Following the death of 16 Sherpas in an avalanche and the Sherpa community's refusal to work this year's climbing season in their honor, many of the hopeful Everest climbers are starting to give up and head home.
According to the New York Times, most climbers were already in the mountain's base camp when the disaster happened, waiting for the short climbing season to begin. They told the paper that afterwards, the camp was an understandably unpleasant place. Some Sherpas apparently wanted to keep working and were threatened by organizers. Climbers were afraid that things might become violent and were sleeping with ice axes. (Sherpas denied in interviews that there were any threats of violence.)
By the end of today, according to Alan Arnette, all of the large climbing teams had called this year a wash:
The final large #Everest2014 teams that might have climbed declare the end: Himex and Altitude Junkies.— Alan Arnette (@alan_arnette) April 24, 2014
That includes the Discovery Channel, which had hoped to air a live special of a man jumping off the summit of the mountain. That special was cancelled in the wake of the avalanche, but Discovery has found a way to make lemonade out of lemons: with a documentary about the avalanche!
Discovery announced today that Everest Jump Live will now be Everest Avalanche Tragedy, a 90-minute special with footage of the rescue efforts and eyewitness accounts (though no Sherpas appear to be included in the list of people we'll be hearing from). Discovery says it "is essential to tell this story and honor all the Sherpas who lost their lives." The channel will also donate an undisclosed amount to the American Himalayan Foundation Sherpa Family Fund. Hopefully it's enough to cover the needs of the families of the Sherpas who were killed while working for Discovery.
Discovery Channel president Eileen O'Neill told The Hollywood Reporter that the channel was open to trying this Everest live jump thing again, depending on how "that community reacts."