x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Witness describes 'terrifying' Everest brawl

A mountaineer on Everest has described the 'terrifying' scene of two European climbers fighting with Nepalese guides in a high-altitude brawl that has sparked a police investigation.

KATHMANDU // A mountaineer on Everest described yesterday the "terrifying" scene of two European climbers fighting with Nepalese guides in a high-altitude brawl that has sparked a police investigation.

Ueli Steck, a Swiss national who holds climbing records, and Simone Moro of Italy, who has climbed the world's highest peak four times, were approaching the 7,470-metre Camp Three on Saturday when the bust-up occurred.

The American witness said Mr Steck, Mr Moro and the British photographer Jonathan Griffith were asked to wait on the mountain while a group of Nepalese rigged up some ropes.

The witness said the Europeans, who were trying to climb the 8,848-metre mountain by a new "undisclosed" route without supplementary oxygen, ignored the request and carried on.

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

Later in the day, a furious group of Nepalese stormed up towards the climbers' tents and pelted them with stones until the men came outside, after which a loud argument ensued and punches were thrown.

Police are investigating the incident and mediation meetings between the climbers and the local Sherpas took place yesterday.