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Sherpas ponder boycott because of Everest avalanche

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By The Associated Press
Monday, April 21, 2014, 6:15 p.m.

KATMANDU, Nepal — Buddhist monks cremated the remains of Sherpa guides who were buried in the deadliest avalanche to hit Mount Everest, a disaster that has prompted calls for a climbing boycott by Nepal's ethnic Sherpa community.

Nepal's government said late on Monday it would consider the Sherpa's demands for more insurance money, more financial aid for the families of the victims, the formation of a relief fund and regulations that would ensure climbers' rights. A committee formed with guides, rescuers and others will make its recommendations on Tuesday, said Maddhu Sudan Burlakoti, head of the mountaineering department.

A total Sherpa boycott could critically disrupt the Everest climbing season, which is key to the livelihood of thousands of Nepali guides and porters. Everest climbers have long relied on Sherpas for everything from hauling gear to cooking food to high-altitude guiding.

At least 13 Sherpas were killed when a block of ice tore loose from the mountain and triggered a cascade that ripped through teams of guides hauling gear. Three Sherpas missing in the avalanche are presumed dead.

“Right now, I can't even think of going back to the mountain,” said Tashi Dorje, whose cousin was killed.

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