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Sherpas are politicising as disasters strike

"We went to Everest to make a film about the disproportionate risks that Sherpas take in taking foreigners to the summit of Everest. Then right in front of us, this horrific thing happened which really highlighted how disproportionate those risks were."

Peedom’sdocumentary Sherpa, which shows the fall out from the tragedy that included simmering tensions between Sherpas and climbers, has been selected to screen incompetition atSydney Film Festival next month.

It will screen as Nepal recovers from the devastating earthquake on April 25that has killed more than 7300 people. Eighteen died in an avalanche on Everest, with further avalanches leading to the cancellation of climbing season for the second consecutive year.

"It’s been shocking to see the news," Peedom says. "This time it happened at base camp, not up on the mountain, so there were foreigners involved as well."

While the twotragedies highlight how dangerous it is scaleEverest,Peedom has no doubt that climbers will return next year.

"There’s a disaster mystique attached to it," she says. "History has shown that every time there’s a disaster on Everest, the numbers increase the following year.

"I think thathas something to do with the media and the fact that people sitting at home on their couches see that ‘oh,just ordinary people like me can go and climb Everest’.

"You get attached to the romance of that idea. There’s a lot of history andromance in the storiesaround Everest and it seems to be a magnet for whatever reason."

While the Sherpas have had a reputation for gentleness and quiet heroism since Tenzing Norgayreached the summit withEdmund Hillary in1953, they have become increasingly politicised, which led to a violent clash with a climber two years ago.

"Formanyyears now they’ve been watching foreigners take allthe glory," Peedom says. "They’ve ended up on the cutting room floor of somany Everest films.

"They grin and bear it because they don’t really have a choice. This is
discount ray bans what they’re good at doing and they stand to earn quite a lot
cheap ray ban outlet of money in proportion with what the rest of Nepalese society earns but everyone’s got their limits.

"Like any culture of people that are moving towards self determination, they’re starting tosay ‘we’re as good as you, why should we be treated like this?’."

Peedom, who was high altitude director onthe2006 documentary seriesEverest: Beyond The Limit and directedthe 2007
discount ray bans documentary Miracle On Everest, believes there will be more tensions when climbing resumes.

"It all comes down to Sherpas being better educated and that’s come as a result of their success in the Everest industry andthe work of foreigners in setting up schools," she says.

The story Everest Sherpas are politicising as disasters strike, says Australian documentary maker first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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