While the reports coming off the mountain are still vague at best, what is known is that three climbers were involved in what officials are calling a ‘thrashing.’ Ueli Steck of Switzerland and Simone Moro of Italy were two of the climbers at the 24,500 foot mark when the altercation occurred.
As far as what can be pieced together at this point, the Sherpa guides who assist climbers with their trek allegedly claim that they had called for a halt to climbing so that ropes could be put in place across an ice face. Steck and Moro deny that the orders were sent up and continued their climb toward Camp 3, apparently unleashing an ice fall that hit the Sherpas laying the ropes below.
In an interview with BBC, Steck claimed that his three-man team was nearing Camp 3 when the conflict occurred. The team continued on to the upper camp. Issue arose, however, when they chose to descend to Camp 2 to – as Steck put it – “finish the discussion.” At the lower camp, the three climbers were met by a group of over 100 angry Sherpas who began to beat them and throw rocks at them. In addition to the beating, the three climbers claim that their lives were in danger had they not left the lower camp. In fact, Moro had a pocketknife thrown at him but, as Steck stated, “luckily [it] just hit the belt of his backpack.” Steck was clear in stating all three climbers were able to escape with no serious injuries.
At least the climbers will have a unique story to tell when they get back down to base camp.