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Everest expeditions halted, sherpas quit over avalanche that killed 16

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, April 24, 2014, 7:24 p.m.

KATMANDU — Nepal's attempts to salvage the Mount Everest climbing season fell flat on Thursday as major expedition companies canceled their climbs and many Sherpas quit the mountain because of an avalanche last week that killed 16 of their fellow guides.

While the season has not been officially canceled, guides and Sherpas said it appeared increasingly unlikely that any summit attempts would be made this season from the Nepal side of the mountain.

“Many of us think this year is not good for climbing, and nobody should be going up the mountain at all,” Tenzing, a 23-year-old Sherpa who goes by one name, said from base camp. He described 2014 as a “black year” for Everest.

“It was bad beginning to the climbing season, and it should not get worse,” he said.

The avalanche last week has laid bare deep resentments over Sherpas' pay, treatment and the disproportionate risks they take to help tourists ascend Everest. Dozens of Sherpas have packed up their gear and left the mountain, saying they want to honor the dead and pressure the government to guard their rights.

Adrian Ballinger, founder and head guide of Alpenglow Expeditions, said he and most other guide operations on the mountain decided to pull out late Wednesday.

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