A British climber has told how he thought a gang of Sherpas were going to kill him when an argument broke out on the world's highest mountain.
Photographer Jonathan Griffith said he and two friends were attacked by up to 150 of the Nepalese guides as they made their way to a camp on Everest.
He told The Sun that he and experienced climbers Simone Moro, 45, from Italy, and Swiss national Ueli Steck, 36, were left bruised and cut after the gang kicked, punched and threw rocks at them.
The three were only saved when a group of Western climbers intervened, he added.
"They didn't want to talk, they wanted to finish us off," he told The Sun. "They picked up big rocks off the glaciers and started throwing them at us. We came under attack for about 15 minutes."
Mr Griffith, who is from London but now lives in Chamonix, France, claimed the argument started when an angry Sherpa leader confronted the trio and accused them of injuring one of his men, who was securing ropes on the mountain for another expedition.
When the three later returned to their camp at 21,000ft, they found a group of Sherpas waiting for them. They were able to flee the mountain when another group of climbers stepped in to help.
"We owe our lives to these brave people. Without them, we'd surely be dead at the hands of an out of control mob," Mr Griffith said.
However, Nepalese mountaineering officials said the Sherpas are accusing the foreign climbers of starting the fight. Dipendra Poudel, of the Mountaineering Department, said they were investigating the incident.
Mr Griffith, a professional photographer who specialises in mountain photography, said he and his two friends are cutting their expedition short and returning home.