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Without sherpas to guide them, Mount Everest climbers retreat from base camp

Many Sherpa guides are refusing to scale Mount Everest following the April 18 avalanche that claimed the lives of 13 guides. Their reasons for not climbing are varied but their decision is curtailing this season's climbing expeditions.

By JC Finley

KATHMANDU, Nepal, April 29 (UPI) -- Although Mount Everest remains open following the April 18 avalanche that claimed the lives of 13 Sherpa guides, a strike by Sherpa guides has curtailed climbing expeditions.

"Without the Sherpas we cannot climb and there is nothing we can do about it," said Italian climber Claudio Tessarolo who waited 10 days at base camp before canceling his expedition.

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The April avalanche marked the highest death toll in a single day in the history of Everest.

While the Nepali government issued a statement urging expeditions to continue, many Sherpa guides don't want to climb.

Some guides are on strike, demanding the Nepali government provide better insurance and scholarships for their children. Others are concerned about safety, following subsequent avalanches since the April 18 tragedy. Some guides refuse to climb out of respect for the dead while others cite religious concerns, believing the gods have become angered.

With a dearth of Sherpas to guide the 334 planned climbing expeditions this season, the Nepali government has offered to recognize Spring 2014 climbing permits for a period of five years.

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