Three European climbers have described being attacked by a group of sherpas near the summit of Mount Everest in what appears to be the world's highest altitude brawl.
Violence broke out at 24,000 feet – 5,406 feet below the summit – following an argument between three Alpine mountaineers and guides, in which one sherpa is alleged to have threatened them with an ice axe. All three were later allegedly attacked with stones and rocks by a "mob" after they retreated to a lower camp.
The climbers – Jonathan Griffith, a Briton; Simone Moro, an Italian; and Ueli Steck, a Swiss – said their lives were saved by other Western climbers at Camp 2.
Dipendra Paudel, a Nepali tourism ministry spokesman, said: "There was a slight misunderstanding and communication gap between them."
The confrontation happened on Saturday after sherpas fixing a route to Camp 3 became angry at the Europeans for ignoring their request to wait until they had completed their work before stepping over their ropes.
The climbers claim the sherpas' lead climber had abseiled down at speed and landed on top of Mr Steck. The climbers then descended the slopes to Camp 2 where a "mob" of 100 sherpas attacked them, they said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)