The deadliest day in Mt. Everest’s history came on April 18, when sixteen Sherpa guides were killed in an avalanche during a climb. National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey, alongside nine other photographers, created For Our Sherpa Friends, a fund dedicated to improving safety and education for the ethnic Sherpas who make climbing Everest possible.
For Our Sherpa Friends aims to help “provide relief to Sherpa families in crisis, as well as long-term support that transcends this single incident.” The fund’s website states, “Together, we will build a more comprehensive safety net for the high-altitude workers who help so many Westerners realize their dreams of the summit.”
While climbing Mount Everest is a dangerous expedition for all who attempt it, it is an especially dangerous undertaking for the Sherpas who guide climbers to the summit. In fact, the Sherpas who lead these expeditions work in conditions 12 times more dangerous than soldiers in Iraq during the first four years of the war. Huey, who has documented the Sherpa community extensively, says that while the community relies on climbers paying for guided trips, Sherpas deserve “better pay, better insurance, and better education…I think that is the responsibility of the community that uses the labor of the Sherpas to accomplish their dreams.”
The collective of photographers, led by Huey, have donated a selection of their prints to be sold on the site as a first step to raising money. Each listed at $100, the prints offered are an affordable and worthwhile way to make a difference. One hundred percent of the profits will be given to the Sherpa community. For more information about how the funds are distributed, you can visit the website.
Images used with permission.