jueves, 8 de mayo de 2014

Sherpas Shut Down Everest

Sherpa guides have decided to boycott Mount Everest in honor of of their colleagues killed in an avalanche in mid April.

Self-study activity:
Watch this Al Jazeera news item and answer the questions below.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 Why are sherpas necessary to climb Mount Everest?
2 How many sherpas were killed in the avalanche?
3 What three demands are sherpas asking for to continue their work?
4 What does '3 million dollars a year' refer to?
5 Is Edmund Hillary's son a climber?
6 What does '60' refer to?

To check your answers, you can read the transcript below.

Getting to the summit of Mount Everest is still one of the toughest physical challenges known to man, but many don't do it alone. They need the help of Nepalese guides or sherpas. They help show the way and carry supplies that puts them constantly at risk.
Friday’s avalanche struck while the sherpas were trying to make the way safe for international climbers. 13 were killed and three more are unaccounted for.
It is a terrible tragedy, a great loss of life and of course the families and villages that will be hugely impacted by this loss.
The guides are now refusing to go up the mountain until certain demands are met. They want a bigger insurance payout for those killed, more financial aid for the victims’ families, and new regulations to ensure the guides’ rights.
Nepal's government said it will meet some of those demands but for the sherpas it doesn't go far enough.
We decided to establish a Himalayan rehabilitation fund to assist the victims’ children with food, education, etcetera, and with rehabilitating those injured and disabled.
The government makes more than three million dollars a year through Everest climbing fees alone. The sherpas themselves make a very small fraction of that, up to six thousand dollars a year, but for them and the community, mountaineering is a key source of income.
The son of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man ever to reach the top of Mount Everest, and who’s been to the top of the mountain twice himself says it's a difficult choice to make.
But what are the options? Well, unfortunately, the only options when you’re playing Russian roulette ascending a place like the Khumbu Icefall is to find alternatives, and then may I think the employment of local people. It's a tough situation.
Until there's a way to make climbing Everest safer, the 60-year history of reaching the world's highest peak hangs in the balance.
Erica Wood, Al Jazeera