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Mount Everest Brawl: Famed Climbers' Violent Fight

Travelers Today       By    Maxine Wally

Updated: Apr 30, 2013 10:54 AM EDT

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An eyewitness has detailed a "terrifying" scene of two well-known European mountaineers brawling with a group of Nepalese on Mount Everest Saturday.

Italian-born Simone Moro, who has climbed Everest four times, and Uelie Steck from Switzerland, who has broken climbing records, got into a violent argument with the Nepalese while they were rigging up some ropes.

The American climber who watched the entire fight happen spoke to Agence France Presse by phone and wishes to remain anonymous.

The two European climbers were approaching Camp Three, located at 24,500 feet, where the Nepalese were rigging up some ropes.

They had a photographer in tow who was documenting their 29,000 foot ascent.

The Nepalese asked Steck and Moro to wait on the mountain while they finished fixing the ropes.

"The Sherpas told the team not to climb above them while they were fixing the ropes, but they did it anyway," the informant told AFP. "Then some ice fell and hit the Sherpas, which made them angry."

A few hours later, more Nepalese, angry with the Europeans that did not listen to them, stormed the climbers' tents, throwing stones at them until the two men emerged.

A verbal argument ensued, and even punches were thrown.

"After a while the mob left, and the climbers packed up and walked past us down-as far as we knew they were leaving the mountain," the witness said. "It was terrifying to watch-they nearly got killed."

Police are now looking into the situation, and constable Raj Kumar of Lukla told AFP that Steck went to the hospital after leaving camp, in a "totally normal,"  state. He had sustained no injuries.

Monday morning, Steck was taken by helicopter back to Everest's base camp, where Moro had stayed on the mountain. It appears the two are still deciding if they want to try to summit Mount Everest once more.  

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