May Protests Planned
News has been fluttering around about the threat of a month long national strike in Nepal organized by the Maoists starting with May Day on May 1st. Several articles have recently covered the issue:
BBC: Maoists converge on Nepalese capital
Republica: Peace Process at Risk
Nepal News: More than half a million people set to hit streets during… May day demo
Nepal News: Bhattarai says Maoist nationwide agitation will be ‘peaceful’
Nepal News: Government asks Maoists to call off demonstration
Added on 5/3: BBC Maoists strike shuts down Nepal to Topple Government
New York Times Nationwide Strike in Nepal Threatens Final Steps of Peace Process
May is the start of Everest summiting season—the critical few weeks in May where the South Asian weather patterns usually shift (before the arrival of the monsoons) giving climbers a good shot at finding the summit of the mighty mountain relatively clear and storm free. This year a Sherpa team is leading a Nepali organized environmental expedition to help clean up the ever-growing trash on the mountain including old ropes, used oxygen bottles, camp gear, and the bodies of climbers who died on the ascent. Seven-time summit-er Namgyal Sherpa notes, “I’m a climber and I can say frankly that I’m a little bit angry when I climb Mount Everest because of the rubbish,”
As part of the expedition the team hopes to retrieve the bodies of three climbers which have been lying on the trail: Swiss climber Gianni Goltz, American Scott Fisher, and New Zealander Rob Hall (Fisher and Hall were part of the 1996 team that died on the mountain in one of the worst climbing disasters in Everest history, chronicled by Jon Krakauer in his book “Into Thin Air”—a book I admit I have a hard time putting down, even though I’ve read it several times).
A recent BBC article (“Everest ‘death zone’ to be cleaned”) notes:
Namgyal says some families have expressed the desire to leave the bodies on Mount Everest, as they feel this is what the climbers would have wanted.
However, the expedition project co-ordinator, Chakra Karki, says that Nepalese people do not want the mountain to become a graveyard.
“We respect the sentiments of the family of anyone who has died on Everest,” he said.
“But it is a holy mountain and our government policy is clear – there should be no dead bodies on the mountain. All dead bodies should be brought below base camp and either buried or cremated. They shouldn’t pollute the mountain glaciers.”