Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sherpa Team Recovers Body of Missing Climber on Lobuche East in Nepal

A team of Sherpas making an early spring ascent of Lobuche East in Nepal have recovered the body of a climber who went missing back in December. The group came across the remains of Austrian Markus Schett at an altitude of about 6050 meters (19849 ft) while on their way to the summit. Schett's body was brought down at the request of his family and is now at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital.

The Austrian alpinist disappeared back on December 19 when he left his Sherpa support team behind in an effort to climb to the top of Lobuche on his own. An experienced mountaineer with nearly two decades of climbing under his belt, he thought it was safe to proceed upward on his own. Unfortunately, he never returned, although his remains were spotted by another expedition team in late December.

According to The Himalayan Times, Kanchha Sherpa, Managing Director at the Nima Adventures, along with Kipa Sherpa, Gyalzen Sherpa, Pema Sherpa and Phur Gyalzen Sherpa, were responsible for bringing the body down. It took a considerable effort to do so, much to the relief of Schett's family, who attempted to organize a search operation back in December. They are presumably headed to Kathmandu to claim his remains and take him back to Austria.

The death of Markus Schett hasn't been without controversy in Nepal. Nuru Jangbu Sherpa, who serves as the executive director of the Nepal Mountaineering Association has been critical of the club's handling of the affair. Nepal collects hundreds thousands of dollars in fees for garbage deposits and climbing permits each year, yet those resources weren't diverted to retrieving the body from the mountain. He has also been highly critical of the effectiveness of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee and the expedition handling agency over these types of issues as well.

For those of us who follow Nepali politics and climbing expeditions there, this is pretty much business as usual. The country pockets lots of fees each year, but much of that money goes into a black hole never to be seen again. Thankfully in this case, the team at Nima Adventures was able to provide the Schett family some closure following the death of Markus.

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