Mount Everest sherpas: How dangerous is the job of a sherpa?

Officials are calling Friday's avalanche on Mount Everest the deadliest day on the mountain in history. At least 12 Sherpa guides were killed.

According to Al Jazeera, investigators say the Sherpa guides were up on the mountain fixing ropes for climbers who were down at base camp when snow and ice started barreling down Mount Everest.

And with at least a dozen of those guides now confirmed dead, several news outlets are taking a look dangerous the job of a Sherpa is.

The New York Times notes many Sherpas, who come from rural areas in Nepal, take on the dangerous job since it's one of their few chances to make good money. The paper translated an interview that a Sherpa did with the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association.

"Our job is to make a good scale for the clients, to make this comfortable. We have to do that. ... Normally [in] our culture ... we say, 'The client is our god.'"

Sports Illustrated's Austin Murphy called the Sherpas "Everest's thankless laborers ... The victims of Friday's deadly avalanche on Mount Everest were fit, prepared, experienced and acclimated to the altitude. They never had a chance."

A writer for Outside argues something needs to be done about improving safety for the guides, but getting rid of the guiding program altogether would only make things worse and hurt them financially.

According to the publication, Sherpas make more than $2,000 a season in a country where the median income is only about $540. (Via NBC)

One of the climbers at the base says there are still 100 Sherpas or possibly climbers stuck above where the avalanche started. It could take several days until they are able to get down.

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