Then Nepal will just be
like the wild, wild west
for the western operators
to do whatever they want.
This thing has happened,
which is a sad thing,
but hopefully, this will bring
something positive
into the mountain.
Brice: It must have some effect
of the Everest industry...
The accident this year.
I think
this made me more determined
to try and change the rules
so we can continue with Everest
as usual but in a safer way.
I've been a mountain guide
all my life.
We have to deal with death
a lot, and then try and move on.
Hopefully, we will have a team
to go to climb mount Everest
again next year.
Douglas: The game shifted.
It would be easy
in the chaos of this last week
to lose sight
of what has happened here.
The sherpas have effectively
canceled the season.
They had a choice,
and in the end,
they've chosen respect
for themselves and the mountain
ahead of money.
Canceling the season will be
a welcomed breathing space.
So maybe it will be calmer.
It will be nice for Everest
to be calm for a bit
rather than this
kind of madness.
My father said
that you don't conquer
these mountains, you know?
You just crawl up,
as a child crawling
to your mother's lap,
which is the same approach
i think people should take.
Then there'd be less accidents.
Norbu: He was the first Asian
to become famous,
known around the world,
and he became a great metaphor
for young men
all alike to show that you can
make it on your own,
hard work is what it takes.
And so he became a real symbol
of hope
for millions around the world.
Douglas: Tenzing gave the name
sherpa a currency.
Which will never be exhausted.
So it may only be now
that they're really beginning
to take advantage of it.
They've got control
of climbing the mountain,
and it's come
full circle in a way.
My father said he climbed.
So that we wouldn't have to.
He wanted to give us
the best education
so we could continue our lives
in some other careers
rather than climbing.
Because climbing was dangerous.